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The novel, as we would understand it, developed in the 1700's and was the direct result of the Industrial Revolution. The price of paper, ink, bookbinding, etc. became progressively cheaper as book production became less of a cottage and more of a factory industry. The steady rise in literacy rates generated a demand for new stories; the establishment of a leisure class enabled authors to write novels, and readers to read them. These factors lead to the novel's rise, and it has continued, somewhat modified, into present time. Many scholars agree that the first novel was Pamela; it's interesting to note that this first novel was about an English heroine, written and read in England, where the Industrial Revolution began.
Throughout the West, and in other parts of the world as well, the novel has been the most popular literary form of the last 250 years. The novel is also an especially significant form, in that it has shaped Western understandings of human society and human psychology. Novels are not the only sources of such ideas, but they are the most popular and probably the most influential.
Most textbooks tell us that a novel is a work of fiction, almost always written in prose, at least 150 to 200 pages long. The textbook definition also distinguishes novels (as works written in prose) from classical epics. The Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid, for example, are all very long poems. Because the novel is a long form, it can cover a period of years, following the characters through a number of major changes. Similarly, because the reading time of a novel may be far longer than the running time of most plays and movies, novels give us the opportunity to develop close, even intimate relationships with both the characters and the narrator.
The term amatory tale helps to distinguish works like Love in Excess by Eliza Haywood from works written 20 to 50 years later, such as Pamela by Samuel Richardson or Evelina by Frances Burney. Despite their occasional failings, Pamela and Evelina clearly count as novels by current standards,but Love in Excess does not because it lacks specificity, character development, and a setting. More often than not, these works are trying to particularize and specify. The term amatory tale is nevertheless useful because it points to the most interesting feature of Haywood’s story, the theme of love and sexual passion, and makes that a defining feature. Scholars have also been able to show that many amatory tales were published in the period from, say, 1680 to 1740.
Equally important to our understanding of the novel form are its differences from the traditional form of the romance. The romance may date back to antiquity, though the most familiar examples are probably the medieval stories of King Arthur and his knights. Romances vary widely, but they do have some common features. The setting of a romance is usually remote and, perhaps, exotic, like that of a fairy tale. The characters in a romance are also sketched broadly—handsome prince, beautiful princess—and may include larger-than-life figures, such as giants and wizards. Finally, there’s often some sort of magic in a romance. The romance is a form that has no trouble with the supernatural or the metaphysical.
It’s clear that the romance was stripped down and streamlined into the amatory tale, and it’s also clear that the tales were then developed into the first novels. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that—because the forms of the romance and amatory tale are very much alive and well in the form of Harry Potter and others.
The novel is a form with two major dimensions: one sociological, the other psychological. The sociological dimension of the novel is crucially important, because novels are almost always concerned with social distinctions, social hierarchies, and social values. In addition to exploring these sociological issues, the novel also delves into human psychology, providing vivid images of how individuals think and feel.
according to the book "COMPANION OF THE NOVEL" written by Akachi Ezegu. there are so many factors that contributed but the three major ones are:
distribution of leisure
shift in reading taste
and lastly printing presses/ book production
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