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For other uses, see Novel (disambiguation).

A novel is a long narrative, normally in prose, which describes fictional characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story.

While Ian Watt in The Rise of the Novel (1957) suggests that the novel came into being in the early 18th century, the genre has also been described as possessing "a continuous and comprehensive history of about two thousand years".[1] This view sees the novel's origins in Classical Greece and Rome, medieval, early modern romance, and the tradition of the novella. The latter, an Italian word used to describe short stories, supplied the present generic English term in the 18th century. Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is frequently cited as the first significant European novelist of the modern era; the first part of Don Quixote was published in 1605.[2]

While a more precise definition of the genre is difficult, the main elements that critics discuss are: how the narrative, and especially the plot, is constructed; the themes, settings, and characterization; how language is used; and the way that plot, character, and setting relate to reality.

The romance is a related long prose narrative. Walter Scott defined it as "a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents", whereas in the novel "the events are accommodated to the ordinary train of human events and the modern state of society".[3] However, many romances, including the historical romances of Scott,[4] Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights[5] and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick,[6] are also frequently called novels, and Scott describes romance as a "kindred term". Romance, as defined here, should not be confused with the genre fiction love romance or romance novel. Other European languages do not distinguish between romance and novel: "a novel is le roman, der Roman, il romanzo."[7]

Defining the genre[edit]

Madame de Pompadour spending her afternoon with a book, 1756 – religious and scientific reading has a different iconography.

A novel is a long, fictional narrative which describes intimate human experiences. The novel in the modern era usually makes use of a literary prose style, and the development of the prose novel at this time was encouraged by innovations in printing, and the introduction of cheap paper, in the 15th century.

The present English (and Spanish) word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the Italian novella for "new", "news", or "short story of something new", itself from the Latin novella, a singular noun use of the neuter plural of novellus, diminutive of novus, meaning "new".[note 1] Most European languages have preserved the term "romance" (as in French, Dutch, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian "roman"; German "Roman"; Portuguese "romance" and Italian "romanzo") for extended narratives.

A fictional narrative[edit]

Fictionality is most commonly cited as distinguishing novels from historiography. However this can be a problematic criterion. Throughout the early modern period authors of historical narratives would often include inventions rooted in traditional beliefs in order to embellish a passage of text or add credibility to an opinion. Historians would also invent and compose speeches for didactic purposes. Novels can, on the other hand, depict the social, political and personal realities of a place and period with clarity and detail not found in works of history.

However, up until the 1750s historians were the main critics of the novel and they emphasised its lack of veracity and therefore serious worth, and criticised it for being merely entertainment. Then in the second half of the 18th-century criticism evolved and with Romanticism came the idea that works of fiction could be art.

Literary prose[edit]

While prose rather than verse became the standard of the modern novel, the ancestors of the modern European novel include verse epics in the Romance language of southern France, especially those by Chrétien de Troyes (late 12th century), and in Middle English (Geoffrey Chaucer's (c. 1343 – 1400) The Canterbury Tales).[8] Even in the 19th century, fictional narratives in verse, such as Lord Byron's Don Juan (1824), Alexander Pushkin's Yevgeniy Onegin (1833), and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh (1856), competed with prose novels. Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate (1986), composed of 590 Onegin stanzas, is a more recent example of the verse novel.[9]

However, in the 15th century, following the invention of printing, prose began to dominate European fiction. This immediately led to the development of a special elevated prose style modelled on Greek and Roman histories, and the traditions of verse narrative. The development of a distinct fictional language was crucial for the genre that aimed at creating works that readers would actually identify, and appreciate, as fiction rather than history.

At the beginning of the 16th century, printing had created a special demand for books that were neither simply published for the non–academic audience nor explicitly scientific literature, but belles-lettres. This included modern history and science in the vernacular, personal memoirs, contemporary political scandal, fiction and poetry. However, prose fiction was soon far more popular than verse, rhetoric and science. Fictional prose, though aiming for stylistic elegance, was closer to everyday language, to personal letters, to the art of "gallant" conversation, and to the personal memoir and travelogue. Pierre Daniel Huet summarised the stylistic ambition of fictional prose accordingly in 1670: "It must be compos'd with Art and Elegance, lest it should appear to be a rude undigested Mass, without Order or Beauty."[10]

By the 18th century, however, English authors began to criticize the French ideals of belles lettres elegance, and a less aristocratic prose style became the ideal for them in the 1740s. When, in the 1760s, it became the norm for the author to open his or her novel with a statement of the work's fictionality, the prose became even more informal.

Media: paper and print[edit]

The development of printing technology, along with the availability of paper, changed the situation for prose fiction. Paper allowed the production of cheap books that would not necessarily be read twice, and which could be bought exclusively for private diversion. The new medium produced the modern novel in Europe in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries. The formats duodecimo and octavo, or small quarto in the case of chapbooks, immediately created books which could be read privately at home, or in public, without the support of a table. To read novels in coffee houses, or on journeys, became part of early modern reading culture.[11]

Content: intimate experience[edit]

Gerard ter Borch, young man reading a book c. 1680, the format is that of a French period novel.

Both in 12th-century Japan and 15th-century Europe, prose fiction created intimate reading situations. On the other hand, verse epics, including the Odyssey and Aeneid, had been recited to a select audiences, though this was a more intimate experience than the performance of plays in theaters. The late medieval commercial manuscript production created a market of private books, but it still required the customer to contact the professional copyist with the book a person wanted to have copied, a situation that restricted the development of a more private reading experience. The invention of the printing press, in the 15th century, however, totally altered the situation.

A new world of Individualistic fashion, personal views, intimate feelings, secret anxieties, "conduct" and "gallantry" spread with novels and the associated prose-romance. Love also became a major subject for novels. Pierre Huet, in an early definition of the novel, or romance, noted: "I call them Fictions, to discriminate them from True Histories; and I add, of Love Adventures, because Love ought to be the Principal Subject of Romance."[10] The reader is invited to personally identify emotionally with a novel's characters, whereas historians aim ideally at objectivity.


The novel is today the longest genre of narrative prose fiction, followed by the novella, short story, and flash fiction. However, in the 17th century critics saw the romance as of epic length and the novel as its short rival. A precise definition of the differences in length between these types of fiction, is, however, not possible.

The length of a novel can still be important because most literary awards use length as a criterion in the ranking system.[note 2] The Booker Prize in 2007 created a serious debate with its short-listing of Ian McEwan's 152-page work On Chesil Beach, with some critics stating that McEwan had at best written a novella.[note 3]

The requirement of length has been traditionally connected with the notion that a novel should encompass the "totality of life."[12]

Early novels[edit]

Paper as the essential carrier: Murasaki Shikibu writing her The Tale of Genji in the early 11th century, 17th-century depiction

Although early forms of the novel are to be found in a number of places, including classical Rome, 10th– and 11th-century Japan, and Elizabethan England, the European novel is often said to have begun with Don Quixote in 1605.[13]

Early works of extended fictional prose, or novels, include works in Latin like the Satyricon by Petronius (c. 50 AD), and The Golden Ass by Apuleius (c. 150 AD), works in Sanskrit such as the 6th– or 7th-century Daśakumāracarita by Daṇḍin, and in the 7th-century Kadambari by Banabhatta, the 11th-century Japanese Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, the 12th-century Hayy ibn Yaqdhan (or Philosophus Autodidactus, the 17th-century Latin title) by Ibn Tufail, who wrote in Arabic, the 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus by Ibn al-Nafis, another Arabic novelist, and in Chinese in the 14th-century Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong.

Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji (1010) has been described as the world's first novel[14][15] and shows essentially all the qualities for which Marie de La Fayette's novel La Princesse de Clèves (1678) has been praised: individuality of perception, an interest in character development, and psychological observation.[16] Urbanization and the spread of printed books in Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) China led to the evolution of oral storytelling into consciously fictional novels by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 AD). Parallel European developments did not occur for centuries, and awaited the time when the availability of paper allowed for similar opportunities.

By contrast, Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan and Ibn al-Nafis' Theologus Autodidactus are works of didactic philosophy and theology. In this sense, Hayy ibn Yaqdhan would be considered an early example of a philosophical novel,[17][18] while Theologus Autodidactus would be considered an early theological novel.[19] Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, with its story of a human outcast surviving on an island, is also likely to have influenced Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), because the work was available in an English edition in 1711.[20]

Epic poetry exhibits some similarities with the novel, and the Western tradition of the novel reaches back into the field of verse epics, though again not in an unbroken tradition. The epics of Asia, such as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (1300–1000 BC), and Indian epics such as the Ramayana (400 BCE and 200 CE), and Mahabharata (4th century BC) were as unknown in early modern Europe as was the Anglo-Saxon epic of Beowulf (c.750–1000 AD), which was rediscovered in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Other non-European works, such as the Torah, the Koran, and the Bible, are full of stories, and thus have also had a significant influence on the development of prose narratives, and therefore the novel. Classical Greek epics like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (9th or 8th century BC), and those of Ancient Rome, such as Virgil's Aeneid (29–19 BC), were re-discovered by Western scholars in the Middle Ages. Then at the beginning of the 18th century, French prose translations brought Homer's works to a wider public, who accepted them as forerunners of the novel. [note 4]

Classical Greek and Roman prose narratives [note 5] included a didactic strand, with the philosopher Plato's (c.425-c.348 BC) dialogues; a satirical dimension with Petronius' Satyricon; the incredible stories of Lucian of Samosata; and Lucius Apuleius' proto-picaresque The Golden Ass, as well as the heroic romances of the Greeks Heliodorus and Longus. Longus is the author of the famous Greek novel, Daphnis and Chloe (2nd century A.D.).

