novel, in modern literary usage, a sustained work of prose fiction a volume or more in length. It is distinguished from the short story and the fictional sketch, which are necessarily brief. Although the novel has a place in the literatures of all nations, this article concentrates on the evolution of the novel in England, France, Russia and the Soviet Union, and the United States. Nonetheless, changes in technology in the 20th cent. made the literature of different cultures widely available. The international readership claimed by such authors as Africa's Chinua Achebe, India's R. K. Narayan, Japan's Yukio Mishima, and Latin America's Jorge Luis Borges is only a small indication of the variety of novels available to an ever-widening audience.
See also mystery; science fiction.
Sections in this article:
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Literature: General