Essay Types For Novels

Creative Non-Fiction

If representing and exploring the “real” by writing in the genre of creative non-fiction is your goal, we hope these tips about what creative non-fiction is, as well as some pointers on a few genres that are considered creative non-fiction (memoir and the personal essay) can help you. We have also included some tips about Writing Negatively About People in Your Life as well as links to some well-known examples of creative non-fiction to give you a sense of what is out there.

An Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction
What “is” creative non-fiction?
  • Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. This makes if different (more “creative”) than standard nonfiction writing.
  • Sometimes called literary journalism or the literature of fact, creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction, such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc.
  • Creative nonfiction should (1) include accurate and well-researched information, (2) hold the interest of the reader, and (3) potentially blur the realms of fact and fiction in a pleasing, literary style (while remaining grounded in fact).
  • In the end, creative nonfiction can be as experimental as fiction—it just needs to be based in the real.
Content of creative nonfiction:
  • It's important to clarify that the content of creative nonfiction does not necessarily have to come from the life or the experience of the writer. Say, for instance, the writer is using techniques from literary journalism to create a portrait of a person interviewed. The writer may choose to write a portrait of the interviewee through an omniscient perspective, meaning the writer wouldn't be in the piece at all.
  • On the other hand, nonfiction writers often choose to write about topics or people close to them (including themselves). As long as the piece deals with something real, or something based on the real, the writer is allowed to take the piece in any direction he or she wishes.
  • In creative nonfiction, writers attempt to observe, record, and thus shape a moment(s) from real life. Writers thus extract meaning through factual details—they combine the fact of detail with the literary extrapolation necessary in rendering meaning from an observed scene.
  • At the same time, successful creative nonfiction attempts to overlay fact with traditional conceptions of dramatic structure. While rendering meaning from an observed scene, a piece should suggest a beginning, middle and end that clearly conveys the conflict and the characters, and pushes the action toward some sort of closure.
  • In effect, creative nonfiction attempts to project a dramatic, literary framework upon everyday existence, rendering it enjoyable, enlightening and potentially meaningful.
  • While writing creative nonfiction, writers should dwell on sensory details and "show show show."
  • A piece should never just tell the reader something or summarize—this is what research non-fiction does.
Different “types” of creative non-fiction writing:
  • Due to the fact that creative nonfiction is an ever-evolving genre of writing, it is difficult to define set types:
    • The Personal Essay:
      A piece of writing, usually in the first person, that focuses on a topic through the lens of the personal experience of the narrator. It can be narrative or non-narrative-it can tell a story in a traditional way or improvise a new way for doing so. Ultimately, it should always be based on true, personal experience.

    • The Memoir:
      A memoir is a longer piece of creative nonfiction that delves deep into a writer's personal experience. It typically uses multiple scenes/stories as a way of examining a writer's life (or an important moment in a writer's life). It is usually, but not necessarily, narrative.

    • The Short Short: A short/short is a (typically) narrative work that is concise and to the point. It uses imagery and details to relay the meaning, or the main idea of the piece. Typically it's only one or two scenes, and is like a flash of a moment that tells a whole story.

    • Literary Journalism:
      Literary journalism uses the techniques of journalism (such as interviews and reviews) in order to look outside of the straight forward, objective world that journalism creates. It uses literary practices to capture the scene/setting of the assignment or the persona of the person being interviewed. It can often be narrative or heavily imagistic. Another important aspect of literary journalism is that it often stretches the idea of "objective facts" in order to better reflect real life and real people. In other words, while journalism is about being completely objective, literary journalism says that people can't be objective because they already have their own subjective views about the world. Therefore, by taking the "objectiveness" out of the journalistic process, the writer is being more truthful.

    • The Lyric Essay:
      The lyric essay is similar to the personal essay in that it also deals with a topic that affects the reader. However, the lyric essay relies heavily on descriptions and imagery. Lyrical suggests something poetic, musical, or flowing (in a sense). This type of piece uses a heavily descriptive, flowing tone in order to tell a story.

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Memoir: Tips for Writing about Your Life

Memoirs are an often overlooked subdivision of creative writing, and more specifically, creative non-fiction. They have the potential to be incredibly interesting, richly developed, beautifully moving pieces that can sometimes be confused with autobiography. Generally, autobiographies are the life story or history of a person's life written by that person. Though memoirs share some similarities with autobiographies, such as first person narration, they are more than a recounting of one's life events in chronological order. Instead, they can be descriptions of one single event or moment in one's life, rather than that life in its entirety, and tend to be written in a less structured or formal manner. Memoirs have the capacity to be funny, profound, moving, cynical, etc., and may even have resemblances to fiction in their creativity. Memoirs can focus on one specific event, place, person, etc. or they can be expanded to encompass a broader range of events, snapshots, or memories in the author's experience. Here are some basic things you should know about writing a memoir:

Here are some basic things you should know about writing a memoir:
  • A memoir can be about nearly anything in your personal experience/life that is significant enough for you to want to retell it, or it can simply be a snapshot of a moment or a description of a person, place, or thing in your life.
  • Choose a topic that you care about, for this will make your piece more descriptive, emotional, and creative. Even though it is about YOUR life, if you care about your topic then so will the reader.
  • Seek a deeper or underlying theme within the simple description of an event etc. that the reader can connect to. Use a lot of description and imagery, if you can, to make the reader feel like they know the topic intimately.
  • There is no specific form or style that it is necessary for a memoir to have­ USE YOUR OWN UNIQUE VOICE!
  • Do not confuse memoirs with autobiography, they are NOT the same thing (as noted above). You may want to find some memoirs in the library or online in order to get a feel for the variety out there and some of the ways you might want to go about writing yours. A few examples we are familiar with are:
    • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
    • Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir by Lauren Slater
    • Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man by Frank McCourt
    • The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat
    Though these are longer books, memoirs can take the form of shorter, more "snapshot" like pieces as well. A memoir does not have to be a long, all-inclusive cataloguing of your life-that could be overwhelming, boring, and read more like a formal autobiography---choose a specific focus. Take creative license.
  • A memoir, though based on and rooted in truth and fact, does not have to be 100% straight laced non-fiction. Take a new perspective, get creative, find a way to make your piece more interesting, fresh, thought-provoking etc. In other words, just because this is non-fiction, that DOES NOT have to make it boring, dry, straight-forward, and humorless.
  • Though there is some controversy over what can and cannot be called memoir, Lauren Slater's book Lying is a good example of how creative you can get with this genre. Hers is specifically labeled a metaphorical memoir in order to avoid this controversy (though it has followed her anyway), and so perhaps saying something to that effect is a way of avoiding complaints of false advertising and fraud. Though you should not claim something to be true that is not, you can choose what you want to leave out of or include in your memoir. You can make it read like fiction, and you can make conscious decisions to surround your work with ambiguity that questions the nature of truth vs. fact (as Slater does). It may sound complicated, but really is quite basic: don't make claims your piece is something it's not, don't outright lie and then say it's fact, but choose your material carefully and you can do many more things with memoirs than you might at first think (see the limits of the real in creative non-fiction).
  • Finally, have fun with it! Enjoy it! Memoirs can be very emotionality releasing, fun to play around with, and can reward not only the reader but also you, the writer. Test your limits and try different ways of writing—its all about self-exploration and discovery.

