What is the significance of family in the novel as a genre?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Of the major literary genres, the novel is the one most associated with portrayal of family life. The Greek and Roman novels had themes mainly derived from either lyric poetry or sophistic declamation, but the English novel, arising, as Watts has argued, from the rise of the bourgeoisie combined with increasing vernacular literacy, was a novel very much associated with realistic portraits of everyday life, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, where `domestic fiction` was itself a major subgenre. The novels of Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope, for example, are concerned with the emotional and social dynamics of family life. Gaskell`s North and South compares the family life of genteel southerners and that of industrial workers. Because the focus of the novel as a genre is often on character as it is embedded in everyday situation, the family is a crucial theme in the genre.