A novel is a narrative, fictional piece of literature that is usually written in prose. A novel gives stories that are presented in a serial or sequential manner and has been part of human culture since the medieval and the early romance periods when the novella tradition was in vogue. The novel is the most prominent form of literature world wide and has been treasured as the best example of what a man can write (Guglielmo & Chartier, 2).
There are some characteristics that make up a novel. To start with, a novel may be written in a narrative form but it is not narrated, it exists in written form. It is not an oral account. Secondly, very few novels contain factual accounts and almost all of them are fictional in nature, which differentiates them from myths which are near factual accounts.
Novels focus on the totality of life, history in an artistic way through the construction of a plot in a way that a work of fiction appears as reality. The artistic merits in a novel are shown by the creative use of language and style to deliver the meaning (Andersen & Sauer, 5).
The earliest novels in the world are of Greek origin that include the Iliad and the Aneid that were written by homer thousands of years ago.
The popularity of the novel rose with the advent of the printing press because, before then, only a few copies of each novel could be distributed. The earliest novels did not have landmark literary stylistics and the only piece of writing that stands out from the mediaeval period is the Canterbury tales that was written by Chaucer, which is still taught in most literary classes to date.
The novel did not gain permanent positions as an acceptable literary form very easily. Its development has been marked by the waxing and waning in popularity and most of the landmark novels that took the genre into the next level were written in the 19th and 20th century.
Since the 19th century, the novel has become the most acceptable, popular and common mode of literature blazing the trail ahead of published plays, non fiction works and poetry, that used to enjoy popularity when the novel was still struggling to make an impact.
Novels are especially popular for the way they create a fantastic, spectacular world using characters that the audience either empathizes with or likes to emulate (Guglielmo & Chartier, 2).The arguments and the sequences that are created in a novel are well though out and present a realm of exploration, innovation and creativity that does not have borders. They have within them, various subgenres that sprout out tackling every type of subject that can be thought of in the world.
There is a wide range of imaginary elements that can be put in a novel in a manner that is cost effective as opposed to movies which present the same information as the novel but in a way that really stretches the financial muscle of the creator (Andersen & Sauer, 5). No form of literature in the contemporary world can rival the novel.
It uses language and style to create an art that portrays the totality of human life and history in a very creative manner that makes things that are outright fictions to appear so real that the audience almost suffers from the affective fallacy because of the way the novel brings them closer to the real world.
Andersen, Jennifer & Sauer, Elizabeth. Books and Readers in Early Modern England: Material Studies. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.
Guglielmo, Cavallo & Chartier, Roger. A History of Reading in the West. Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003.