Death of the novel
The death of the novel is the common name for the theoretical discussion of the declining importance of the novel as literary form. Many 20th century authors entered into the debate, often sharing their ideas in their own fiction and non-fiction writings.
The novel was well-defined by the 19th century. In the 20th century, however, many writers began to rebel against the traditional structures imposed by this form. This reaction against the novel caused some literary theorists to question the relevancy of the novel and even to predict its 'death.'
Some of the earliest proponents of the "death of the novel" were José Ortega y Gasset, who wrote his Decline of the Novel in 1925 and Walter Benjamin in his 1930 review Krisis des Romans (Crisis of the Novel).
Tom Wolfe in the 1970s predicted that the New Journalism would displace the novel. Italo Calvino is considered to have turned round the question "is the novel dead?", as "is it possible to tell stories that are not novels?"
As for causes, Robert B. Pippin connects the 'death of the novel' with the rise of nihilism in European culture. Saul Bellow, discussing Ravelstein which was loosely a portrait of Allan Bloom, commented on a connection to the idea that they are really saying that there are no significant people to write about.
Contemporary scholars such as Kathleen Fitzpatrick argue that claims of the novel's death were highly exaggerated, and that such claims often reflect anxiety about changes in the twentieth-century media landscape, as well as more submerged anxieties about social changes within the United States itself.
- In Ideas sobre la novela. Cf
- : Döblin finds fault with the novel, since it focuses on individual characters or in its classic form of the Bildungsroman even recounts the education of the one protagonist. In his critique of the novel as genre, Döblin echoes considerations of both the literary discourse in Germany, which reflects on what has been called the 'crisis of narration', and the philosophical debate on the vanishing subject.
- John Barth, "The Literature of Exhaustion", The Atlantic, 1967
- Eugenio Bolongaro, Italo Calvino and the Compass of Literature (2003), p. 130.
- Robert Pippin, Response to Critics
- Ravelstein by Saul Bellow | Critics | Guardian Unlimited Books
- , The New York Observer, October 13, 1997
- The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt UP, 2006)
- "Death of the Novel", Andrew Marr, The Observer, May 27, 2001
- "The Death of the (Canadian) Novel", Michael Bryson, The Danforth Review, 2001
- "Is the Novel Dead?", Mark Mordue, Sydney Morning Herald, January 25, 2003
- The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006)
- "The Death of the Death of the Novel", Robert Clark Young, The Southern Review, Winter 2008