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The Personal Essay: A Few Pointers

The personal essay is one of the most popular forms of creative non-fiction writing found in English classes, especially in high school but also, to a certain degree and in a more complex way, college. This kind of writing allows you to explore a topic through the lens of your own, personal experiences, reflections, ideas, and reactions. It can be one of the most powerful kinds of writing you get to do, both in its direct connection to you, the writer, allowing you to engage with material in class at a very personal, complex, and meaningful level, and also in the amount of latitude that you as a writer are afforded in terms of style, technique, and form. The following are some tips and strategies to help you think as you write and revise a personal essay, or prepare to write this kind of assignment for the first time (the topic of the essay will always vary—we are focused on the genre as a whole here).

  • Focus. In some ways, the personal essay is similar to memoir and many of the same techniques can be used effectively. It differs in that an essay is focused on one specific topic (and here, it will be explored through your own experiences) whereas the memoir has the capability to trace or illuminate several themes, topics, and ideas via the author’s life (or part(s) of that life) that he/she describes (and how he/she describes it).
  • Organization. Not to be confused with form (see below). Your essay, like other essays, should have some kind of coherent organization to it. This is not to say that you must use thesis style (in fact, we are confident that powerful personal essays follow that organization scheme less than 5% of the time). No matter how you choose to organize (and what form you use), be sure that your paragraphs and ideas flow from one to the next, connected by a common theme (trying to tackle the topic on which you are writing). It can be scattered or fragmented (if that is a stylistic/form choice you make), but the entire paper should have a relationship, even if it only becomes clear at the end. This allows the reader to follow your experience.
  • Form. One of the best parts of this kind of writing is the power given to you as the writer. There is no form, no formula, no tried and true method that you must use to be effective. In fact, to copy something that somebody else has done is not only rather boring, but also defeats the purpose of this being a personal essay. Choose a form and style that suits you and is fitting for the experience that you are describing. Try to think of the form as a part of the writing itself, not just a framework for it: the form should actually enhance and make more poignant what it is you are taking about. Push the boundaries, but don’t go too far—you are still writing an essay (and be sure that you follow any specific requirements outlined by your professor).
  • Diction/Language. Like form, in the personal essay (and creative writing generally, perhaps even, to some extent, writing in general) the way in which you say something can “mean” just as much as the form into which you place what it is you are saying. Use language to enhance what you are writing about and not just as a means to say it. Here is where you can get really creative and appropriately use linguistic “play” to explore your topic and your own relation to it in new and complex ways.
Choosing at Topic and Approach

When beginning a personal essay, you should choose a significant event in your life. This can be almost anything, but something about it should matter to you. Many personal essays hinge around a sad experience, but joy is just as strong an emotion, if not more so. As always in creative writing, you should consider why you are writing this piece: what can writing about this experience teach others? What can you learn from revisiting the memory? In a personal essay, the importance of the word “personal” is not to be undervalued. Whatever you choose to write about must be important to you, hinge around your experience, and have some impact on you.

When writing a personal essay, it is important to remember that the main character is you. This is challenging for a lot of people who are used to expressing themselves through a character or through poetry. Personal essays demand more vulnerability than either of these forms. In a personal essay, the writer should never be afraid of the word “I” in fact, it should be used as often as possible. In most situations where you find yourself straying into the first person plural (“we”) or even the third person, using such vague language as "one could" or “one would,” you will almost always find the writing becomes stronger if you replace the subject with “I.” Most of the time, drifting into vague language is a sign that you are trying to convey a message you find “too” personal and are afraid of expressing. However, it is this vulnerability that fuels the personal essay. You cannot learn from the experience unless you are honest with yourself, and readers will not be able to understand why this experience is significant if you hide yourself from view. Your character in the story can only develop if you claim the story as your own.

Revising Tips

While one of the most common kinds of creative non-fiction writing (at least in an academic setting), the personal essay is probably one of the harder assignments to revise. After all, how do you “fix” a paper that is composed of very personal ideas? A personal essay is not like a formal analytical essay-- it doesn't need an explicit thesis-driven format. Therefore, revising a personal essay can be complicated, especially when you feel as though you don't want to tamper with personal thoughts. However, a personal essay often needs someone to tamper with it in order to make it a complete piece. Below we have listed several steps that may be useful when revising or giving feedback on a personal essay (either your own or someone else’s).

