Short Definition

Novels are long narrative stories. It has roots in the medieval and early modern romance. A further definition might be difficult as criteria for the definition can be chosen differently. Novels can be both literature and trivial stories. To be classified as literature novels have to have an artful character. Therefore, the plot, the characters and the language must be outstanding.

Five requirements must be fulfilled to classify a text to be a novel:

1. A fictional narrative
The words fictional and narrative are used to distinguish novels from other stories and histories. Novels describe personal, social and political circumstances whereas histories are written mostly for didactic purposes.

2. Distinct literary prose
Prose is the standard of modern novel as it has numerous advantages over the verse. It is easy to translate as it has an informal language.

3. Paper and print as media requirements
Originally, a cheap carrier of media was required for novels. To remember the complex stories, paper and print were needed. When both, paper and print were available, the printing of novels started and books were circulated also among private households.

4. Special content
Novels are closely connected with fashions, personal opinions and feelings. Love became a very common focus of novel writers.

5. Length and depiction of life
It’s very much argued by experts how long a novel hast to be. They coincided that a novel is the longest of all narrative prose. Normally, a novel covers all aspects of the daily life.