Medieval period 1100–1500[edit]

Chivalric Romances[edit]

Main article: Chivalric romance
Chaucer reciting Troilus and Criseyde: early-15th-century manuscript of the work at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures, often of a knight-errant portrayed as having heroic qualities, who goes on a quest, yet it is "the emphasis on heterosexual love and courtly manners distinguishes it from the chanson de geste and other kinds of epic, in which masculine military heroism predominates."[21] Popular literature also drew on themes of romance, but with ironic, satiric or burlesque intent. Romances reworked legends, fairy tales, and history to suit the readers' and hearers' tastes, but by c. 1600 they were out of fashion, and Miguel de Cervantes famously burlesqued them in his novel Don Quixote. Still, the modern image of "medieval" is more influenced by the romance than by any other medieval genre, and the word medieval evokes knights, distressed damsels, dragons, and other romantic tropes.[22]

The European tradition of the novel as the genre of extended prose fiction is rooted in the tradition of medieval "romances". Even today, most European languages make that clear by using the word roman roughly the way that English uses the word novel, which claims roots in the Italian novella.[23] The word roman or romance had become a stable generic term by the beginning of the 13th century, as in the Roman de la Rose (c. 1230), famous today in English through Geoffrey Chaucer's late-14th-century translation.

Originally, romance literature was written in Old French, Anglo-Norman and Occitan, later, in English, in Italian and German. During the early 13th century, romances were increasingly written as prose. In later romances, particularly those of French origin, there is a marked tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love, such as faithfulness in adversity.

The subject matter which was to become the central theme of the genre in the 16th and 17th centuries was initially a branch of a broader genre. Arthurian histories became a fashion in the late 12th century,

The shift from verse to prose dates from the early 13th century. The Prose Lancelot or Vulgate Cycle includes passages of that period. The collection indirectly lead to Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur compilation of the early 1470s. Certain factors made prose increasingly attractive: it linked the popular plots to the field of serious histories traditionally composed in prose (compilations such as Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur claimed to collect historical sources for the sole purpose of instruction and national edification).[24] Prose had an additional advantage for translation, because verse could only be translated by skilled poets.

During the Gothic Revival, from c. 1800 the connotations of "romance" moved from the magical and fantastic to "Gothic" adventure narratives.

The novella[edit]

Main article: Novella
The Pilgrims diverting each other with tales; woodcut from Caxton's 1486 edition of Canterbury Tales.

The term novel refers back to the production of short stories that remained part of a European oral culture of storytelling into the late 19th century. Fairy tales, jokes, and humorous stories designed to make a point in a conversation, and the exemplum a priest would insert in a sermon belong into this tradition. Written collections of such stories circulated in a wide range of products from practical compilations of examples designed for the use of clerics to compilations of various stories such as Boccaccio's Decameron (1354) and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1386–1400). The Decameron (1354) one hundred novelle told by ten people, seven women and three men, fleeing the Black Death by escaping from Florence to the Fiesole hills, in 1348.

Renaissance period: 1500-1700[edit]

1474: The customer in the copyist's shop with a book he wants to have copied. This illustration of the first printed German Melusine looked back to the market of manuscripts.

The modern distinction between history and fiction did not exist at this time and the grossest improbabilities pervade many historical accounts found in the early modern print market. William Caxton's 1485 edition of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (1471) was sold as a true history, though the story unfolded in a series of magical incidents and historical improbabilities. Sir John Mandeville's Voyages, written in the 14th century, but circulated in printed editions throughout the 18th century,[25] was filled with natural wonders, which were accepted as fact, like the one-footed Ethiopians who use their extremity as an umbrella against the desert sun. Both works eventually came to be viewed as works of fiction.

In the 16th and 17th centuries two factors led to the separation of history and fiction. The invention of printing immediately created a new market of comparatively cheap entertainment and knowledge in the form of chapbooks. The more elegant production of this genre by 17th- and 18th-century authors were belles lettres; that is a market that would be neither low nor academic. The second major development was the first best-seller of modern fiction, the Spanish Amadis de Gaula, by García Montalvo. However, it was not accepted as an example of belles lettres. The Amadis eventually became the archetypical romance, in contrast with the modern novel which began to be developed in the 17th century.


Main article: Chapbook

A chapbook is an early type of popular literature printed in early modern Europe. Produced cheaply, chapbooks were commonly small, paper-covered booklets, usually printed on a single sheet folded into books of 8, 12, 16 and 24 pages. They were often illustrated with crude woodcuts, which sometimes bore no relation to the text. When illustrations were included in chapbooks, they were considered popular prints. The tradition arose in the 16th century, as soon as printed books became affordable, and rose to its height during the 17th and 18th centuries and Many different kinds of ephemera and popular or folk literature were published as chapbooks, such as almanacs, children's literature, folk tales, nursery rhymes, pamphlets, poetry, and political and religious tracts.[26]

The term "chapbook" for this type of literature was coined in the 19th century. The corresponding French and German terms are bibliothèque bleue (blue book) and Volksbuch, respectively.[27][28][29] The principal historical subject matter of chapbooks was abridgements of ancient historians, popular medieval histories of knights, stories of comical heroes, religious legends, and collections of jests and fables.[30] The new printed books reached the households of urban citizens and country merchants who visited the cities as traders. Cheap printed histories were, in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially popular among apprentices and younger urban readers of both sexes.[31]

Deteriorated design: early-18th-century chapbook edition of The Honour of Chivalry, first published in 1598.

The early modern market, from the 1530s and 1540s, divided into low chapbooks and high market expensive, fashionable, elegant belles lettres. The Amadis and Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel were important publications with respect to this divide. Both books specifically addressed the new customers of popular histories, rather than readers of belles lettres. The Amadis was a multi–volume fictional history of style, that aroused a debate about style and elegance as it became the first best-seller of popular fiction. On the other hand, Gargantua and Pantagruel, while it adopted the form of modern popular history, in fact satirized that genre's stylistic achievements. The division, between low and high literature, became especially visible with books that appeared on both the popular and belles lettres markets in the course of the 17th and 18th centuries: low chapbooks included abridgments of books such as Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605/1615)[note 6]

The term "chapbook" is also in use for present-day publications, commonly short, inexpensive booklets.[26]

Heroic romances[edit]

Heroic Romance is a genre of imaginative literature, which flourished in the 17th century, principally in France.

The beginnings of modern fiction in France took a pseudo-bucolic form, and the celebrated L'Astrée, (1610) of Honore d'Urfe (1568-1625), which is the earliest French novel, is properly styled a pastoral. But this ingenious and diffuse production, in which all is artificial, was the source of a vast literature, which took many and diverse ms. Although its action was, in the main, languid and sentimental, there was a side of the Astree which encouraged that extravagant love of glory, that spirit of " panache," which was now rising to its height in France. That spirit it was which animated Marin le Roy de Gomberville (1603-1674), who was the inventor of what have since been known as the Heroical Romances. In these there was experienced a violent recrudescence of the old medieval elements of romance, the impossible valour devoted to a pursuit of the impossible beauty, but the whole clothed in the language and feeling and atmosphere of the age in which the books were written. In order to give point to the chivalrous actions of the heroes, it was always hinted that they were well-known public characters of the day in a romantic disguise.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. A publication now in the public domain.

Satirical romances[edit]

Richard Head, The English Rogue (1665)

Stories of witty cheats were an integral part of the European novella with its tradition of fabliaux. Significant examples include Till Eulenspiegel (1510), Lazarillo de Tormes (1554), Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus Teutsch (1666–1668) and in England Richard Head's The English Rogue (1665). The tradition that developed with these titles focused on a hero and his life. The adventures led to satirical encounters with the real world with the hero either becoming the pitiable victim or the rogue who exploited the vices of those he met.

A second tradition of satirical romances can be traced back to Heinrich Wittenwiler's Ring (c. 1410) and to François Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532–1564), which parodied and satirized heroic romances, and did this mostly by dragging them into the low realm of the burlesque. Cervantes' Don Quixote (1606/1615) modified the satire of romances: its hero lost contact with reality by reading too many romances in the Amadisian tradition.

Other important works of the tradition are Paul Scarron's Roman Comique (1651–57), the anonymous French Rozelli with its satire on Europe's religions, Alain-René Lesage's Gil Blas (1715–1735), Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews (1742) and Tom Jones (1749), and Denis Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist (1773, printed posthumously in 1796).[32]


1719 newspaper reprint of Robinson Crusoe

A market of literature in the modern sense of the word, a separate market for fiction and poetry, did not exist until the late seventeenth century. All books were sold under the rubric of "History and politicks" in the early 18th century, including pamphlets, memoirs, travel literature, political analysis, serious histories, romances, poetry, and novels.

That fictional histories could share the same space with academic histories and modern journalism had been criticized by historians since the end of the Middle Ages: fictions were "lies" and therefore hardly justifiable at all. The climate had, however, changed in the 1670s.

The romance format OF the quasi–historical works of Madame d'Aulnoy, César Vichard de Saint-Réal,[33] Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras,[34] and Anne-Marguerite Petit du Noyer, allowed the publication of histories that could not risk an unambiguous assertion of their truth. The literary market-place of the late 17th and early 18th century employed a simple pattern of options of how fictions could both be part of the historical production and reach out into the sphere of true histories. They allowed its authors to claim they had published fiction, not truth, if they ever faced outright allegations of libel.