  • Voice/Tone: The voice and tone are important in the personal essay because they reflect the attitude the writer is trying to get across. Is the mood happy? Sad? Is it serious? Are we placed inside the writer's head? These are all important questions to ask in order to realize the effect/the emotion the writer wants the piece to convey. Ask yourself (or the writer): Is the writer's voice consistent throughout the piece? Does it reflect the tone of the piece? Does the piece incorporate some experimental ideas? It is not necessary to have a personal essay be “experimental,” but it does need to be unique to the writer (hence the name). Some experimental ideas include: playing with the sentence structure by juxtaposing short sentences with longer, complicated sentences ... playing with word usage by including repetition or alliteration ... or playing with form by including other voices, dialogue, and points of views.
  • Showing v. Telling: Details and imagery can only help a personal essay; they help to develop a story by making it more real to the reader. A personal essay doesn't necessarily need scenes, but it does need a well formed focus or point and imagery can help to establish that.
  • Character Development: If the personal essay has characters, make sure they're developed clearly and that the relationships between the characters are developed. Dialogue between characters not only helps the reader to understand the relationships, it helps the reader to understand the individual characters and their actions. Imagery also helps with this and ties back into showing v. telling; by describing a character through details (of their actions or their appearance), we better understand a character.
  • Original Language: Everything in a piece of creative writing is subject to scrutiny, including word choice. Therefore it's helpful to look closely at language. Is the writing fresh? Are there any obvious clichés that detract from the piece?
  • Form: How a piece of creative non-fiction writing is put together is extremely important. The form not only needs to be organized well, it also speaks to the piece as a whole. Good questions to ask: Why is it organized in this way? How does this reflect your (or the writer’s) experience? It's also helpful to discuss different form techniques such as flashbacks, stream of consciousness, or different scenes that piece together a writer's main idea.
  • Fiction/Poetry Techniques: Since creative non-fiction writing is such a hybrid and multi-faceted genre, it's often helpful to use/borrow techniques from fiction or poetry. Scenes, dialogue, narrative structure, setting, and an emphasis on language are all important aspects of creative nonfiction as well.

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Writing Negatively About People in your Life

When it comes to writing creative nonfiction, the vast majority of the material is going to be from experience. Writers will write about things they have gone through, monumental events in their lives, and the people they have encountered. While the closest people in your life often leave a positive impact, what happens when you want to write negatively about them? It can be hard to feel like it is your place to expose personal parts of others without their permission for the sake of your piece. However, it is ultimately your decision what you would like to write about and what you feel is necessary to include. It is also important not to embellish or include elements of fiction in your creative non-fiction. So if that means describing an explosive fight between you and your parents or outing your sibling for a crime they committed, you as the author have the authority to do so. But if this is something that causes you anxiety or makes you feel like you’re abusing your power, here are a few things to consider.

  • One, who is your audience? If your piece is not likely to make it very far out of your classroom environment, it may not be necessary to warn the people in your life that they have become characters in your piece. However, if your piece is going to be published in some sort of way or might have the opportunity of circulating, odds are high that you will want to inform the people in your life before they find out on their own.
  • Two, what is absolutely necessary? Trashing loved ones in your life could be a necessity to the point you are trying to make in your creative non-fiction piece. However, you could also become carried away and swept up by emotion and decide to include things out of spite rather than out of need. Always reread your pieces for intention and make sure that sensitive, personal aspects of your piece are crucial to the understanding for the audience and not just fluff. When you’re playing with emotions, it is even more important to write with intention.
  • Three, do they need to know? If you still feel like you want to make your piece transparent with the people you have turned into characters, do so in a professional way and be prepared for backlash. It is important to warn them that you do delve into personal matters but that you do not wish for the audience to hold that against them and that you would not include it if you did not find it absolutely necessary.
  • Lastly, be aware that they are free to react in any way that they want to, and if that is negatively, remember to keep your integrity. Just because they have disliked their portrayal in your piece does not mean you need to filter or sensor it in any way. Be respectful of their feelings but stick to your guns as a writer.

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Examples
  • Excerpt from Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris A collection of memoir-essays by David Sedaris, this particular except is from the essay entitled SantaLand Diaries, where Sedaris recounts his experience working as a holiday elf for Macy’s. It is a great example of memoir. As you read, think about the debate going on about the memoir (see handout on memoirs)—where do you see embellishment or possible “stretching of the truth” for artistic purposes? How is this different from a straight autobiography? What kinds of stylistic devices is Sedaris using that would make this a piece of creative non-fiction?

  • Excerpt from Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
    This piece is a classic example of Literary Journalism (also called New Journalism). In it, Wolfe is reporting on both the sixties in general as well as Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, from the period spanning the late fifties to 1965. Considered to be an essential period piece of that decade, this novel is also one of the first examples of Literary Journalism. What about this piece separates it from more traditional journalism? How is it closer to what we would otherwise consider (mistake for??) a novel? From this excerpt, can you see how this kind of journalism is considered a kind of creative non-fiction? What does this type of journalism have to offer us as readers that more traditional journalism doesn’t/can’t? This piece also demonstrates nicely the concept of “the limits of the real” in creative non-fiction—how so? (see our note on this concept under Creative Non-Fiction)?
    Note: To access excerpt, follow the link, click where it says “click to look inside” and then use the arrows to flip the pages.

  • Excerpt from Lars Eighner's Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets
    A great example of memoir. What do you see as the “point” or message of this piece to be? How does the author accomplish this? What features make this an example of creative non-fiction? Of memoir?

Types of novel

Historical

For the hack novelist, to whom speedy output is more important than art, thought, and originality, history provides ready-made plots and characters. A novel on Alexander the Great or Joan of Arc can be as flimsy and superficial as any schoolgirl romance. But historical themes, to which may be added prehistoric or mythical ones, have inspired the greatest novelists, as Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Stendhal’sCharterhouse of Parma reveal. In the 20th century, distinguished historical novels such as Arthur Koestler’sThe Gladiators (1939), Robert Graves’s I, Claudius (1934), Zoé Oldenbourg’s Destiny of Fire (1960), and Mary Renault’s The King Must Die (1958) exemplify an important function of the fictional imagination—to interpret remote events in human and particular terms, to transform documentary fact, with the assistance of imaginative conjecture, into immediate sensuous and emotional experience.

There is a kind of historical novel, little more than a charade, which frequently has a popular appeal because of a common belief that the past is richer, bloodier, and more erotic than the present. Such novels, which include such immensely popular works as those of Georgette Heyer, or Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel stories in England in the early 20th century, and Forever Amber (1944) by Kathleen Winsor in the United States, may use the trappings of history but, because there is no real assimilation of the past into the imagination, the result must be a mere costume ball. On the other hand, the American novelist John Barth showed in The Sot-Weed Factor (1960) that mock historical scholarship—preposterous events served up with parodic pomposity—could constitute a viable, and not necessarily farcical, approach to the past. Barth’s history is cheerfully suspect, but his sense of historical perspective is genuine.

