At a glance:
Literature is forever transforming. A new literary age is new precisely because its important writers do things differently from their predecessors. Thus, it could be said that almost all significant literature is in some sense innovative or experimental at its inception but inevitably becomes, over time, conventional. Regarding long fiction, however, the situation is a bit more complex.
It is apparent that, four centuries after Miguel de Cervantes wrote what is generally recognized the first important novel, Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605, 1615),...
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