Prefaces and title pages of 17th– and early 18th-century fiction acknowledged this pattern: histories could claim to be romances, but threaten to relate true events, as in the Roman à clef. Other works could, conversely, claim to be factual histories, yet earn the suspicion that they were wholly invented. A further differentiation was made between private and public history: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe was, within this pattern, neither a "romance" nor a "novel". It smelled of romance, yet the preface stated that it should most certainly be read as a true private history. [35]

Cervantes and the modern novel[edit]

William Congreve, Incognita (1692)

The rise of the novel as an alternative to the romance began with the publication of Cervantes Novelas Exemplares (1613). It continued with Scarron's Roman Comique (the first part of which appeared in 1651), whose heroes noted the rivalry between French romances and the new Spanish genre.[36]

Late 17th-century critics looked back on the history of prose fiction, proud of the generic shift that had taken place, leading towards the modern novel/novella.[37] A wave of "petites histoires" or "nouvelles historiques"[38] had replaced the old romances. The first perfect works in French were those of Scarron and Madame de La Fayette's "Spanish history" Zayde (1670). The development finally led to her Princesse de Clèves (1678), the first novel with what would become characteristic French subject matter.[citation needed]

Europe witnessed the generic shift in the titles of works in French published in Holland, which supplied the international market. English publishers exploited the novel/romance controversy in the 1670s and 1680s.[39] Contemporary critics listed the advantages of the new genre: brevity, a lack of ambition to produce epic poetry in prose; the style was fresh and plain; the focus was on modern life, and on heroes who were neither good nor bad.[40] The novel's potential to become the medium of urban gossip and scandal fuelled the rise of the novel/novella. Stories were offered as allegedly true recent histories, not for the sake of scandal but strictly for the moral lessons they gave. To prove this, fictionalized names were used with the true names in a separate key. The Mercure Gallant set the fashion in the 1670s.[41] Collections of letters and memoirs appeared, and were filled with the intriguing new subject matter and the epistolary novel grew from this and led to the first full blown example of scandalous fiction in Aphra Behn's Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister (1684/ 1685/ 1687). Before the rise of the literary novel, reading novels had only been a form of entertainment.[42]

However, one of the earliest English novels, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), has elements of the romance, unlike these novels, thanks to its exotic setting and to its hero's story of survival in isolation. Crusoe lacks almost all of the elements found in these new novels: wit, a fast narration evolving around a group of young fashionable urban heroes, along with their intrigues, a scandalous moral, gallant talk to be imitated, and a brief, conciseness plot.[citation needed] The new developments did, however, lead to Eliza Haywood's epic length novel, Love in Excess (1719/20) and to Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1741).[citation needed] Some literary historians date the beginning of the English novel with Richardson's Pamela, rather than Crusoe [43]

18th century novel[edit]

Main article: Augustan prose

The idea of the "rise of the novel" in the 18th century is especially associated with Ian Watt's important study The Rise of the Novel (1957).[note 7] Ian Watt puts forward the idea that novel was a "new form" and associates this with the importance placed on realism by novelists such as Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, and Henry Fielding.[44] This theory about the novel in the 18th century led to the suggestion that the earlier Romance forms of long prose narrative were either not novels or were at least inferior.[45] However, others including Margaret Anne Doody disagree that the novel originated in the 18th century, arguing that the history of the novel is over two thousands years old, and that in addition the romance tradition continued through the 18th and 19th centuries and still flourishes today.[46] The idea of the rise of the novel in the 18th century is especially associated with English literary criticism,[46] and most other European languages use the same word for an extended narratives: "roman" in French, Dutch, Russian, Croatian, Slovenian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian; German "Roman"; Portuguese "romance" and Italian "romanzo".[7] Novelist and critic Albert J. Guerard argues, in The Triumph of the Novel (1976), on behalf of the anti-realist "other great tradition" of the novel that includes Rabelais, Cervantes, Pynchon, Borges, García Márquez, the "Joyce of Finnegans Wake and the Nabakov of Ada", and sees Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel as contributing to a confusion between fiction and "real life", "by its insistence on 'formal realism' as implicit in the novel form in general".[47] Guerard suggests that Watt's book is most useful "for a study of the eighteenth-century novel", but that it "should not be applied to the genre as a whole".[48]

Given these differences in opinion, what happened in the 18th century can best be described, not as the rise of the novel, but the rise of realism in fiction. Indeed, this is what Ian Watt sees as distinguishing the novel from earlier prose narratives.[49]

Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy, vol.6, p.70-71 (1769)

Philosophical novel[edit]

Main article: Philosophical fiction

The new 18th-century status of the novel as an object of debate is particularly manifest in special development of philosophical[note 8] and experimental novels.

Philosophical fiction was not exactly new. Plato's dialogues were embedded in fictional narratives. Utopias had added to this production with works from Thomas More's Utopia (1516) to Tommaso Campanella's City of the Sun (1602). Works such as these had not been read as novels or romances but as philosophical texts. The 1740s saw new editions of More's work under the title that created the tradition: Utopia: or the happy republic; a philosophical romance (1743).[citation needed]

Voltaire utilised the romance to write philosophy with his Micromegas: a comic romance. Being a severe satire upon the philosophy, ignorance, and self-conceit of mankind (1752, English 1753). His Zadig (1747) and Candide (1759) became central texts of the French Enlightenment and of the modern novel. Jean-Jacques Rousseau bridged the genres with his less fictional Emile: or, On Education (1762).[citation needed]

Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759–1767) rejected continuous narration. It expanded the author-reader communication from the preface into the plot itself: Tristram Shandy develops as a conversation between the narrative voice and his audience. Besides narrative experiments, there were visual experiments: a marbled page, a black page to express particular sorrow, a page of little lines to visualize the plot lines of the book one was reading. Jonathan Swift's A Tale of a Tub (1704) is an early precursor in this field—a work that employs visual elements with similar ambition—yet hardly a text in the tradition of the original novel or its rival the romance.[citation needed]

The romance genre in the 18th century[edit]

The rise of the word novel at the cost of its rival, the romance, remained a Spanish and English phenomenon, and though readers all over Western Europe had welcomed the novel(la) or short history as an alternative in the second half of the 17th century, only the English and the Spanish had, however, openly discredited the romance.[citation needed]

But the change of taste was brief and Fénelon's Telemachus (1699/1700) already exploited a nostalgia for the old romances with their heroism and professed virtue. Jane Barker explicitly advertised her Exilius as "A new Romance", "written after the Manner of Telemachus", in 1715.[50] Robinson Crusoe spoke of his own story as a "romance", though in the preface to the third volume, published in 1720, Defoe attacks all who said "that [...] the Story is feign'd, that the Names are borrow'd, and that it is all a Romance; that there never were any such Man or Place".

The late 18th century brought an answer with the Romantic Movement's readiness to reclaim the word romance, especially with the gothic romance, but the historical novels of Walter Scott also have a strong romance element.[citation needed] Robinson Crusoe became a "novel" in this period appearing now as a work of the new realistic fiction that the 18th century had created.[citation needed]

Throughout the 19th century, romances continued to be written in Britain by writers like Emily Brontë,[5] and in America by the dark romantic novelists Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.[51]

The sentimental novel[edit]

Main article: Sentimental novel
Goethe's Werther (1774).

Sentimental novels relied on emotional responses, both from their readers and characters. They feature scenes of distress and tenderness, and the plot is arranged to advance emotions rather than action. The result is a valorization of "fine feeling," displaying the characters as a model for refined, sensitive emotional effect. The ability to display feelings was thought to show character and experience, and to shape social life and relations.[52]

An example of this genre of fiction is Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740), composed "to cultivate the Principles of Virtue and Religion in the Minds of the Youth of Both Sexes" focuses on the potential victim, a heroine of all the modern virtues vulnerable through her social status and her occupation as servant of the libertine who falls in love with her. Eventually, she shows the power to reform her antagonist.[citation needed]

Beginnings of a secret market of pornography, illustration to vol. 1, p.50 of the 1766 Fanny Hill edition.

Male heroes adopted the new sentimental character traits in the 1760s. Laurence Sterne's Yorick, the hero of the Sentimental Journey (1768) did so with an enormous amount of humour. Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield (1766) and Henry Mackenzie's Man of Feeling (1771) produced the far more serious role models.[citation needed]

The virtuous production inspired a sub- and counterculture of pornographic novels. Greek and Latin authors in modern translations had provided elegant transgressions on the market of the belles lettres for the last century.[53] Satirical novels like Richard Head's English Rogue (1665) had led their heroes through urban brothels, women authors like Aphra Behn had offered their heroines alternative careers as precursors of the 19th-century femmes fatales – without creating a subculture.[note 9] The market for belles lettres had been openly transgressive as long as it did not find any reflections in other media. The new production beginning with works like John Cleland's Fanny Hill (1748) differed in that it offered almost exact reversals of the plot lines the virtuous production demanded. Fanny Hill is introduced to a life of prostitution, learns to enjoy her part and establishes herself as a free and economically independent individual, in editions one could only expect to buy under the counter.[54]

Openly uncontrollable conflicts arrived in the 1770s with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774). The titular hero realised how impossible it had become for him to integrate into the new conformist society. Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) shows the other extreme, with a group of aristocrats playing games of intrigue and amorality.[citation needed]

The social context of the 18th century novel[edit]

Changing cultural status[edit]

By around 1700, fiction was no longer a predominantly aristocratic entertainment. The Provençal 12th-century romances and their imitators had already attracted urban connoisseurs who had had the financial means to commission bigger manuscripts in the 14th and 15th centuries. Printed books had soon gained the power to reach readers of almost all classes, though the reading habits differed and to follow fashions remained a privilege. Spain was a trendsetter into the 1630s but French authors superseded Cervantes, de Quevedo, and Alemán in the 1640s. As Huet was to note in 1670, the change was one of manners.[note 12] The new French works taught a new, on the surface freer, gallant exchange between the sexes as the essence of life at the French court. Aristocratic and bourgeois customers sought distinctly French authors to offer the authentic style of conversations in the 1660s.

