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A novel is a long narrative, normally in prose, which describes fictional characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story.

The genre has also been described as possessing "a continuous and comprehensive history of about two thousand years".<ref name="The True Story of the Novel">Margaret Anne Doody, The True Story of the Novel. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996, rept. 1997, p. 1. Retrieved 25 April 2014.</ref> This view sees the novel's origins in Classical Greece and Rome, medieval, early modern romance, and the tradition of the novella. The latter, an Italian word used to describe short stories, supplied the present generic English term in the 18th century. Ian Watt, however, in The Rise of the Novel (1957) suggests that the novel first came into being in the early 18th century,

Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is frequently cited as the first significant European novelist of the modern era; the first part of Don Quixote was published in 1605.<ref>Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Kathleen Kuiper, ed. 1995. Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.</ref>

The romance is a closely related long prose narrative. Walter Scott defined it as "a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents", whereas in the novel "the events are accommodated to the ordinary train of human events and the modern state of society".<ref>"Essay on Romance", Prose Works volume vi, p.129, quoted in "Introduction" to Walter Scott's Quentin Durward, ed. Susan Maning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, p.xxv. Romance should not be confused with harlequin romance.</ref> However, many romances, including the historical romances of Scott,<ref>"Introduction" to Walter Scott's Quentin Durward, ed. Susan Maning, pp.xxv-xxvii.</ref> Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights<ref name="Moers, Ellen 1978">Moers, Ellen. Literary Women: The Great Writers[1976] (London: The Women’s Press, 1978)</ref> and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick,<ref>[1] Robert McCrum, "The Hundred best novels: Moby Dick", The Observer, Sunday 12 January 2014.</ref> are also frequently called novels, and Scott describes romance as a "kindred term". Romance, as defined here, should not be confused with the genre fiction love romance or romance novel. Other European languages do not distinguish between romance and novel: "a novel is le roman, der Roman, il romanzo."<ref name="Doody 1996, p. 15">Doody (1996), p. 15.</ref>

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  

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