It is in the technical conservatism of most European historical novels that the serious student of fiction finds cause to relegate the category to a secondary place. Few practitioners of the form seem prepared to learn from any writer later than Scott, though Virginia Woolf—in Orlando (1928) and Between the Acts (1941)—made bold attempts to squeeze vast tracts of historical time into a small space and thus make them as fictionally manageable as the events of a single day. And John Dos Passos’ U.S.A., which can be taken as a historical study of a phase in America’s development, is a reminder that experiment is not incompatible with the sweep and amplitude that great historical themes can bring to the novel.

Picaresque

In Spain, the novel about the rogue or pícaro was a recognized form, and such English novels as Defoe’s The Fortunate Mistress (1724) can be regarded as picaresque in the etymological sense. But the term has come to connote as much the episodic nature of the original species as the dynamic of roguery. Fielding’s Tom Jones, whose hero is amoral and very nearly gallows-meat, has been called picaresque, and the Pickwick Papers of Dickens—whose eponym is a respectable and even childishly ingenuous scholar—can be accommodated in the category.

The requirements for a picaresque novel are apparently length, loosely linked episodes almost complete in themselves, intrigue, fights, amorous adventure, and such optional items as stories within the main narrative, songs, poems, or moral homilies. Perhaps inevitably, with such a structure or lack of it, the driving force must come from a wild or roguish rejection of the settled bourgeois life, a desire for the open road, with adventures in inn bedrooms and meetings with questionable wanderers. In the modern period, Saul Bellow’s Adventures of Augie March (1953) and Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums (1959) have something of the right episodic, wandering, free, questing character. But in an age that lacks the unquestioning acceptance of traditional morality against which the old picaresque heroes played out their villainous lives, it is not easy to revive the novela picaresca as the anonymous author of Lazarillo de Tormes (1554) conceived it, or as such lesser Spanish writers of the beginning of the 17th century as Mateo Alemán, Vicente Espinel, and Luis Vélez de Guevara developed it. The modern criminal wars with the police rather than with society, and his career is one of closed and narrow techniques, not compatible with the gay abandon of the true pícaro.

Sentimental

The term sentimental, in its mid-18th-century usage, signified refined or elevated feeling, and it is in this sense that it must be understood in Laurence Sterne’s Sentimental Journey (1768). Richardson’s Pamela (1740) and Rousseau’s Nouvelle Héloïse (1761) are sentimental in that they exhibit a passionate attachment between the sexes that rises above the merely physical. The vogue of the sentimental love novel was one of the features of the Romantic movement, and the form maintained a certain moving dignity despite a tendency to excessive emotional posturing. The germs of mawkishness are clearly present in Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1760–67), though offset by a diluted Rabelaisianism and a certain cerebral quality. The debasement by which the term sentimental came to denote a self-indulgence in superficial emotions occurred in the Victorian era, under the influence of sanctimony, religiosity, and a large commercial demand for bourgeois fiction. Sentimental novels of the 19th and 20th centuries are characterized by an invertebrate emotionalism and a deliberately lachrymal appeal. Neither Dickens nor Thackeray was immune to the temptations of sentimentality—as is instanced by their treatment of deathbed scenes. The reported death of Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol (1843) is an example of Dickens’ ability to provoke two tearful responses from the one situation—one of sorrow at a young death, the other of relief at the discovery that the death never occurred. Despite such patches of emotional excess, Dickens cannot really be termed a sentimental novelist. Such a designation must be reserved for writers like Mrs. Henry Wood, the author of East Lynne (1861). That the sentimental novel is capable of appeal even in the Atomic Age is shown by the success of Love Story (1970), by Erich Segal. That this is the work of a Yale professor of classics seems to indicate either that not even intellectualsdisdain sentimental appeal or that tearjerking is a process to be indulged in coldly and even cynically. Stock emotions are always easily aroused through stock devices, but both the aim and the technique are generally eschewed by serious writers.

Gothic

The first Gothic fiction appeared with works like Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto (1765) and Matthew Gregory Lewis’ Monk (1796), which countered 18th-century “rationalism” with scenes of mystery, horror, and wonder. Gothic (the spelling “Gothick” better conveys the contemporary flavour) was a designation derived from architecture, and it carried—in opposition to the Italianate style of neoclassical building more appropriate to the Augustan Age—connotations of rough and primitive grandeur. The atmosphere of a Gothic novel was expected to be dark, tempestuous, ghostly, full of madness, outrage, superstition, and the spirit of revenge. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which maintains its original popularity and even notoriety, has in overplus the traditional Gothic ingredients, with its weird God-defying experiments, its eldritch shrieks, and, above all, its monster. Edgar Allan Poe developed the Gothic style brilliantly in the United States, and he has been a considerable influence. A good deal of early science fiction, like H.G. Wells’s Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), seems to spring out of the Gothic movement, and the Gothic atmosphere has been seriously cultivated in England in the later novels of Iris Murdoch and in the Gormenghast sequence beginning in 1946 of Mervyn Peake. It is noteworthy that Gothic fiction has always been approached in a spirit of deliberate suspension of the normal canons of taste. Like a circus trick, a piece of Gothic fiction asks to be considered as ingenious entertainment; the pity and terror are not aspects of a cathartic process but transient emotions to be, somewhat perversely, enjoyed for their own sake.