The situation changed again from 1660s into the 1690s: the French market split. Dutch publishers[55] began to sell works by French authors, published out of the reach of French censors. The publishing houses of The Hague and Amsterdam also pirated the entire Parisian production of fashionable books and thus created a new market of political and scandalous fiction and European fashions. Étienne Roger in Amsterdam published Renneville's L'inquisition Françoise (1715), which was also available in the year of its publication, in English and German. Books of the period boasted of their fame on the international market and of the existence of intermediate translations: "Written originally in Italian and translated from the third edition of the French" is found on title page of Manley's New Atalantis in 1709. A market of European rather than French fashions had arrived in the early 18th century.[56]

Intimate short stories: The Court and City Vagaries (1711).

By the 1680s the fashionable political European production had inspired a second wave of private scandalous publications and generated new productions of local importance. Women authors reported on politics and on their private love affairs in The Hague and in London. German students imitated them and used the relative anonymity they enjoyed in far smaller towns like Jena, Halle and Leipzig, to boast of their private amours in fiction.[57] The market of the metropolitan London, the anonymous international market of the Netherlands, the urban markets of Hamburg and Leipzig generated new public spheres.[note 13] Once private individuals, such as students in university towns and daughters of London's upper class began to use the novel as platform to exhibit their questionable reputations, the public began to call for a reformation of manners. [note 14]

The reform became the main goal of the second generation of 18th-century novelists who, by the mid-century, openly welcomed the change of climate that had first been promoted in journals such as The Spectator. The Spectator Number 10 had stated that the aim was now "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality […] to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffeehouses"). Constructive criticism of novels had until then been rare.[note 15] The first treatise on the history of the novel had appeared as a preface to a novel, Marie de La Fayette's Zayde (1670). Journals devoted to the sciences could not easily switch to devote themselves to belles lettres,[58] and a distinct secondary discourse developed with a wave of entertaining new journals like The Spectator and The Tatler at the beginning of the century. New "literary journals" like Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Briefe, die neuste Literatur betreffend (1758) added to this production in the middle of the century with the offer of new, scientific reviews of art and fiction. By the 1780s, reviews constituted a new marketing platform for fiction, and authors and publishers recognized it as such. One could write to satisfy the old market or one could address the authors of secondary criticism and gain an audience through their discussions. It would take yet another generation for the novel to arrive in the curricula of school and university education. By the end of the 18th century, the public perception of the place of a particular novel was no longer supplied simply by social status and fashionable geographical provenance, but by critical media attention.

The acceptance of novels as literature[edit]

Classics of the novel from the 16th century onwards: title page of A Select Collection of Novels (1720–22).

The French churchman and scholar Pierre Daniel Huet's Traitté de l'origine des romans (1670) laid the ground for a greater acceptance of the novel as literature in the early 18th century. The theologian had not only dared to praise fictions, but he had also explained techniques of theological reading, for the interpretation of fiction, which was a novelty: an individual could read novels and romances to gain insight into foreign and distant cultures as well as into his or her own culture.[note 16] He noted that Christ had used parables to teach.[59]

The decades around 1700 saw the appearance of new editions of Petronius, Lucian, and Heliodorus of Emesa.[note 17] The publishers equipped them with prefaces that referred to Huet's treatise.[note 18] and the canon it had established. Exotic fictions entered the market that gave insight into the Islamic mind. Furthermore, The Book of One Thousand and One Nights was first published in Europe from 1704 to 1715 in French, and then translated immediately into English and German, and was seen as a contribution to Huet's history of romances.[note 19]

New classics were added to the market and the English, Select Collection of Novels in six volumes (1720–22), is a milestone in this development. It included Huet's Treatise, along with the European tradition of the modern novel of the day: that is, novella from Machiavelli's to Marie de La Fayette's masterpieces. Aphra Behn's prose fictions had appeared as "novels" in the 1680s but when reprinted in collections, her works became classics. Fénelon's Telemachus (1699/1700) became a classic within three years after its publication. New authors now entered the market ready to use their own personal names as authors of fiction. Eliza Haywood followed the footsteps of Aphra Behn when, in 1719, she used her name with unprecedented pride.

19th century novel[edit]


Main article: Romanticism
Illustration of a Dutch edition of Juliette, a novel by the Marquis de Sade, c. 1800

The very word romanticism is connected to the idea of romance, and the romance genre experienced a revival, at the end of the 18th century, with gothic fiction. The origin of the gothic romance is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) "A Gothic Story". Other important works are Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and 'Monk' Lewis's The Monk (1795).

The new romances challenged the idea that the novel involved a realistic depictions of life, and destabilized the difference the critics had been trying to establish, between serious classical art and popular fiction. Gothic romances exploited the grotesque,[60] and some critics thought that their subject matter deserved less credit than the worst medieval tales of Arthurian knighthood, and that if the Amadis had troubled Don Quixote with curious fantasies, the new romantic tales were worse: they described a nightmare world, and explored sexual fantasies.[61]

The authors of this new type of fiction could be (and were) accused of exploiting all available topics to thrill, arouse, or horrify their audience. These new romantic novelists, at the same time, claimed to explore the entire realm of fictionality. New, psychological interpreters, in the early 19th century, read these works as encounters with the deeper hidden truth of the human imagination: this included sexuality, anxieties, and insatiable desires. Under such psychological readings, novels were described as exploring deeper human motives, and it was suggested that such artistic freedom would reveal what had not previously been openly visible.

The romances of de Sade, Les 120 Journées de Sodome (1785), Poe's Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818), and E. T. A. Hoffmann, Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815), would later attract 20th-century psychoanalysts and supply the images for 20th- and 21st-century horror films, love romances, fantasy novels, role-playing computer games, and the surrealists.

The ancient romancers most commonly wrote fiction about the remote past with little attention to historical reality. Walter Scott's historical novel Waverley (1814) broke with this earlier tradition of historical romance, and he was "the inventor of the true historical novel".[62] At the same time he was a romantic and was influenced by gothic romance. He had collaborated "with the most famous of the Gothic novelists 'Monk' Lewis" on Tales of Wonder in 1801.[63] With his Waverley novels Scott "hoped to do for the Scottish border" what Goethe and other German poets "had done for the Middle Ages, "and make its past live again in modern romance".[64] Scott's novels "are in the mode he himself defined as romance, 'the interest of which turns upon marvelous and uncommon incidents'".[65] He used his imagination to re-evaluate history by rendering things, incidents and protagonists in the way only the novelist could do. His work remained historical fiction, yet it questioned existing historical perceptions. The use of historical research was an important tool: Scott, the novelist, resorted to documentary sources as any historian would have done, but as a romantic artist he gave his subject a deeper imaginative and emotional significance.[65] By combining research with "marvelous and uncommon incidents", Scott attracted a far wider market than any historian could, and he became the most famous novelist of his generation, throughout Europe.[66]

The Victorian period: 1837-1901[edit]

New commercial rules began to shape the relationship between author, publisher and reader. Most of the early-18th-century authors of fiction had published anonymously. They had offered their manuscripts and received all the payment to be expected for the manuscript. The new copyright laws introduced in the 18th and 19th centuries[67][note 20] promised a profit share on all future editions. This created a new market for experimental novels that readers might find difficult to understand. Such works were published in a small first edition, in the hope that the critics would recognize their artistic merit. Novelists, mere purveyors of entertainment at one time, now assumed a new role as public voices, speaking as their nation's conscience, as national sages, and farsighted judges in newspapers, in public debates. The novelist who reads in theatres, halls, and book shops is a 19th-century invention.[68]

Fiction was altered by these changes and difficult texts were created that could not be understood without the aid of critical interpretation. New novels openly addressed the present political and social issues, which were also discussed by other media. The idea of responsibility became a key issue, whether of the citizen whose voice is heard, or of the artist whose work future generations will evaluate. The theoretical debate concentrated on the moral soundness of modern novels,[69] on the integrity of individual artists, as well as the provocative claims of aestheticists such as Oscar Wilde and Algernon Charles Swinburne, who proposed to write "art for art's sake".[70]

Works of literature were matched by a growing market of popular fiction. In the 19th-century new institutions like the circulating library create a new market for publishers' first editions. Fiction also became the object of a new mass reading public[71] protected, monitored and analysed by nationwide debates and by institutions the state would hope to control. These developments did not, however, lead to stable definitions of the terms it popularized, so that Art, literature and culture became the arena of controversy.

During the 19th century, romances continued to be written in Britain, and major writers such as Charles Dickens[72] and Thomas Hardy [73] were influenced by the tradition. The Brontë sisters are notable mid-19th-century creators of romance. Their works include Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.[74] Publishing first at the very end of the 19th century, Joseph Conrad has been called, "a supreme 'romancer'".[75] In America, it was said, "the romance has proved to be a serious, flexible, and successful medium for the exploration of philosophical ideas and attitudes" into the 20th century, and notable examples are Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and Robert Penn Warren's World Enough and Time.[51]

European figures that were influenced by romanticism include Victor Hugo, with novels like The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862), and Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, whose novel A Hero of Our Time (1840) is notable for introducing Superfluous man into the world of literature.

