This article is Costa Lima’s contribution to a two volume cultural history of the Novel. It is also a useful overview and summary of Costa Lima’s ideas pertaining to the control of the imaginary in relation to the novel at this point in his thinking. Here he looks separately at the themes of the imagination, the novel and control. Regarding the imagination, the discussion ranges from Aristotle, through Dante, to Coleridge. Regarding the novel, the discussion, delimited by matters of control, examines first the ideas of Schlegel and Hegel, and then, more recently, the ideas of Bahktin and Zumthor. The following section on control is the most succinct summary of this notion since the first of chapter of Control of the Imaginary (1988). Each of these preceding discussions is then brought to bear upon a brief survey of the English novel in the Eighteenth century; here Costa Lima demonstrates ‘control in action’, in such novels as Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.