Psychological

The psychological novel first appeared in 17th-century France, with Madame de La Fayette’s Princesse de Clèves (1678), and the category was consolidated by works like the Abbé Prévost’s Manon Lescaut (1731) in the century following. More primitive fiction had been characterized by a proliferation of action and incidental characters; the psychological novel limited itself to a few characters whose motives for action could be examined and analyzed. In England, the psychological novel did not appear until the Victorian era, when George Eliot became its first great exponent. It has been assumed since then that the serious novelist’s prime concern is the workings of the human mind, and hence much of the greatest fiction must be termed psychological. Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment deals less with the ethical significance of a murder than with the soul of the murderer; Flaubert’s interest in Emma Bovary has less to do with the consequences of her mode of life in terms of nemesic logic than with the patterns of her mind; in Anna Karenina, Tolstoy presents a large-scale obsessive study of feminine psychology that is almost excruciating in its relentless probing. The novels of Henry James are psychological in that the crucial events occur in the souls of the protagonists, and it was perhaps James more than any serious novelist before or since who convinced frivolous novel-readers that the “psychological approach” guarantees a lack of action and excitement.

The theories of Sigmund Freud are credited as the source of the psychoanalytical novel. Freud was anticipated, however, by Shakespeare (in, for example, his treatment of Lady Macbeth’s somnambulistic guilt). Two 20th-century novelists of great psychological insight—Joyce and Nabokov—professed a disdain for Freud. To write a novel with close attention to the Freudian or Jungian techniques of analysis does not necessarily produce new prodigies of psychological revelation; Oedipus and Electra complexes have become commonplaces of superficial novels and films. The great disclosures about human motivation have been achieved more by the intuition and introspection of novelists and dramatists than by the more systematic work of the clinicians.

The novel of manners

To make fiction out of the observation of social behaviour is sometimes regarded as less worthy than to produce novels that excavate the human mind. And yet the social gestures known as manners, however superficial they appear to be, are indices of a collective soul and merit the close attention of the novelist and reader alike. The works of Jane Austen concern themselves almost exclusively with the social surface of a fairly narrow world, and yet she has never been accused of a lack of profundity. A society in which behaviour is codified, language restricted to impersonal formulas, and the expression of feeling muted, is the province of the novel of manners, and such fiction may be produced as readily in the 20th century as in the era of Fanny Burney or Jane Austen. Such novels as Evelyn Waugh’s Handful of Dust (1934) depend on the exact notation of the manners of a closed society, and personal tragedies are a mere temporary disturbance of collective order. Even Waugh’s trilogySword of Honour is as much concerned with the minutiae of surface behaviour in an army, a very closed society, as with the causes for which that army fights. H.H. Munro (“Saki”), in The Unbearable Bassington (1912), an exquisite novel of manners, says more of the nature of Edwardian society than many a more earnest work. It is conceivable that one of the novelist’s duties to posterity is to inform it of the surface quality of the society that produced him; the great psychological profundities are eternal, manners are ephemeral and have to be caught. Finally, the novel of manners may be taken as an artistic symbol of a social order that feels itself to be secure.

Epistolary

The novels of Samuel Richardson arose out of his pedagogic vocation, which arose out of his trade of printer—the compilation of manuals of letter-writing technique for young ladies. His age regarded letter writing as an art on which could be expended the literary care appropriate to the essay or to fiction, and, for Richardson, the creation of epistolary novels entailed a mere step from the actual world into that of the imagination. His Pamela (1740) and Clarissa (1748) won phenomenal success and were imitated all over Europe, and the epistolary novel—with its free outpouring of the heart—was an aspect of early romanticism. In the 19th century, when the letter-writing art had not yet fallen into desuetude, it was possible for Wilkie Collins to tell the mystery story of The Moonstone (1868) in the form of an exchange of letters, but it would be hard to conceive of a detective novel using such a device in the 20th century, when the well-wrought letter is considered artificial. Attempts to revive the form have not been successful, and Christopher Isherwood’sMeeting by the River (1967), which has a profoundly serious theme of religious conversion, seems to fail because of the excessive informality and chattiness of the letters in which the story is told. The 20th century’s substitute for the long letter is the transcribed tape recording—more, as Beckett’s playKrapp’s Last Tape indicates, a device for expressing alienation than a tool of dialectic. But it shares with the Richardsonian epistle the power of seeming to grant direct communication with a fictional character, with no apparent intervention on the part of the true author.

Pastoral

Fiction that presents rural life as an idyllic condition, with exquisitely clean shepherdesses and sheep immune to foot-rot, is of very ancient descent. Longus’Daphnis and Chloe, written in Greek in the 2nd or 3rd century ce, was the remote progenitor of such Elizabethan pastoral romances as Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia (1590) and Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde (1590), the source book for Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The Paul et Virginie of Bernardin de St. Pierre (1787), which was immensely popular in its day, seems to spring less from the pastoral utopian convention than from the dawning Romanticism that saw in a state of nature only goodness and innocence. Still, the image of a rural Eden is a persistent one in Western culture, whatever the philosophy behind it, and there are elements of this vision even in D.H. Lawrence’s Rainbow (1915) and, however improbable this may seem, in his Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). The more realistic and ironic pictures of the pastoral life, with poverty and pig dung, beginning with George Crabbe’s late-18th-century narrative poems, continuing in George Eliot, reaching sour fruition in Thomas Hardy, are usually the work of people who know the country well, while the rural idyll is properly a townsman’s dream. The increasing stresses of urban life make the country vision a theme still available to serious fiction, as even a work as sophisticated as Saul Bellow’s Herzog (1964) seems to show. But, since Stella Gibbons’ satireCold Comfort Farm (1932), it has been difficult for any British novelist to take seriously pastoral lyricism.

Apprenticeship

The bildungsroman, a type of novel about upbringing and education, seems to have its beginnings in Goethe’s work, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1796), which is about the processes by which a sensitive soul discovers its identity and its role in the big world. A story of the emergence of a personality and a talent, with its implicit motifs of struggle, conflict, suffering, and success, has an inevitable appeal for the novelist; many first novels are autobiographical and attempt to generalize the author’s own adolescent experiences into a kind of universal symbol of the growing and learning processes. Charles Dickens embodies a whole bildungsroman in works like David Copperfield (1850) and Great Expectations (1861), but allows the emerged ego of the hero to be absorbed into the adult world, so that he is the character that is least remembered. H.G. Wells, influenced by Dickens but vitally concerned with education because of his commitment to socialist or utopian programs, looks at the agonies of the growing process from the viewpoint of an achieved utopia in The Dream (1924) and, in Joan and Peter (1918), concentrates on the search for the right modes of apprenticeship to the complexities of modern life.

