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Introduction

A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, normally in prose, which is typically published as a book.

The genre has been described as having "a continuous and comprehensive history of about two thousand years", with its origins in classical Greece and Rome, in medieval and early modern romance, and in the tradition of the novella. The latter, an Italian word for a short story to distinguish it from a novel, has been used in English since the 18th century for a work that falls somewhere in between. Ian Watt, in The Rise of the Novel, suggested in 1957 that the novel first came into being in the early 18th century.

Selected article

Nora Roberts
Irish Thoroughbred, the debut novel by American author Nora Roberts (pictured), was first published in January 1981 as a category romance. Like other category romances, it was less than 200 pages and was intended to be on sale for only one month. It proved so popular that it was repackaged as a stand-alone romance and reprinted multiple times. Roberts drew on her Irish heritage to create an Irish heroine, Adelia "Dee" Cunnane. In the novel, Dee moves to the United States, where her sick uncle arranges for her to marry his employer, wealthy American horsebreeder Travis Grant. Although the early part of their relationship is marked by frequent arguments, by the end of the story Travis and Dee reconcile. According to one critic, the couple's transformation from adversaries to a loving married couple is one of many formulaic elements in the book. Although the protagonists adhered to many stereotypes common to 1980s romance novels, Roberts's heroine is more independent and feisty than most others of the time. Roberts wrote two sequels, Irish Rebel and Irish Rose.

Selected novel quote

150
  • 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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