ian watt was so smart. also sexist

urbanisation provided its own antidote, the suburb, which offered an escape from the thronged streets, and whose very different mode of life symbolised the difference between the multifarious but casual relationships depicted in Defoe's novels and the fewer but more intense and introverted ones which Richardson portrayed. (185)

The suburb is perhaps the most significant aspect of the segregation of classes in the new urban pattern. Both the very rich and the very poor are excluded, and so the middle-class pattern can develop unmolested, safe both from the glittering immorality of the fashionable end of town and from the equally affronting misery and shiftlessness of the poor -- the word 'Mob' is a significant late seventeenth-century coinage which reflects a growing distaste and at times even fear of the urban masses. [...] The privacy of the suburb is essentially feminine because it reflects the increasing tendency already discussed to regard the modesty of womanhood as highly vulnerable and therefore in need of a defensive seclusion; and the seclusion of the suburb was increased by two other developments of the period -- the greater privacy afforded by Georgian housing, and the new pattern of personal relationships made possible by familiar letter-writing, a pattern which, of course, involves a private and personal relationship rather than a social one, and which could be carried on without leaving the safety of the home. (186-7)

The main problem in portraying the inner life is essentially one of the time-scale. The daily experience of the individual is composed of a ceaseless flow of thought, feeling and sensation; but most literary forms -- biography and even autobiography for instance -- tend to be of too gross a temporal mesh to retain its actuality; and so, for the most part, is memory. Yet it is this minute-by-minute content of consciousness which constitutes what the individual's personality really is, and dictates his relationship to others: it is only by contact with this consciousness that a reader can participate fully in the life of a fictional character. (190-1)

Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding