What is a novel?

We explain what a novel is and the types of novels that exist. Also, how is its structure and examples. Story and novel.

  1. What is a novel?

A novel consists of a more or less extensive literary narration , usually of a fictional nature, in which a series of events prolonged over time are told , in order to entertain and provide aesthetic pleasure to its readers. It is, together with the chronicle and the story, one of the subgenres in which the genre of the narrative is divided, whose distinctive feature is the fictional construction of a  narrator.

The novels  are characterized by having a complex plot , abundant in digressions or vericuetos, usually starring several characters and even narrated from various points of view.

However, there are no delimitations as to what may or may not be a novels, especially in contemporary literature, which saw in the creative freedom of the novels the opportunity to explore the borders of narration , through discontinuous, fragmentary texts, absurd, etc.

This freedom is essential for the novels, which draws on any narrative device that allows it to tell its story . The result is an open-type work, in which a possible world is reproduced that the story told partially explores, unlike the story that tends to build a closed universe in itself, to which nothing can be added.

The novels is based on the epic genre of Greco-Roman antiquity, as Aristotle explained in his  Poetics . However, the genre took its modern meaning from the Middle Ages, and will emerge as a modern genre from the publication of  Don  Quixote  de la Mancha  de Cervantes in 1605.

  1. Types of novel

The romantic novel tells adventures and amorous or erotic misadventures.

The novel is considered a protein genre, that is, multiple in its forms and, therefore, in its possible classifications. However, taking into account the nature of its content, people usually talk about:

  • Adventure novel . Where a trip or a vital journey of a character is counted from the beginning to the end , which when he returns is not the same as the one he left.
  • Science fiction novel . Those in which the possibilities of impact of technology and scientific knowledge on the life of human beings are explored .
  • Police novels . Their stories have to do with the clarification of a crime committed and their protagonists tend to be police officers, detectives or law enforcement officers.
  • Romantic novels . It tells stories centered on the adventures or amorous or erotic misadventures of its characters.
  • Cavalry novels . He focuses his story on the life of a walking knight and his adventures in medieval Europe.
  • Horror novel . Raises terrifying stories, with the presence of monsters and mysterious supernatural entities, which cause fear or tension to the reader.
  • Fantasy novels . It offers a possible world built entirely from the imagination, with its own rules, creatures and history, different from the real world.
  • Realist novels . The opposite of the fantastic, offers stories set in the real world, without magical or supernatural attributes.
  • Psychological novels . Those that go into the reflections, feelings and the inner world of the characters, rather than the events that occurred.
  • Philosophical novel . It proposes reflections of existential or transcendental order set in a story that encourages or encourages them.
  • Epistolary novel . She who tells her story from the supposed reproduction of letters, journal entries, emails and other forms of correspondence between the characters.
  1. Structure of a novel

The novel can have endless possible structures, since it is the realm of narrative freedom. However, the usual thing is that the body of a novel is divided into chapters or entries , usually numbered or even titled, that segment the story so that the reader can go through it in an orderly manner. This does not mean that a novel cannot occur in a single act, or that it can be counted in thousands of tiny entries. The possibilities are limited to the creativity of the author.

  1. Novel example

Some recognized examples of the novel are:

  • Crime and punishment  of Fiódor Dostoievski.
  • Madame Bovary  by Gustave Flaubert.
  • The process  of Franz Kafka.
  • One hundred years of solitude  by Gabriel García Márquez.
  • Hopscotch  by Julio Cortázar.
  • For whom the bells  of Ernest Hemingway double .
  • Don Quixote de la Mancha  by Miguel de Cervantes.
  1. Story and novel

The story is a short and closed account of few elements.

The story and the novel are narrative subgenres , whose differences do not lie solely in the extension (the novel is usually much more extensive, while the story should be read in one go). Julio Cortázar, an Argentine writer, explained the difference with a boxing metaphor: the novel wins by points and the story wins by  knock-out .

This means that the latter aspires to a forcefulness and a closed account of few elements, while the novel is scattered, abundant and aspires to an extensive  and interesting tour of the fictional world that it poses.

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