In William Dean Howells’s novel, The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), an exchange takes place at a dinner party:

‘There was talk some years ago,’ said James Bellingham, ‘about novels going out.’

‘They’re just coming in!’ cried Miss Kingsbury.

‘Yes,’ said Mr. Sewall, the minister. ‘And I don’t think there was ever a time when they formed the whole intellectual experience of more people. They do greater mischief than ever.’