The school story established itself in England as a form capable of popularization in children’s magazines, chiefly because of the glamour of elite systems of education as first shown in Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown’s School Days (1857), which is set at Rugby. In France, Le Grand Meaulnes (1913) of Alain-Fournier is the great exemplar of the school novel. The studies of struggling youth presented by Hermann Hesse became, after his death in 1962, part of an American campus cult indicating the desire of the serious young to find literary symbols for their own growing problems.

Samuel Butler’s Way of All Flesh, which was written by 1885 but not published until 1903, remains one of the greatest examples of the modern bildungsroman; philosophical and polemic as well as moving and comic, it presents the struggle of a growing soul to further, all unconsciously, the aims of evolution, and is a devastating indictment of Victorian paternal tyranny. But probably James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), which portrays the struggle of the nascent artistic temperament to overcome the repressions of family, state, and church, is the unsurpassable model of the form in the 20th century. That the learning novel may go beyond what is narrowly regarded as education is shown in two remarkable works of the 1950s—William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1955), which deals with the discovery of evil by a group of shipwrecked middle-class boys brought up in the liberal tradition, and J.D. Salinger’sCatcher in the Rye (1951), which concerns the attempts of an adolescent American to come to terms with the adult world in a series of brief encounters, ending with his failure and his ensuing mental illness.

Roman à clef

Real, as opposed to imaginary, human life provides so much ready-made material for the novelist that it is not surprising to find in many novels a mere thinly disguised and minimally reorganized representation of actuality. When, for the fullest appreciation of a work of fiction, it is necessary for the reader to consult the real-life personages and events that inspired it, then the work is a roman à clef, a novel that needs a key. In a general sense, every work of literary art requires a key or clue to the artist’s preoccupations (the jail in Dickens; the mysterious tyrants in Kafka, both leading back to the author’s own father), but the true roman à clef is more particular in its disguised references. Chaucer’s “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” has puzzling naturalistic details that can be cleared up only by referring the poem to an assassination plot in which the Earl of Bolingbroke was involved. Swift’s Tale of a Tub (1704), Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel (1681), and Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945) make total sense only when their hidden historical content is disclosed. These, of course, are not true novels, but they serve to indicate a literary purpose that is not primarily aesthetic. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod requires a knowledge of the author’s personal enmities, and to understand Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point fully one must know, for instance, that the character of Mark Rampion is D.H. Lawrence himself and that of Denis Burlap is the critic John Middleton Murry. Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu becomes a richer literary experience when the author’s social milieu is explored, and Joyce’s Finnegans Wake has so many personal references that it may be called the most massive roman à clef ever written. The more important the clef becomes to full understanding, the closer the work has come to a special kind of didacticism. When it is dangerous to expose the truth directly, then the novel or narrative poem may present it obliquely. But the ultimate vitality of the work will depend on those elements in it that require no key.

Antinovel

The movement away from the traditional novel form in France in the form of the nouveau roman tends to an ideal that may be called the antinovel—a work of the fictional imagination that ignores such properties as plot, dialogue, human interest. It is impossible, however, for a human creator to create a work of art that is completely inhuman. Contemporary French writers like Alain Robbe-Grillet in Jealousy (1957), Nathalie Sarraute in Tropisms (1939) and The Planetarium (1959), and Michel Butor in Passing Time (1957) and Degrees (1960) wish mainly to remove the pathetic fallacy from fiction, in which the universe, which is indifferent to man, is made to throw back radar reflections of man’s own emotions. Individual character is not important, and consciousness dissolves into sheer “perception.” Even time is reversible, since perceptions have nothing to do with chronology, and, as Butor’s Passing Time shows, memories can be lived backward in this sort of novel. Ultimately, the very appearance of the novel—traditionally a model of the temporal treadmill—must change; it will not be obligatory to start at page 1 and work through to the end; a novel can be entered at any point, like an encyclopaedia.

The two terms most heard in connection with the French antinovel are chosisme and tropisme. The first, with which Robbe-Grillet is chiefly associated, relates to the novelist’s concern with things in themselves, not things as human symbols or metaphors. The second, which provided a title for Nathalie Sarraute’s early novel, denotes the response of the human mind to external stimuli—a response that is general and unmodified by the apparatus of “character.” It is things, the furniture of the universe, that are particular and variable; the multiplicity of human observers melts into an undifferentiable mode of response. Needless to say, there is nothing new in this epistemology as applied to the novel. It is present in Laurence Sterne (in whom French novelists have always been interested), as also in Virginia Woolf.

Such British practitioners of the antinovel as Christine Brooke-Rose and Rayner Heppenstall (both French scholars, incidentally) are more empirical than their French counterparts. They object mainly to the falsification of the external world that was imposed on the traditional novel by the exigencies of plot and character, and they insist on notating the minutiae of the surface of life, concentrating in an unhurried fashion on every detail of its texture. A work like Heppenstall’s Connecting Door (1962), in which the narrator-hero does not even possess a name, is totally unconcerned with action but very interested in buildings, streets, and the sound of music. This is properly a fresh approach to the materials of the traditional novel rather than a total liberation from it. Such innovations as are found in the nouveau roman can best show their value in their influence on traditional novelists, who may be persuaded to observe more closely and be wary of the seductions of swift action, contrived relationships, and neat resolutions.

Cult, or coterie, novels

The novel, unlike the poem, is a commercial commodity, and it lends itself less than the materials of literary magazines to that specialized appeal called coterie, intellectual or elitist. It sometimes happens that books directed at highly cultivated audiences—like Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, and Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood (1936)—achieve a wider response, sometimes because of their daring in the exploitation of sex or obscenity, more often because of a vitality shared with more demotic fiction. The duplicated typescript or the subsidized periodical, rather than the commercially produced book, is the communication medium for the truly hermetic novel.

The novel that achieves commercial publication but whose limited appeal precludes large financial success can frequently become the object of cult adulation. In the period since World War II, especially in the United States, such cults can have large memberships. The cultists are usually students (who, in an era of mass education, form a sizable percentage of the total population of the United States), or fringes of youth sharing the student ethos, and the novels chosen for cult devotion relate to the social or philosophical needs of the readers. The fairy stories of Tolkien, The Lord of the Flies of Golding, the science fiction of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., have, for a greater or lesser time, satisfied a hunger for myth, symbols, and heterodox ideas, to be replaced with surprising speed by other books. The George Orwell cult among the young was followed by a bitter reaction against Orwell’s own alleged reactionary tendencies, and such a violent cycle of adoration and detestation is typical of literary cults. Adult cultists tend, like young ones, to be centred in universities, from which they circulate newsletters on Finnegans Wake, Anthony Powell’s Music of Time sequence, and the works of Evelyn Waugh. Occasionally new public attention becomes focussed on a neglected author through his being chosen as a cult object. This happened when the novellas of Ronald Firbank, the anonymous comic novel Augustus Carp, Esq., and G.V. Desani’s All About Mr. Hatterr got back into print because of the urging of minority devotees. Despite attempts to woo a larger public to read it, Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano obstinately remained a cult book, while the cultists performed their office of keeping the work alive until such time as popular taste should become sufficiently enlightened to appreciate it.

Detective, mystery, thriller

The terms detective story, mystery, and thriller tend to be employed interchangeably. The detective story thrills the reader with mysterious crimes, usually of a violent nature, and puzzles his reason until their motivation and their perpetrator are, through some triumph of logic, uncovered. The detective story and mystery are in fact synonymous, but the thriller frequently purveys adventurous frissons without mysteries, like the spy stories of Ian Fleming, for example, but not like the spy stories of Len Deighton, which have a bracing element of mystery and detection. The detective novel began as a respectable branch of literature with works like Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841), Dickens’ unfinished Edwin Drood (1870), and Wilkie Collins’ Moonstone (1868) and Woman in White (1860). With the coming of the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, at the beginning of the 20th century, the form became a kind of infraliterary subspecies, despite the intellectual brilliance of Holmes’s detective work and the high literacy of Doyle’s writing. Literary men like G.K. Chesterton practiced the form on the margin, and dons read thrillers furtively or composed them pseudonymously (e.g.,J.I.M. Stewart, reader in English literature at Oxford, wrote as “Michael Innes”). Even the British poet laureate, C. Day Lewis, subsidized his verse through writing detective novels as “Nicholas Blake.” Dorothy L. Sayers, another Oxford scholar, appeared to atone for a highly successful career as a mystery writer by turning to religious drama and the translating of Dante, as well as by making her last mystery novel—Gaudy Night (1935)—a highly literary, even pedantic, confection.

Such practitioners as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Chandler, to say nothing of the highly commercial Edgar Wallace and Mickey Spillane, have given much pleasure and offended only the most exalted literary canons. The fearless and intelligent amateur detective, or private investigator, or police officer has become a typical hero of the modern age. And those qualities that good mystery or thriller writing calls for are not to be despised, since they include economy, skillful sustention of suspense, and very artful plotting.

The mystery novel was superseded in popularity by the novel of espionage, which achieved a large vogue with the James Bond series of Ian Fleming. Something of its spirit, if not its sadism and eroticism, had already appeared in books like John Buchan’s Thirty-nine Steps and the “entertainments” of Graham Greene, as well as in the admirable novels of intrigue written by Eric Ambler. Fleming had numerous imitators, as well as a more than worthy successor in Len Deighton. The novels of John Le Carré found a wide audience despite their emphasis on the less glamorous, often even squalid aspects of international espionage; his works include The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) and Smiley’s People (1980).

Western

Man’s concern with taming wild land, or advancing frontiers, or finding therapy in reversion from the civilized life to the atavistic is well reflected in adventure novels, beginning with James Fenimore Cooper’s novels of the American frontier The Pioneers (1823) and The Last of the Mohicans (1826). As the 19th century advanced, and new tracts of America were opened up, a large body of fiction came out of the men who were involved in pioneering adventure. Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872) may be called a frontier classic. Bret Harte wrote shorter fiction, like “The Luck of Roaring Camp” (1868), but helped to spread an interest in frontier writing to Europe, where the cult of what may be termed the western novel is as powerful as in America. Owen Wister’s Virginian (1902), Andy Adams’ near-documentary Log of a Cowboy (1903), Emerson Hough’s Covered Wagon (1922), from which the first important western film was made in 1923, Hamlin Garland’s Son of the Middle Border (1917), and O.E. Rölvaag’s Giants in the Earth (1927) all helped to make the form popular, but it is to Zane Grey—who wrote more than 50 western novels—that lovers of frontier myth have accorded the greatest devotion. The western is now thought of predominantly as a cinematic form, but it arose out of literature. Other frontier fiction has come from another New World, the antipodes—South Africa as well as the Australian outback—but the American West has provided the best mythology, and it is still capable of literary treatment. Sophisticated literary devices may be grafted onto the western—surrealistic fantasy or parallels to Shakespeare or to the ancient classics—but the peculiar and perennial appeal of the western lies in its ethical simplicity, the frequent violence, the desperate attempt to maintain minimal civilized order, as well as the stark, near-epic figures from true western history, such as Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, Annie Oakley, and Jesse James.

The best seller

A distinction should be made between novels whose high sales are an accolade bestowed on literary merit and novels that aim less at aesthetic worth than at profits. The works of Charles Dickens were best sellers in their day, but good sales continue, testifying to a vitality that was not purely ephemeral. On the other hand, many best-selling novels have a vogue that is destined not to outlast the time when they were produced. It is a characteristic of this kind of best seller that the writing is less interesting than the content, and that the content itself has a kind of journalistic oversimplification that appeals to unsophisticated minds. The United States is the primary home of the commercial novel whose high sales accrue from careful, and sometimes cold-blooded, planning. A novel in which a topical subject—such as the Mafia, or corruption in government, or the election of a new pope, or a spate of aircraft accidents, or the censorship of an erotic book—is treated with factual thoroughness, garnished with sex, enlivened by quarrels, fights, and marital infidelities, presented in nonliterary prose, and given lavish promotion by its publisher may well become a best seller. It is also likely to be almost entirely forgotten a year or so after its publication. The factual element in the novel seems to be necessary to make the reader feel that he is being educated as well as diverted. Indeed, the conditions for the highest sales seem to include the reconciliation of the pornographic and the didactic.

