Novelists

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Novelists, a class of writers that many a gentleman magician naturally despises, are mentioned several times in Susanna Clarke's history of the Revival of English Magic. Shockingly, novelists very nearly played a role in the Revival, when the government briefly considered employing one or more of them to assist Mr Norrell in his magic. In January 1808, the Foreign Secretary, Mr Canning, proposed that Mr Norrell begin plaguing Napoleon Buonaparte with nightmares, with the hopes of disrupting his ability to rule. Mr Norrell industriously did this for over a year, but to no effect, unfortunately, due to his inability to imagine anything more dramatic than a captain of Dragoons hiding in a wardrobe. Discerning the problem with Mr Norrell's dream-spells, Mr Canning tried to convince other Ministers that several novelists (namely Mr Beckford, Mr Lewis, and Mrs Radcliffe) should be commissioned to write nightmares for Mr Norrell to use against Buonaparte. Sensibly, the other Ministers refused to agree to a plan so lacking in respectability [25].

The employment of novelists never had to be considered again after Jonathan Strange became Mr Norrell's pupil, since he proved to be quite adept at creating effective nightmares, which he used against the Emperor of Russia [25]. Mr Strange was one of those rare magicians who appeared fond of reading novels, including Mrs Edgeworth's Belinda [27].

Oddly, this page seems to be under the delusion that Clarke's history is itself a novel.