Illustration for Jules Verne's Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1870)

Most 19th-century authors hardly went beyond illustrating and supporting widespread historical views.[76] The more interesting titles won fame by doing what no historian or journalist could do: make the reader experience another life. Émile Zola's novels depicted the world of the working classes, which Marx and Engels wrote about in a non-fictional mode. Slavery in the United States, abolitionism and racism became topics of far broader public debate thanks to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), which dramatises topics that had previously been discussed mainly in the abstract. Charles Dickens novels led his readers into contemporary workhouses, and provided first hand accounts of child labour. The treatment of the subject of war changed with Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (1868/69), where he questions the facts provided by historians. Similarly the treatment of crime is very different in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866), where the point of view is that of a criminal. Women authors had dominated the production of fiction from the 1640s into the early 18th century, but few before George Eliot so openly questioned the role, education, and status of women in society.

As the novel became the most interesting platform of modern debate, national literatures were developed, that link the present with the past in the form of the historical novel. Alessandro Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi (1827) did this for Italy, while novelists in Russia and the surrounding Slavonic countries, as well as the Scandinavian countries, did likewise.

With the new appreciation of history, the future also became a topic for fiction. This had been done earlier in works like Samuel Madden's Memoirs of the Twentieth Century (1733) and Mary Shelley's The Last Man (1826), a work whose plot culminated in the catastrophic last days of a mankind extinguished by the plague. Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward (1887) and H. G. Wells's The Time Machine (1895) were marked by the idea of long term technological and biological developments. Industrialization, Darwin's theory of evolution and Marx's theory of class divisions shaped these works and turned historical processes into a subject matter of wide debate: Bellamy's Looking Backward became the second best-selling book of the 19th century after Harriet Beecher-Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.[77][note 21] Such works inspired a whole genre of popular science fiction as the 20th century approached.

The 20th century and later[edit]

See also: Modernism and Postmodernism

Modernism and post-modernism[edit]

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Vladivostok, 1995

James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) had a major influence on modern novelists, in the way that it replaced the 18th- and 19th-century narrator with a text that attempted to record inner thoughts: a "stream of consciousness". This term was first used by William James in1890 and is used (or the related interior monologue) by modernists like Dorothy Richardson, Marcel Proust, as well as, later Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner.[78] Also in the 1920s expressionist Alfred Döblin went in a different direction with Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929), where interspersed non-fictional text fragments enter the fictional sphere to create another new form of realism to that of stream-of-consciousness.

Later works like Samuel Beckett's trilogy Molloy (1951), Malone Dies (1951) and The Unnamable (1953), as well as Julio Cortázar's Rayuela (1963) and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973) all make use of the stream-of-consciousness technique. On the other hand, Robert Coover is an example of those authors, who the 1960s, fragmented their stories and challenged time and sequentiality as fundamental structural concepts.

Each generation of the 20th century saw its unique aspects expressed in novels. Germany's lost generation of World War I veterans identified with the hero of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) (and with the tougher, more existentialist rival Thor Goote created as a national socialist alternative). The Jazz Age found a voice in F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Depression in John Steinbeck and the incipient Cold War in George Orwell. France's existentialism was prominently voiced in Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea (1938) and Albert Camus' The Stranger (1942). The counterculture of the 1960s gave Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf (1927) a new reception, while producing such iconic works of its own as Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club (1996) became (with the help of the film adaptation) an icon of late-20th-century manhood and a reaction to the 20th-century production of female voices. Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Doris Lessing, Elfriede Jelinek became prominent female and feminist voices. Questions of racial and gender identities, the option to reclaim female heroines of a predominantly male cultural industry[79] have fascinated novelists over the last two decades with their potential to destabilize the preceding confrontations.

The major political and military confrontations of the 20th and 21st centuries have inspired novelists. The events of World War II found their reflections in novels from Günter Grass' The Tin Drum (1959) to Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1961). The ensuing cold war lives on in a bulk of spy novels that reach out into the realm of popular fiction. Latin American self-awareness in the wake of the (failing) left revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a "Latin American Boom", connected today with the names of Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel García Márquez and the invention of a special brand of postmodern magic realism. The unstable status of Israel and the Middle East have become the subject of Israeli and Arab perceptions. Contemporary fiction has explored the realities of the post-Soviet nations and those of post-Tiananmen China. Arguably, though, international perceptions of these events have been shaped more by images than words. The wave of modern media images has, in turn, merged with the novel in the form of graphic novels that both exploit and question the status of circulating visual materials. Art Spiegelman's two-volume Maus and, perhaps more important in its new theoretical approach, his In the Shadow of No Towers (2004) – a graphic novel questioning the reality of the images the 9/11 attacks have produced – are interesting artefacts here.

The major 20th-century social processes can be traced through the modern novel: the history of the sexual revolution[note 22] can be traced through the reception of sexually frank novels: D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover had to be published in Italy in 1928; British censorship lifted its ban as late as 1960. Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer (1934) created the comparable US scandal. Transgressive fiction from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955) to Michel Houellebecq's Les Particules élémentaires (1998) entered a literary field that eventually opened itself to the production of frankly pornographic works such as Anne Desclos' Story of O (1954) to Anaïs Nin's Delta of Venus (1978).

In the second half of the 20th century, Postmodern authors[80] subverted serious debate with playfulness, claiming that art could never be original, that it always plays with existing materials. The idea that language is self-referential had already been an accepted truth in the world of pulp fiction. A postmodernist re-reads popular literature as an essential cultural production. Novels from Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (1980) and Foucault's Pendulum (1989) made use of a universe of intertextual references[81] while they thematized their own creativity in a new postmodern metafictional awareness.[82]

Genre fiction[edit]

Main article: Genre fiction

Popular fiction shares the literary market place with other types of literature through the genres that they share.

The historic advantage of genres is to allow the direct marketing of fiction. While the reader of so-called elitist literature will follow public discussions of novels, the popular production has to employ the traditionally more direct and short-term marketing strategies with the open declarations of their content. Genres fill the gap that the absent critics leaves, and work as direct promises of reading pleasure. The most popular novels are based entirely on the expectations for the particular genre, and the creation of a series of novels with an identifiable brand name. i.e. the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle

Though a production not promoted by secondary criticism it is popular literature that holds the largest market share. Romance fiction had an estimated $1.375 billion share in the US book market in 2007. Religion/inspirational literature followed with $819 million, science fiction/fantasy with $700 million, mystery with $650 million and then classic literary fiction with $466 million.[83]

Stephen King, February 2007

In an historical perspective modern popular literature might be seen as the successor of the early modern chapbook. Both fields share a focus on readers who are in search of easily accessible reading satisfaction.<[84] The 20th-century love romance is a successor of the novels Madeleine de Scudéry, Marie de La Fayette, Aphra Behn, and Eliza Haywood wrote from the 1640s into the 1740s. The modern adventure novel goes back to Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) and its immediate successors. Modern pornography has no precedent in the chapbook market; it goes back, again, to the libertine and hedonistic belles lettres, to John Cleland's Fanny Hill (1749) and its companions of the elegant 18th-century market. Ian Fleming's James Bond is a descendant of the anonymous yet extremely sophisticated and stylish narrator who mixed his love affairs with his political missions in La Guerre d'Espagne (1707). Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon exploits Tolkien, as well as Arthurian literature and its romantic 19th-century reflections. Modern horror fiction also has no precedent on the market of chapbooks – it goes back to the elitist market of early-19th-century romantic literature. Modern popular science fiction has an even shorter history, hardly dating past the 1860s.

The authors of popular fiction–and that is the essential difference between them and their counterparts in the sphere of so-called elitist literature–tend to proclaim that they have simply exploited the controversial topics. Dan Brown does this on his website answering the question whether his Da Vinci Code could be called an "anti-Christian" novel: [85]

The author of popular fiction has a fan community to serve and satisfy. He or she can risk rebuffing both the critical public and its literary experts in their search for interesting readings (as Dan Brown effectively does with his statement on possible readings of his novel). The artificial and arbitrary boundaries between popular and so-called serious literature have blurred in recent years, through the explorations of postmodern and poststructuralist writers, as well as the exploitation of popular literary classics by the film industry.

Crime became a major subject of 20th- and 21st-century novelists. The extreme confrontations of crime fiction reach into the very realities that modern industrialized, organized societies try and fail to eradicate. Crime is also an intriguing personal and public subject: criminals each have their personal motivations and actions. Detectives, too, see their moral codes challenged. Patricia Highsmith's thrillers became a medium of new psychological explorations. Paul Auster's New York Trilogy (1985–1986) crossed the borders into the field of experimental postmodernist literature.

The extreme options of writing alternative histories have created genres of their own. Fantasy has become a field of commercial fiction branching into the worlds of computer-animated role play and esoteric myth. Its center today is J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954/55), a work that mutated from a book written for young readers in search of openly fictionalised role models into a cultural artefact of epic dimensions. Tolkien successfully revived northern European epic literature from Beowulf and the North Germanic Edda to the Arthurian Cycles and turned their incompatible worlds into an epic of global confrontations that magically preceded all known confrontations.

