Portal:Novels

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The Novels Portal

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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". 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.

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". However, many romances, including the historical romances of Scott, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, 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."

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Selected article

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Boston edition
Uncle Tom's Cabin is American author Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel about the evils of slavery. Published in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on the world's view of African-Americans and slavery, so much so in the latter case that people have said the book laid the groundwork for the American Civil War. The novel focuses on the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering Black slave around whose life the stories of other characters—both fellow slaves and slave owners—revolve. The sentimental novel depicts the harsh reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love and faith can overcome something as evil as enslavement of fellow human beings. Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of the 19th century, following the Bible. The book's impact was so great that when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe at the start of the American Civil War, Lincoln is often quoted as having declared, "So this is the little lady who made this big war." The book also helped create a number of common stereotypes about Blacks, many of which endure to this day. These include the affectionate, dark-skinned mammy; the Pickaninny stereotype of black children; and the Uncle Tom, or dutiful, long-suffering servant faithful to his white master or mistress. In recent years, the negative associations with Uncle Tom's Cabin have to a large degree overshadowed the historical impact of the book as a "vital antislavery tool."

Selected novel quote

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  • ‘What’s your name?’ he asked.
    ‘Wendy Moira Angela Darling,’ she replied with some satisfaction. ‘What is your name?’
    ‘Peter Pan.’
    She was already sure that he must be Peter, but it did seem a comparatively short name.
    ‘Is that all?’
    ‘Yes,’ he said rather sharply. He felt for the first time that it was a shortish name.
    ‘I’m so sorry,’ said Wendy Moira Angela.
    ‘It doesn’t matter,’ Peter gulped.
    She asked where he lived.
    ‘Second to the right,’ said Peter, ‘and then straight on till morning.’
    ‘What a funny address!’
    Peter had a sinking feeling. For the first time he felt that perhaps it was a funny address.
    “A moment after the fairy’s entrance the window was blow open by the breathing of the little stars, and Peter dropped in.”

Peter Pan


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