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Define 'Novel'. Mention some of its common features.

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coolthinker | Student | eNoter

Posted October 16, 2010 at 2:37 PM via web

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Define 'Novel'. Mention some of its common features.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 19, 2010 at 2:37 PM (Answer #1)

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Novel, is a word derived from the French word for new--nouvel is one form of this adjective, which is itself from the Latin.  The novel became a new genre in 1740 when Samuel Richardson published Pamela. 

With the Industrial Revolution there was an expansion of the middle class in England, and since many people then could read and had money to spend on the diversion, the novel came to satisfy their interests in narratives that were imaginary.  Before the novel, people read biographies, autobiographies, journals, and memoirs.  But with the fictionalized novel--a new idea--the narrative could be made exiciting and be controlled by the writer.  Since Alexander Pope's declaraction that "the proper study of mankind is man," authors have been working with the various genres of novels to convey the human experience.

Novels are constructed in a similar fashion to short stories.  That is, they contain a plot with characters, they have settings, theme(s), and point(s) of view. And, they are arranged into genres such as romance, horror, mystery, satire, comedy, historical romance, science-fiction, fantasy, etc.  While there are these many divisions among novels, all have one characteristic:  they have a focus on an inner vision of reality.  In The Rise of the Novel (1957)  by Ian Watts, the author indicates that the "realism of the novel allows a more immediate imitation of individual experience."  Thus, readers find a close correspondence between life and art.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 3, 2012 at 3:26 PM (Answer #2)

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The novel is a genre of fiction writing distinguished from the short story, the novella, and drama. The novel has much in common with these other forms of fiction writing, but is distinguished by certain formal traits and, especially, length. 

The central defining trait of the novel as a form is the use of prose.

Prose is the most typical form of language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure (as in traditional poetry).

The use of prose and dialogue used to tell a story involving one or more characters (usually more than one) distinguishes the novel from drama and poetry. 

Often the novel is defined simply as an extended narrative, longer than a short story and longer than a novella.

novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose.

Traditional novels offer a strong plot that poses a problem or set of problems to the characters in the narrative, some of which are resolved in the action of the novel. 

Some novels break with tradition and eschew conventional plot structure, either by telling multiple stories that are interwoven involving characters that are not directly related (A Visit from the Goon Squad; USA), by utilizing a highly imaginative formula of story within story (Naked Lunch), or by including mulitple prose forms within the novel and using these to supplement the narrative (Moby Dick). 

Considering this type of flexibility in the genre, we can see that there is a great deal of variety allowed by the novel form. 

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sankarraj | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted October 16, 2010 at 7:10 PM (Answer #3)

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A Novel may defined as a long narrative in prose that describes the actions of imaginary or ficticious people. A Novels has Plots and subplot like a Drama.Like Dramas, Novels also contain dialogues through which the minds of the charectors are revealed. Anovelist enjoys more freedom than a playwright. A Novelist can describe many things a Playwright can never present on the stage. The Novelist write about what is happening and why it happening. He can even give his own comments. The story need not be symmetrical incrisis, denouement and exposition.

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mrsseha | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 13, 2012 at 6:47 PM (Answer #4)

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A novel is fictional prose. Novels feature characters. These characters usually face some time of problem in the novel. The problem, more often than not, has some type of transformative effect on the characters themselves. Some of the most famous novels have created whole cultures (ie Harry Potter) while others stand as "landmarks" for those that study literature (ie Classics). 

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arjun | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 5, 2013 at 6:13 AM (Answer #6)

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The word novel came into use during 14th and 17th century when Giovanni Boccaccio, the Italian writer, applied the term novella to the short prose narratives in his narrative work in1353. Thus It is derived from the Italian word novella from the plural of Latin novellus which means new or strange. In English literature, the different writers define it according to their knowledge and experience. All have given very satisfying definitions, but it is more conveniently defined that a long story in prose, meant primarily for entertainment, and presenting a realistic picture of life. This literary form is a source of great entertainment for the readers in case of loneliness and tiredness. During journey, the people go through the novels and enjoy so much. Indeed, it is adhered to the Medieval Ages. In these ages, there was the fiction of romance and long fairy tales in plenty. They were printed at the end of 15th century and drew the attention of the readers. Such stories proved the model for this new genre of literature. It is widely accepted that the novel has got its popularity as a good companion, enriched with the spirit of entertainment and instruction.

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laurto | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted February 1, 2014 at 7:34 PM (Answer #7)

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A novel is a fictitious narrative which involves characters and events which are to some degree realistic. Novels are usually complex and portray characters and are usually presented is sequential order of actions and scenes.

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