Science fiction has developed a broad variety of genres from the technological adventure Jules Verne had made fashionable in the 1860s to new political and personal compositions. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932) has become a touchpoint for debate of Western consumerist societies and their use of modern technologies. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) focuses on the options of resistance under the eyes of public surveillance. Stanisław Lem, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke became modern classical authors of experimental thought with a focus on the interaction between humans and machines. A new wave of authors has added post-apocalyptic fantasies and explorations of virtual realities in crossovers into the commercial production of quickly mutating sci-fi genres. William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984) became a cult classic here and founded a new brand of cyberpunk science fiction.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2 August 2009. The term novel is a truncation of the Italian word novella (from the plural of Latin novellus, a late variant of novus, meaning "new"), so that what is now, in most languages, a diminutive denotes historically the parent form. The novella was a kind of enlarged anecdote like those to be found in the 14th-century Italian classic Boccaccio's Decameron, each of which exemplifies the etymology well enough. 
  2. ^ The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Award [1] gives the following guidelines: Novel – 40,000 words or more; Novella – 17,500–39,999 words; Novelette – 7,500–17,499 words; Short Story – 7,499 words or fewer. For this purpose, "word" is understood to be five characters plus one space, so, a novel must have at least 240,000 characters-with-spaces, which, in practice, does make about one hundred printed pages, a reasonable length for a novel.
  3. ^ Cf. a rather unfavourable review in the Irish Independent: "Ian McEwan's new novel has been greeted with unqualified, sometimes ecstatic, praise from every reviewer in Britain, which may strike some readers here as a bit odd when they read the book. For a start, it's not a novel. It's barely even a novella. In some ways it's more a long short story, built around a single event and involving just two characters—if it was a play it would be a one-act two-hander."
  4. ^ Anne Dacier's translations, 1699 and 1708, turned Homer's verses into prose and generated an uproar among European intellectuals, who were surprised by their archaic tone.
  5. ^ Good surveys are: John Robert Morgan, Richard Stoneman, Greek fiction: the Greek novel in context (Routledge, 1994), Niklas Holzberg, The ancient novel: an introduction (Routledge, 1995), Gareth L. Schmeling, The Novel in the Ancient World (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 1996) and Tim Whitmarsh (hrsg.) The Cambridge companion to the Greek and Roman novel (Cambridge University Press 2008).
  6. ^ The history of the ever-renowned knight Don Quixote de la Mancha containing his many wonderful and admirable achievements and adventures (London: W.O./ H.) is an example here, Wing: 1522:14, today in the possession of the British Library.
  7. ^ Ian Watt's, The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding (London, 1957) set the phrase and inspired a number of ensuing publications. Major titles are here John J. Richetti, Popular Fiction before Richardson. Narrative Patterns 1700–1739 (1969), Lennard J. Davis, Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), J. Paul Hunter, Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (New York: Norton, 1990), and a volume of the journal Eighteenth Century Fiction brought out under the title "Reconsidering The Rise of the Novel" (which appeared in January–April 2000). Research in Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, and Eliza Haywood has changed the picture since the 1970s with a focus on the two generations of female authors who dominated the stage into the 1720s. Major studies and text editions have been provided here by Patricia Köster, Ros Ballaster, Janet Todd and Patrick Spedding. A compound story is here Josephine Donovan, Women and the Rise of the Novel, 1405–1726 revised edition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).
  8. ^ See for the 17th- and 18th-century philosophical novel: The chapter "The Spinozistic Novel in French", in Jonathan Irvine Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650–1750 (Oxford University Press, 2002), p.591-599, Roger Pearson, The fables of reason: a study of Voltaire's "Contes philosophiques" (Oxford University Press 1993), Dena Goodman, Criticism in action: Enlightenment experiments in political writing (Cornell University Press 1989), Robert Francis O'Reilly, The Artistry of Montesquieu's Narrative Tales (University of Wisconsin., 1967), and René Pomeau and Jean Ehrard, De Fénelon à Voltaire (Flammarion, 1998).
  9. ^ Aphra Behn's Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister (1684/ 1685/ 1687) – with her heroine becoming a high-tier prostitute – had explicit sex scenes and nonetheless became a classic that male and female readers of taste could openly praise.
  10. ^ Press output statistics would be needed to see how important the political production actually was for the publishers. One would produce them with an estimate of the numbers of sheets printed. A viable solution would be (for the period 1600–1800) to assume standard editions of about 800 copies; the number of sheets a title needed per copy could be deduced from format and page numbers. It is not clear whether it would be technically possible to use the ESTC data to create such a statistic.
  11. ^ Numbers follow the ESTC classification of "fiction" and have to be seen as arbitrary identifications of "fictions". Searching for dubious histories and works written in what is today perceived as the literary style of novels one is likely to arrive at higher numbers.
  12. ^ "We owe (I believe) this Advantage to the Refinement and Politeness of our Gallantry; which proceeds, in my Opinion, from the great Liberty which the Men of France allow to the Ladies. They are in a manner Recluses in Italy and Spain; and separated from Men by so many Obstacles, that they are scarce to be seen, and not to be spoken with at all. Hence the Men have neglected the Art of Engaging the Tender Sex, because the Occasions of it are so rare. All the Study and Business there, is to surmount the Difficulties of Access; when this is effected, they make Use of the Time, without amusing themselves with Forms. But in France, the Ladies go at large upon their Parole; and being under no Custody but that of their own Heart, erect it into a Fort, more strong and secure than all the Keys, Grates, and Vigilance of the Douegnas. The Men are obliged to make a Regular and Formal Assault against this Fort, to employ so much Industry and Address to reduce it, that they have formed it into an Art scarce known to other Nations. 'Tis this Art which distinguishes the French from other Romances, and renders the Reading of them so Delicious, that they cause more Profitable Studies to be neglected." Pierre Daniel Huet, The History of Romances, transl. by Stephen Lewis (London: J. Hooke/ T. Caldecott, 1715), pp. 138–140.
  13. ^ The standard study, though problematic with its theory of historical delays, is here Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category of the Bourgeois Society [1962], translated by Thomas Burger (MIT Press, 1991).
  14. ^ The Entertainments of Gallantry: or Remedies for Love. Familiarly discours'd, by a society of persons of quality (London: J. Morphew, 1712) celebrate how easy it has become for private individuals to write little novels – the entire book wants to prove this in the End. For criticism of the new production see the Entertainments pp.74–77, Jane Barker's preface to her Exilius (London: E. Curll, 1715), and George Ernst Reinwalds Academien- und Studenten-Spiegel (Berlin: J. A. Rüdiger, 1720), pp.424–427.
  15. ^ See for a European perspective: Hugh Barr Nisbet, Claude Rawson (eds.), The Cambridge history of literary criticism, vol. IV (Cambridge University Press 1997); for greater detail Ernst Weber, Texte zur Romantheorie: (1626–1781), 2 vols. (München: Fink, 1974/ 1981) and the individual volumes of Dennis Poupard (et al.), Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800: Critical Discussion of the Works of Fifteenth-, Sixteenth-, Seventeenth-, and Eighteenth-Century Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Philosophers, and Other Creative Writers (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co, 1984 ff.).
  16. ^ Huet had gone, however, into this direction with a longer preparation. His De interpretatione libri duo, quorum prior est de optimo genere interpretandi alter de claris interpretibus (1661) had by 1670 become one of the greatest works in the field of theological interpretation.
  17. ^ The Works of T. Petronius Arbiter [...] second edition [...] made English by Mr. Wilson, Mr. Burnaby, Mr. Blount, Mr. Tho. Brown, Capt Ayloff, and several others (London: S. Briscoe/ J. Woodward/ J. Morphew, 1710). The Works of Lucian, translated from the Greek, by several eminent hands, 2 vols. (London: S. Briscoe/ J. Woodward/ J. Morphew, 1711). See The Adventures of Theagenes and Chariclia [...] written originally in Greek by Heliodorus Bishop of Tricca, in the Fourth Century, 2 vols. (London: W. Taylor/ E. Curll/ R. Gosling/ J. Hooke/ J. Browne/ J. Osborn, 1717).
  18. ^ A tongue in cheek reference to Huet can be found in The German Rogue: or, The Life and Merry Adventures, Cheats, Stratagems, And Contrivances of Tiel Eulespiegle [...] Made English from the High-Dutch (London, 1720), a German chapbook offered in the new design of a classic according to Huet.
  19. ^ August Bohse's (alias Talander) preface to the German edition starting in 1710 offers the link between the Arabian Nights and Huet. See: Die Tausend und eine Nacht [...] erstlich vom Hrn. Galland, der Kön. Academie Mitgliede, aus der arabischen Sprache in die frantzösische, und aus selbiger anitzo ins Teutsche übersetzt: erster und anderer Theil. Mit einer Vorrede von Talandern (Leipzig: J. L. Gleditsch/ M. G. Weidmann, 1710).
  20. ^ With a special perspective on the censor's interest to establish copyright laws and thus to fix responsibilities, see Lyman Ray Patterson, Copyright in Historical Perspective (Vanderbilt University Press, 1968).
  21. ^ On the publishing history of Uncle Tom's Cabin: Claire Parfait, The Publishing History of Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852–2002 (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007).
  22. ^ See: Charles Irving Glicksberg, The Sexual Revolution in Modern American Literature (Nijhoff, 1971) and his The Sexual Revolution in Modern English Literature (Martinus Nijhoff, 1973). On recent trends: Elizabeth Benedict, The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers (Macmillan, 2002). Very interesting with its focus on trivial literature written for the female audience: Carol Thurston, The Romance Revolution: Erotic Novels for Women and the Quest for a New Sexual Identity (University of Illinois Press, 1987).


