Why is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes considered the first modern novel?
Whether or not Don Quixote is the first modern novel is debatable, but proponents of this notion argue their case with the following considerations:
Don Quixote is a work of literature that combines genres, and this multi-faceted approach to storytelling makes it the first modern novel. Cervantes brings together elements of tragedy and comedy, epic and picaresque, the pastoral and the love story in Don Quixote. Up until this point, some scholars argue, works of literature individually fell into one literary category, and Don Quixote is the first to defy such easy categorization.
Don Quixote is such an original work, made up of a combination of literary characteristics, and this originality makes it the first modern novel. According to some scholars, Don Quixote is not pure in its existence as a literary work of art; it does not have the linear narrative and careful plotting, for example, that defines modern standards of excellence. Instead, Cervantes explores cross-over techniques that lent the...
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Before Cervantes' time, books weren't written like they are now. The idea of a long, fictional narrative was basically non-existent back then. Books were mainly written as historical narratives, philosophical treatises, scientific works, plays, or epic poems. The closest thing to a "novel" would have been something like the Iliad, or the Odyssey, or the Divine Comedy. But each of those was written in verse. Then along comes Don Quixote, which looks a lot like the fiction of Homer or Dante, but written in PROSE (non-verse). Don Quixote is considered the first modern novel because it was one of the first to contain a fictional narrative, written in prose.