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Why does so much of older fiction revolve around the rich/aristocratic societies?


Why does so much of older fiction revolve around the rich/aristocratic societies?

Its been my experience that a lot of older European fiction revolves around characters who are in some way part of higher society. For example, Dumas often focuses on aristocratic society. Is it because many of these authors were already rich? Is it just because the rich are more likely to read the books in the first place? Has this preoccupation with higher society in fiction changed over time (particularly in America) ?

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