  1. ^ Margaret Anne Doody, The True Story of the Novel. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996, rept. 1997, p. 1. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Kathleen Kuiper, ed. 1995. Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.
  3. ^ "Essay on Romance", Prose Works volume vi, p.129, quoted in "Introduction" to Walter Scott's Quentin Durward, ed. Susan Maning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, p.xxv. Romance should not be confused with harlequin romance.
  4. ^ "Introduction" to Walter Scott's Quentin Durward, ed. Susan Maning, pp.xxv-xxvii.
  5. ^ a b Moers, Ellen. Literary Women: The Great Writers[1976] (London: The Women’s Press, 1978)
  6. ^ [2] Robert McCrum, "The Hundred best novels: Moby Dick", The Observer, Sunday 12 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b Doody (1996), p. 15.
  8. ^ Doody (1996), pp. 18-3, 187.
  9. ^ Doody (1996), p. 187.
  10. ^ a b Huet, Pierre–Daniel, Traitté de l'origine des romans (1670), Stephen Lewis' 1715 translation, The History of Romances, pp. 3-4. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  11. ^ See Johann Friedrich Riederer's "Satyra von den Liebes-Romanen", in: Die abentheuerliche Welt in einer Pickelheerings-Kappe, vol. 2 (Nürnberg, 1718) with descriptions of the diverse situations in which people read novels at the beginning of the 18th century at Marteau.
  12. ^ György Lukács The Theory of the Novel. A historico-philosophical essay on the forms of great epic literature [first German edition 1920], transl. by Anna Bostock (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1971).
  13. ^ Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Kathleen Kuiper, ed. 1995. Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.
  14. ^ The Tale of Genji. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <>
  15. ^ The Japanese. Reischauer, Edwin O. Belknap Press. Cambridge, MA 1980. p.49. ISBN 0-674-47178-4.
  16. ^ Identity in Asian Literature edited by Lisbeth Littrup. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1996, p. 3.
  17. ^ Jon Mcginnis, Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources, p. 284, Hackett Publishing Company, ISBN .
  18. ^ Samar Attar, The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment: Ibn Tufayl's Influence on Modern Western Thought, Lexington Books, ISBN .
  19. ^ Muhsin Mahdi (1974), "The Theologus Autodidactus of Ibn at-Nafis by Max Meyerhof, Joseph Schacht", Journal of the American Oriental Society 94 (2), pp. 232–234.
  20. ^ The Improvement of Human Reason, exhibited in the life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan: written in Arabic above 500 Years ago, by Abu Jaafar Ebn Tophail [...] newly translated from the original Arabick, by Simon Ockley (London: W. Bray, 1711).
  21. ^ "Chivalric romance", in Chris Baldick, ed., Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, 3rd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2008).
  22. ^ C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image, p. 9 ISBN 0-521-47735-2
  23. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  24. ^ See William Caxton's preface to his 1485 edition.
  25. ^ The ESTC notes 29 editions published between 1496 and 1785 ESTC search result
  26. ^ a b "Chapbooks: Definition and Origins". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  27. ^ From chapmen, chap, a variety of peddler, which folks circulated such literature as part of their stock.
  28. ^ Spufford, Margaret (1984). The Great Reclothing of Rural England. London: Hambledon Press. ISBN 0-907628-47-8. 
  29. ^ Leitch, R. (1990). "'Here Chapman Billies Take Their Stand': A Pilot Study of Scottish Chapmen, Packmen and Pedlars". Proceedings of the Scottish Society of Antiquarians 120. pp. 173–188. 
  30. ^ See Rainer Schöwerling, Chapbooks. Zur Literaturgeschichte des einfachen Lesers. Englische Konsumliteratur 1680–1840 (Frankfurt, 1980), Magaret Spufford, Small Books and Pleasant Histories. Pleasant Fiction and its Readership in Seventeenth-Century England (London, 1981) and Tessa Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety 1550–1640 (Cambridge, 1990).
  31. ^ See Johann Friedrich Riederer German satire on the widespread reading of novels and romances: "Satyra von den Liebes-Romanen", in: Die abentheuerliche Welt in einer Pickelheerings-Kappe, vol. 2 (Nürnberg, 1718). online edition
  32. ^ Compare also: Günter Berger, Der komisch-satirische Roman und seine Leser. Poetik, Funktion und Rezeption einer niederen Gattung im Frankreich des 17. Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1984), Ellen Turner Gutiérrez The reception of the picaresque in the French, English, and German traditions (P. Lang, 1995), and Frank Palmeri, Satire, History, Novel: Narrative Forms, 1665–1815 (University of Delaware Press, 2003).
  33. ^ See his Dom Carlos, nouvelle histoire (Amsterdam, 1672) and the recent dissertation by Chantal Carasco, Saint-Réal, romancier de l'histoire: une cohérence esthéthique et morale (Nantes, 2005).
  34. ^ Jean Lombard, Courtilz de Sandras et la crise du roman à la fin du Grand Siècle (Paris: PUF, 1980).
  35. ^ Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (London: W. Taylor, 1719)
  36. ^ See Paul Scarron, The Comical Romance, Chapter XXI. "Which perhaps will not be found very Entertaining" (London, 1700) with its call for the new genre. online edition
  37. ^ See [Du Sieur,] "Sentimens sur l'histoire" in: Sentimens sur les lettres et sur l'histoire, avec des scruples sur le stile (Paris: C. Blageart, 1680) online edition and Camille Esmein's Poétiques du roman. Scudéry, Huet, Du Plaisir et autres textes théoriques et critiques du XVIIe siècle sur le genre romanesque (Paris, 2004).
  38. ^ See: René Godenne, "L'association 'nouvelle – petit roman' entre 1650 et 1750", CAIEF, n°18, 1966, p.67-78, Roger Guichemerre, "La crise du roman et l'épanouissement de la nouvelle (1660–1690)", Cahiers de l'U.E.R. Froissart, n°3, 1978, pp. 101–106, Ellen J. Hunter-Chapco, Theory and practice of the "petit roman" in France (1656–1683): Segrais, Du Plaisir, Madame de Lafayette (University of Regina, 1978), and the two volumes of La Nouvelle de langue française aux frontières des autres genres, du Moyen-Âge à nos jours, vol. 1 (Ottignies: 1997), vol. 2 (Louvain, 2001).
  39. ^ See Robert Ignatius Letellier, The English novel, 1660–1700: an annotated bibliography (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997).
  40. ^ See the preface to The Secret History of Queen Zarah (Albigion, 1705)– the English version of Abbe Bellegarde, "Lettre à une Dame de la Cour, qui lui avoit demandé quelques Reflexions sur l'Histoire" in: Lettres curieuses de littérature et de morale (La Haye: Adrian Moetjens, 1702) online edition
  41. ^ DeJean, Joan. The Essence of Style: How the French Invented Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour (New York: Free Press, 2005).
  42. ^ Warner, William B. Preface From a Literary to a Cultural History of the Early Novel In: Licensing Entertainment - The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684–1750 University of California Press, Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford: 1998.
  43. ^ Cevasco, George A. Pearl Buck and the Chinese Novel, p. 442. Asian Studies - Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, 1967, 5:3, pp.437-451.
  44. ^ The Rise of the Novel, chapter 2.
  45. ^ Doody (1996), pp.2-3.
  46. ^ a b Doody (1996), p. 1-2.
  47. ^ Albert J. Guerard The Triumph of the Novel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), p.12.
  48. ^ The Triumph of the Novel, p.12.
  49. ^ The Rise of the Novel (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963, p.10.
  50. ^ See the preface to her Exilius (London: E. Curll, 1715)
  51. ^ a b A Handbook of Literary Terms, 7th edition, ed. Harmon and Holman (1995), p.450.
  52. ^ Richard Maxwell and Katie Trumpener, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Fiction in the Romantic Period (2008).
  53. ^ The elegant and clearly fashionable edition of The Works of Lucian (London: S. Briscoe/ J. Woodward/ J. Morphew, 1711), would thus include the story of "Lucian's Ass", vol.1 p.114-43.
  54. ^ See Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (New York: Norton, 1995), Lynn Hunt, The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500–1800 (New York: Zone, 1996), Inger Leemans, Het woord is aan de onderkant: radicale ideeën in Nederlandse pornografische romans 1670–1700 (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2002), and Lisa Z. Sigel, Governing Pleasures: Pornography and Social Change in England, 1815–1914 (January: Scholarly Book Services Inc, 2002).
  55. ^ See for the following: Christiane Berkvens-Stevelinck, H. Bots, P. G. Hoftijzer (eds.), Le Magasin de L'univers: The Dutch Republic as the Centre of the European Book Trade: Papers Presented at the International Colloquium, Held at Wassenaar, 5–7 July 1990 (Leiden/ Boston, MA: Brill, 1992).
  56. ^ See also the article on Pierre Marteau for a profile of the European production of (not only) political scandal.
  57. ^ See George Ernst Reinwalds Academien- und Studenten-Spiegel (Berlin: J. A. Rüdiger, 1720), p.424–427 and the novels written by such "authors" as Celander, Sarcander, and Adamantes at the beginning of the 18th century.
  58. ^ See: Siegfried Seifert, "The learned periodical as the medium of current literary criticism and information in 18th-century Germany", Transactions of the 7th International Congress on the Enlightenment, 2 (1988), p.661-63.
  59. ^ See the extended excerpt of Stephen Lewis 1715 edition at Traitté de l'origine des romans (1670) for the collection of these statements and further literature.
  60. ^ See Geoffrey Galt Harpham, On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature, 2nd ed. (Davies Group, Publishers, 2006).
  61. ^ See Gerald Ernest Paul Gillespie, Manfred Engel, and Bernard Dieterle, Romantic prose fiction (John Benjamin's Publishing Company, 2008).
  62. ^ The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, ed. Marion Wynne Davis. New York: Prentice Hall, 1990, p.885.
  63. ^ The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, ed. Marion Wynne Davis, p.885.
  64. ^ The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, ed. Marion Wynne Davis, p.884.
  65. ^ a b The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol.2, 7th edition, ed. M. H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 2000, pp. 20-21.
  66. ^ The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, p.885.
  67. ^ See Mark Rose, Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright 3rd ed. (Harvard University Press, 1993) and Joseph Lowenstein, The Author's Due: Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright (University of Chicago Press, 2002)
  68. ^ See Susan Esmann, "Die Autorenlesung – eine Form der Literaturvermittlung", Kritische Ausgabe 1/2007 PDF; 0,8 MB.
  69. ^ See: James Engell, The committed word: Literature and Public Values (Penn State Press, 1999) and Edwin M. Eigner, George John Worth (ed.), Victorian criticism of the novel (Cambridge: CUP Archive, 1985).
  70. ^ Gene H. Bell-Villada, Art for Art's Sake & Literary Life: How Politics and Markets Helped Shape the Ideology & Culture of Aestheticism, 1790–1990 (University of Nebraska Press, 1996).
  71. ^ See Richard Altick and Jonathan Rose, The English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public, 1800–1900, 2nd ed. (Ohio State University Press, 1998) and William St. Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge: CUP, 2004).
  72. ^ Arthur C. Benson, "Charles Dickens". The North American Review, Vol. 195, No. 676 (Mar., 1912), pp. 381-391.
  73. ^ Jane Millgate, "Two Versions of Regional Romance: Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor and Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, Vol. 17, No. 4, Nineteenth Century (Autumn, 1977), pp. 729-738.
  74. ^ Lucasta Miller, The Brontë Myth. London: Vintage, 2002.
  75. ^ Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory, ed. J. A. Cuddon, 4th edition, revised C. E. Preston (1999), pp. 761.
  76. ^ For the wider context of 19th-century encounters with history see: Hayden White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977).
  77. ^ See Scott Donaldson and Ann Massa American Literature: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (David & Charles, 1978), p. 205.
  78. ^ See Erwin R. Steinberg (ed.) The Stream-of-consciousness technique in the modern novel (Port Washington, N.Y: Kennikat Press, 1979). On the extra-European usage of the technique see also: Elly Hagenaar/ Eide, Elisabeth, "Stream of consciousness and free indirect discourse in modern Chinese literature", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 56 (1993), p.621 and P. M. Nayak (ed.), The voyage inward: stream of consciousness in Indian English fiction (New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 1999).
  79. ^ See, for example, Susan Hopkins, Girl Heroes: The New Force In Popular Culture (Annandale NSW:, 2002).
  80. ^ See for a first survey Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction (Routledge, 1987) and John Docker, Postmodernism and popular culture: a cultural history (Cambridge University Press, 1994).
  81. ^ See Gérard Genette, Palimpsests, trans. Channa Newman & Claude Doubinsky (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press) and Graham Allan, Intertextuality (London/New York: Routledge, 2000).
  82. ^ See Linda Hutcheon, Narcissistic Narrative. The Metafictional Paradox (London: Routledge, 1984) and Patricia Waugh, Metafiction. The Theory and Practice of Self-conscious Fiction (London: Routledge 1988).
  83. ^ See the page Romance Literature Statistics: Overview (visited March 16, 2009) of Romance Writers of America homepage. The subpages offer further statistics for the years since 1998.
  84. ^ John J. Richetti Popular Fiction before Richardson. Narrative Patterns 1700–1739 (Oxford: OUP, 1969).
  85. ^ Dan Brown on his website[dead link] visited February 3, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

