As the protagonist of both serial fiction
and B films, Renfrew appeared in popular forms usually associated with the repetition of anterior texts and the deployment of conventional and largely unoriginal narratives.
Though not itself a regular publisher of fiction, the Gentleman's Magazine was the prototype for later vehicles of serial fiction
such as Tobias Smollett's British Magazine and Charlotte Lennox's Lady's Museum; its proprietor Edward Cave was at the time a close acquaintance both personally and professionally of Samuel Richardson; and the novelette's closing instalment coincides in the number for March 1738 with a contribution thought by the late Kenneth Monkman to be Laurence Sterne's.
But I want to suggest that there was more to Pater's decision to attempt the untried form (for him) of publishing serial fiction
in 1888 when Gaston appeared.
But he also achieves this tighter ironisation of romance by bringing into play his responses to a new form of serial fiction
in which he now aimed to present his work.