A novel with genuine aesthetic vitality often sells more than the most-vaunted best seller, but the sales are more likely to be spread over decades and even centuries rather than mere weeks and months. The author of such a book may, in time, enrich others, but he is unlikely himself to attain the opulence of writers of best sellers such as Harold Robbins or Irving Wallace.

Fantasy and prophecy

The term science fiction is a loose one, and it is often made to include fantastic and prophetic books that make no reference to the potentialities of science and technology for changing human life. Nevertheless, a novel like Keith Roberts’ Pavane (1969), which has as a premise the conquest of England by Spain in 1588, and the consequent suppression rather than development of free Protestant intellectual inquiry, is called science fiction, though such terms as “fiction of hypothesis” and “time fantasy” would be more fitting. The imaginative novelist is entitled to remake the existing world or present possible future worlds, and a large corpus of fiction devoted to such speculative visions has been produced in the last hundred years, more of it based on metaphysicalhypotheses than on scientific marvels. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells pioneered what may be properly termed science fiction, mainly to an end of diversion. Since the days of Wells’s Time Machine (1895) and Invisible Man (1897), the fiction of hypothesis has frequently had a strong didactic aim, often concerned with opposing the very utopianism that Wells—mainly in his nonfictional works—built on the potentialities of socialism and technology. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) showed how dangerous utopianism could be, since the desire for social stability might condone conditioning techniques that would destroy the fundamental human right to make free choices. Toward the end of his life Huxley produced a cautious utopian vision in Island (1962), but the dystopian horrors of his earlier novel and of his Ape and Essence (1948) remain more convincing. Orwell’sNineteen Eighty-four (1949) showed a world in which a tyrannic unity is imposed by a collective solipsism, and contradictions are liquidated through the constant revision of history that the controlling party decrees. Anthony Burgess’ Clockwork Orange (1962) and Wanting Seed (1962) portray ghastly futures that extrapolate, respectively, philosophies of crime control and population control out of present-day tendencies that are only potentially dangerous.

A large number of writers practice prophetic fantasy with considerable literary skill and careful factual preparation—Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Ray Bradbury, Italo Calvino, Isaac Asimov, J.G. Ballard, to name only a few—and novelists whose distinction lies mainly in more traditional fields have attempted the occasional piece of future-fiction, as in the case of L.P. Hartley with his Facial Justice (1961) and Evelyn Waugh in Love Among the Ruins (1953). The fantasist who fantasizes without prophetic or warning intent is rarer, but works such as Nabokov’s Ada, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and Christine Brooke-Rose’s Out (1964) represent legitimate and heartening stretching of the imagination, assurances that the novelist has the right to create worlds, as well as characters, of his own. However, the dystopian novel can have a salutary influence on society, actively correcting regressive or illiberal tendencies, and Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-four can be cherished as great didactic landmarks, not just as works of literary art.

Proletarian

The novel that, like Dickens’ Hard Times (1854), presents the lives of workingmen or other members of the lower orders is not necessarily an example of proletarian fiction. The category properly springs out of direct experience of proletarian life and is not available to writers whose background is bourgeois or aristocratic. Consequently, William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1794) and Robert Bage’s Hermsprong (1796), although, like Hard Times, sympathetic to the lot of the oppressed worker, are more concerned with the imposition of reform from above than with revolution from within, and the proletarian novel is essentially an intended device of revolution. The Russian Maxim Gorky, with works such as Foma Gordeyev (1900) and Mother (1907), as well as numerous short stories portraying the bitterness of poverty and unemployment (in fact, the pseudonym Gorky means “Bitter”), may be taken as an exemplary proletarian writer. The United States has produced a rich crop of working-class fiction. Such socialist writers as Jack London, Upton Sinclair, John Dos Passos, and Edward Dahlberg, however, did not witness the triumph of the workers’ revolution in their own country, as Gorky did in his, and it is the fate of the American proletarian novelist, through literary success, either to join the class he once dreamed of overthrowing or to become anarchic and frustrated. In the Soviet Union the proletarian novel was doomed to disappear in the form that Gorky knew, for it is the essence of the revolutionary novel to possess vitality and validity only when written under capitalist “tyranny.”

England has produced its share of working-class novelists exuding bitterness, such as Alan Sillitoe, with his Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958), but conditions apt for revolution have not existed in Britain for more than a century. British novelists who emerged after World War II, such as John Braine (Room at the Top), Keith Waterhouse (There Is a Happy Land), Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim), and Stan Barstow (A Kind of Loving), provided a solution to working-class frustration in a fluid system of class promotion: revolution is an inadmissible dream. Generally speaking, in the novel, which is preoccupied with individuals rather than with groups, it is difficult to make the generalized political statements that are meat and drink to the revolutionary propagandist.

Other types

The categories briefly discussed above are among the most common fictional forms. Theoretically there is no limit to the number available, since changing social patterns provide fresh subjects and fresh taxonomies, and new metaphysical and psychological doctrines may beget new fictional approaches to both content and technique.

Other categories of fictional art include the erotic novel (which may or may not be pornographic), the satirical novel, the farcical novel, the novel for or about children, the theological novel, the allegorical novel, and so on. Types of fiction no longer practiced, since their real-life referents no longer exist, include the colonial novel—such as E.M. Forster’s Passage to India (1924), Henri Fauconnier’s Malaisie (1930), and the African sequence of Joyce Cary—and space fantasy like H.G. Wells’s First Men in the Moon (1901). One may read examples of a departed category with pleasure and profit, but the category can no longer yield more than parody or pastiche.

New kinds of fiction fill in the gaps, like the novel of negritude, the structuralist novel (following the linguistic sociologists and anthropologists), the homosexual novel, the novel of drug hallucination, and so on. So long as human society continues to exist, the novel will exist as its mirror, an infinitude of artistic images reflecting an infinitude of life patterns.

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