17th- and 18th-century views[edit]

  • 1651: Paul Scarron, The Comical Romance, Chapter XXI. "Which perhaps will not be found very Entertaining" (London, 1700). Scarron's plea for a French production rivalling the Spanish "Novels". online edition
  • 1670: Pierre Daniel Huet, "Traitté de l'origine des Romans", Preface to Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne comtesse de La Fayette, Zayde, histoire espagnole (Paris, 1670). A world history of fiction. pdf-edition Gallica France
  • 1683: [Du Sieur], "Sentimens sur l'histoire" from: Sentimens sur les lettres et sur l'histoire, avec des scruples sur le stile (Paris: C. Blageart, 1680). The new novels as published masterly by Marie de LaFayette. online edition
  • 1702: Abbe Bellegarde, "Lettre à une Dame de la Cour, qui lui avoit demandé quelques Reflexions sur l'Histoire" in: Lettres curieuses de littérature et de morale (La Haye: Adrian Moetjens, 1702). Paraphrase of Du Sieur's text. online edition
  • 1705/1708/1712: [Anon.] In English, French and German the Preface of The Secret History of Queen Zarah and the Zarazians (Albigion, 1705). Bellegarde's article plagiarised. online edition
  • 1713: Deutsche Acta Eruditorum, German review of the French translation of Delarivier Manley's New Atalantis 1709 (Leipzig: J. L. Gleditsch, 1713). A rare example of a political novel discussed by a literary journal. online edition
  • 1715: Jane Barker, preface to her Exilius or the Banish'd Roman. A New Romance (London: E. Curll, 1715). Plea for a "New Romance" following Fénlon's Telmachus. online edition
  • 1718: Johann Friedrich Riederer, "Satyra von den Liebes-Romanen", from: Die abentheuerliche Welt in einer Pickelheerings-Kappe, 2 (Nürnberg, 1718). German satire about the widespread reading of novels and romances. online edition
  • 1742: Henry Fielding, preface to Joseph Andrews (London, 1742). The "comic epic in prose" and its poetics. online edition

Secondary literature[edit]

  • Erwin Rohde Der Griechesche Roman und seine Vorläufer (1876) [un-superseded history of the ancient novel] (German)
  • Lukács, Georg (1971, 1916). The Theory of the Novel. trans. Anna Bostock. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Bakhtin, Mikhail. About novel. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1981. [written during the 1930s]
  • Watt, Ian (1957). The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding. Berkeley: University of Los Angeles Press.  Watt reads Robinson Crusoe as the first modern "novel" and interprets the rise of the modern novel of realism as an achievement of English literature, owed to a number of factors from early capitalism to the development of the modern individual.
  • Burgess, Anthony (1963). The Novel To-day. London: Longmans, Green. 
  • Burgess, Anthony (1967). The Novel Now: A Student's Guide to Contemporary Fiction. London: Faber. 
  • Ben Edwin Perry The Ancient Romances (Berkeley, 1967) review
  • Richetti, John J. (1969). Popular Fiction before Richardson. Narrative Patterns 1700–1739. Oxford: OUP. ISBN. 
  • Burgess, Anthony (1970). "Novel, The" – classic Encyclopædia Britannica entry.
  • Miller, H. K., G. S. (1970) Rousseau and Eric Rothstein, The Augustan Milieu: Essays Presented to Louis A. Landa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970). ISBN 0-19-811697-7
  • Arthur Ray Heiserman The Novel Before the Novel (Chicago, 1977) ISBN 0-226-32572-5
  • Madden, David; Charles Bane; Sean M. Flory (2006) [1979]. A Primer of the Novel: For Readers and Writers (revised ed.). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5708-1.  Updated edition of pioneering typology and history of over 50 genres; index of types and technique, and detailed chronology.
  • Spufford, Magaret, Small Books and Pleasant Histories (London, 1981).
  • Davis, Lennard J. (1983). Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05420-3. 
  • Spencer, Jane, The Rise of Woman Novelists. From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen (Oxford, 1986).
  • Armstrong, Nancy (1987). Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504179-8. 
  • McKeon, Michael (1987). The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-3291-8. 
  • Reardon (ed.), Bryan (1989). Collected Ancient Greek Novels. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04306-5. 
  • Hunter, J. Paul (1990). Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-02801-1. 
  • Ballaster, Ros (1992). Seductive Forms: Women's Amatory Fiction from 1684 to 1740. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-811244-0. 
  • Doody, Margaret Anne (1996). The True Story of the Novel. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2168-8. 
  • Relihan, Constance C. (ed.), Framing Elizabethan fictions: contemporary approaches to early modern narrative prose (Kent, Ohio/ London: Kent State University Press, 1996). ISBN 0-87338-551-9
  • "Reconsidering The Rise of the Novel," Eighteenth Century Fiction, Volume 12, Number 2-3, ed. David Blewett (January–April 2000).
  • McKeon, Michael, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).
  • Josephine Donovan, Women and the Rise of the Novel, 1405–1726 revised edition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).
  • Simons, Olaf (2001). Marteaus Europa, oder, Der Roman, bevor er Literatur wurde: eine Untersuchung des Deutschen und Englischen Buchangebots der Jahre 1710 bis 1720. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 90-420-1226-9.  A market study of the novel around 1700 interpreting contemporary criticism.
  • Inger Leemans, Het woord is aan de onderkant: radicale ideeën in Nederlandse pornografische romans 1670–1700 (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2002). ISBN 90-75697-89-9.
  • Price, Leah (2003). The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel: From Richardson to George Eliot. London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53939-0.  from Leah Price
  • Rousseau, George (2004). Nervous Acts: Essays on Literature Culture and Sensibility (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). ISBN 1-4039-3454-1
  • Roilos, Panagiotis, Amphoteroglossia: A Poetics of the Twelfth-Century Medieval Greek Novel (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005).
  • Mentz, Steve, Romance for sale in early modern England: the rise of prose fiction (Aldershot [etc.]: Ashgate, 2006). ISBN 0-7546-5469-9
  • Rubens, Robert, "A hundred years of fiction: 1896 to 1996. (The English Novel in the Twentieth Century, part 12)." Contemporary Review, December 1996.
  • Schmidt, Michael, The Novel: A Biography (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2014).
  • Schultz, Lydia, "Flowing against the traditional stream: consciousness in Tillie Olsen's 'Tell Me a Riddle.'" Melus, 1997.
  • Steven Moore, The Novel: An Alternative History. Vol. 1, Beginnings to 1600: Continuum, 2010. Vol. 2, 1600–1800: Bloomsbury, 2013.