[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Modern novel

Parentes: modern - novel

Related: literature - epistolary novel (introduced realism in the novel) - picaresque novel - psychological novel - "histories," "lives," "memoirs," "voyages," "travels" and "adventures" - realism in literature

Connoisseurs: Olaf Simons - Ian Watt - Colin Wilson

Titles: Don Quixote (1605) - Robinson Crusoe (1719) - Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) - Le Rouge et le Noir (1831) - Madame Bovary (1857)

Preceded by: romance

Disambiguation: What is the difference between the novel and the modern novel? I want to distinguish between works of literature of Roman and Greek antiquity such as The Golden Ass: Or Metamorphoses which could be considered a novel because of their formal characteristics, but which can only be labeled 'novels' with hindsight. For the purpose of this site the novel and/or modern novel came into being in the second half of the 2nd millenium (when the term novel was introduced) and coincides with the invention of the printing press, and thus the advent of modernity itself. As for the similarities between the 'novel' and the 'modern novel' it would appear that both empasize realism to the detriment of fantasy. [Jan 2007]

The modern novel introduced realism in fiction, at a time when much fiction was marked by fantasy (romances such Amadís de Gaula, Le Morte d'Arthur). The devices used to introduce realism were the epistolary technique (Pamela), true adventure (Crusoe) and psychological development of the characters (Don Quixote, Madame Bovary, The Red and the Black).

Ian Watt reads Robinson Crusoe as the first modern "novel" and interprets the rise of the modern novel of realism as an achievement of English literature, owed to a number of factors from early capitalism to the development of the modern individual.

It is ironic that Cervantes's Don Quixote is described as the first novel (an extended work of prose fiction, written in "vulgar Latin", i.e. the people's language), the first modern novel (due to its focus on the psychological evolution of a single character) and the first postmodern novel (due of its use of self-reflexivity in the second volume).

"The modern novel is born with Richardson, Fielding, Rousseau and Prévost. It then procedes to the The Monk and Ann Radcliffe" --Marquis de Sade, 1800.

Before the advent of cheap paper (pulp and steam presses) and literacy, novels were for the happy few who could afford them and who were able to read. It wasn't until after the Industrial Revolution that the modern novel developed its audience via serial fiction.


The first modern novel has generally been ascribed to a series of picaresque novels, most famously Don Quixote (1605) by Cervantes.

Later candidates to the title "modern novel" include Pamela (1740) by Richardson, Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen, The Red and the Black (1831) by Stendhal, and Madame Bovary (1857) by Gustave Flaubert. Because of the attention given in these novels to the psychological development of the main characters, these novels are also called the first psychological novels. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_novel [Apr 2006]

The Red and the Black (1831) - Stendhal

The Red and the Black (1831) - Stendhal, considered by some to be the first modern novel

See Stendhal

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications