Portal:Novels

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A novel is a long prose narrative written by a novelist that describes fictional characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story. The genre has historical roots in antiquity and the fields of medieval and early modern romance and in 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.

Further definition of the genre is historically difficult. The construction of the narrative, the plot, the relation to reality, the characterization, and the use of language are usually discussed to show a novel's artistic merits. Most of these requirements were introduced to literary prose in the 16th and 17th centuries, in order to give fiction a justification outside the field of factual history.

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Selected article

Ernest Hemingway's 1923 passport photo taken a year before the publication of "Indian Camp"
"Indian Camp" is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway (pictured). The story was first published in 1924 in Ford Madox Ford's literary magazine Transatlantic Review in Paris and republished by Boni & Liveright in 1925 in the American edition of Hemingway's first volume of short stories In Our Time. The first of Hemingway's stories to feature the semi-autobiographical character Nick Adams—a child in this story—"Indian Camp" is told from his point-of-view. In the story, Nick Adams' father, a country doctor, has been summoned to an Indian camp to deliver a baby. At the camp, the father is forced to perform an emergency caesarean section using a jack-knife, with Nick as his assistant. Afterward, the woman's husband is discovered dead, having fatally slit his throat during the operation. The story is important because it shows the emergence of Hemingway's understated style and use of counterpoint. An initiation story, "Indian Camp" includes themes such as childbirth and fear of death, which permeate much of Hemingway's subsequent work. When the story was published, the quality of writing was noted and praised; scholars consider "Indian Camp" an important story in the Hemingway canon.

Selected novel quote

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  • Incredulity doesn't kill curiosity; it encourages it. Though distrustful of logical chains of ideas, I loved the polyphony of ideas. As long as you don't believe in them, the collision of two ideas -- both false -- can create a pleasing interval, a kind of diabolus in musica. I had no respect for some ideas people were willing to stake their lives on, but two or three ideas that I did not respect might still make a nice melody. Or have a good beat, and if it was jazz, all the better.

Foucault's Pendulum


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