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Early novels {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Refimprove section |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Refimprove |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Message box|ambox}} }} }} See also: Ancient Greek novel and the Byzantine novel

Paper as the essential carrier: Murasaki Shikibu writing her The Tale of Genji in the early 11th century, 17th-century depiction

Although early forms of the novel are to be found in a number of places, including classical Rome, 10th– and 11th-century Japan, and Elizabethan England, the European novel is often said to have begun with Don Quixote in 1605.<ref name="Merriam-Webster 1995">Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Kathleen Kuiper, ed. 1995. Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.</ref>

Early works of extended fictional prose, or novels, include works in Latin like the Satyricon by Petronius (c. 50 AD), and The Golden Ass by Apuleius (c. 150 AD), works in Sanskrit such as the 6th– or 7th-century Daśakumāracarita by Daṇḍin, and in the 7th-century Kadambari by Banabhatta, the 11th-century Japanese Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, the 12th-century Hayy ibn Yaqdhan (or Philosophus Autodidactus, the 17th-century Latin title) by Ibn Tufail, who wrote in Arabic, the 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus by Ibn al-Nafis, another Arabic novelist, and in Chinese in the 14th-century Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong.

Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji (1010) has been described as the world's first novel<ref>The Tale of Genji. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/581365/The-Tale-of-Genji></ref><ref>The Japanese. Reischauer, Edwin O. Belknap Press. Cambridge, MA 1980. p.49. ISBN 0-674-47178-4.</ref> and shows essentially all the qualities for which Marie de La Fayette's novel La Princesse de Clèves (1678) has been praised: individuality of perception, an interest in character development, and psychological observation.<ref>Identity in Asian Literature edited by Lisbeth Littrup. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1996, p. 3.</ref> Urbanization and the spread of printed books in Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) China led to the evolution of oral storytelling into consciously fictional novels by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 AD). Parallel European developments did not occur for centuries, and awaited the time when the availability of paper allowed for similar opportunities.

By contrast, Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan and Ibn al-Nafis' Theologus Autodidactus are works of didactic philosophy and theology. In this sense, Hayy ibn Yaqdhan would be considered an early example of a philosophical novel,<ref name=Jon>Jon Mcginnis, Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources, p. 284, Hackett Publishing Company, ISBN .</ref><ref name=Attar>Samar Attar, The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment: Ibn Tufayl's Influence on Modern Western Thought, Lexington Books, ISBN .</ref> while Theologus Autodidactus would be considered an early theological novel.<ref name=Meyerhof>Muhsin Mahdi (1974), "The Theologus Autodidactus of Ibn at-Nafis by Max Meyerhof, Joseph Schacht", Journal of the American Oriental Society 94 (2), pp. 232–234.</ref> Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, with its story of a human outcast surviving on an island, is also likely to have influenced Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), because the work was available in an English edition in 1711.<ref>The Improvement of Human Reason, exhibited in the life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan: written in Arabic above 500 Years ago, by Abu Jaafar Ebn Tophail [...] newly translated from the original Arabick, by Simon Ockley (London: W. Bray, 1711).</ref>

Epic poetry exhibits some similarities with the novel, and the Western tradition of the novel reaches back into the field of verse epics, though again not in an unbroken tradition. The epics of Asia, such as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (1300–1000 BC), and Indian epics such as the Ramayana (400 BCE and 200 CE), and Mahabharata (4th century BC) were as unknown in early modern Europe as was the Anglo-Saxon epic of Beowulf (c.750–1000 AD), which was rediscovered in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Other non-European works, such as the Torah, the Koran, and the Bible, are full of stories, and thus have also had a significant influence on the development of prose narratives, and therefore the novel. Classical Greek epics like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (9th or 8th century BC), and those of Ancient Rome, such as Virgil's Aeneid (29–19 BC), were re-discovered by Western scholars in the Middle Ages. Then at the beginning of the 18th century, French prose translations brought Homer's works to a wider public, who accepted them as forerunners of the novel. <ref group = note>Anne Dacier's translations, 1699 and 1708, turned Homer's verses into prose and generated an uproar among European intellectuals, who were surprised by their archaic tone.</ref>

Classical Greek and Roman prose narratives <ref group = note>Good surveys are: John Robert Morgan, Richard Stoneman, Greek fiction: the Greek novel in context (Routledge, 1994), Niklas Holzberg, The ancient novel: an introduction (Routledge, 1995), Gareth L. Schmeling, The Novel in the Ancient World (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 1996) and Tim Whitmarsh (hrsg.) The Cambridge companion to the Greek and Roman novel (Cambridge University Press 2008).</ref> included a didactic strand, with the philosopher Plato's (c.425-c.348 BC) dialogues; a satirical dimension with Petronius' Satyricon; the incredible stories of Lucian of Samosata; and Lucius Apuleius' proto-picaresque The Golden Ass, as well as the heroic romances of the Greeks Heliodorus and Longus. Longus is the author of the famous Greek novel, Daphnis and Chloe (2nd century A.D.).


Novel sections
Intro  Defining the genre  Early novels  Medieval period 1100\u20131500  Renaissance period: 1500-1700  18th century novel  19th century novel  The 20th century and later  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  

Early novels
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