Italian "novella", "new") is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. Until the eighteenth century, the word referred specifically to short fictions of love and intrigue as opposed to romances, which were epic-length works about love and adventure. Novels are generally between 60,000-200,000 words, or 300-1,300 pages, in length. During the 18th century the novel adopted features of the old romance and became one of the major literary genres. It is today defined mostly by its ability to become the object of literary criticism demanding artistic merit and a specific 'literary' styleor specific literary styles.
The English novel was for the most the product of the middle class. It called attention to middle class ideas and sensibilities. The protagonist is no more a refinied aristokrat dealing with extraordinally circumstances, but a borgeois trying to find his or her place in the society.
“In 18th century English literature developed several types of novel: novel of adventures, best exemplified by D.Defoes “Robinson Crusoe”; satirical novel,its finest exponent being J.Swift with “Gullivers Travels”; picaresque novel, illustrated by Defoes “Moll Flanders”, H.Fieldings “Tom Jones”; epistolary novel, its greatest master being S.Richardson with “Pamella and Clarissa”; sentimental novel, developad by L.Sterne in ”Tristam Shandy”, “A Sentimental Journey”; gothic novel, its first practitioner being H. Walpole with “The Castle of Otranto”; novel of manners, raised to a new level of art by J.Austen in “Pride and Prejudice”; anti-novel, practised by L.Sterne in “Tristram Shandy””.
One meaning of the English word novel has remained stable: "novel" can still signify what is new owing to its "novelty". When it comes to fiction, however, the meaning of the term has changed over time:
- “The period 1200-1750 saw a rise of the novel (originally a short piece of fiction) rivaling the romance (the epic-length performance). This development, which one could describe as the first rise of the novel, occurred across Europe, though only the Spanish and the English went one step further and allowed the word novel (Spanish: novela) to become their regular term for fictional narratives.
- The period 1700-1800 saw the rise of a "new romance" in reaction to the production of potentially scandalous novels. The movement encountered a complex situation in the English market, where the term "new romance" could hardly be ventured, after the novel had done so much to transform taste. The new genre also adopted the name novel: this new novel was a work of new epic proportions, with the effect that the English (and Spanish) eventually needed new word for the original short "novel": The term novella was created to fill the gap in English; "short story" brought a further refinement”.
“The meaning of the term "romance" changed within the same complex process, becoming the word for a love story whether in life or fiction. Other meanings include the musicologist's genre "Romance" of a short and amiable piece, or Romance languages for the languages derived from Latin (French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese)”.
We have traced the literary production of the eighteenth century in many different forms, but it still remains to speak of one of the most important, the novel, which in the modern meaning of the word had its origin not long before 1750. Springing at that time into apparently sudden popularity, it replaced the drama as the predominant form of literature and has continued such ever since. The reasons are not hard to discover. The drama is naturally the most popular literary form in periods like the Elizabethan when the ability (or inclination) to read is not general, when men are dominated by the zest for action, and when cities have become sufficiently large to keep the theaters well filled. It is also the natural form in such a period as that of the Restoration, when literary life centers about a frivolous upper class who demand an easy and social form of entertainment. But the condition is very different when, as in the eighteenth and still more in the nineteenth century, the habit of reading, and some recognition of its educating influence, had spread throughout almost all classes and throughout the country, creating a public far too large, too scattered, and too varied to gain access to the London and provincial theaters or to find all their needs supplied by a somewhat artificial literary form. The novel, on the other hand, gives a much fuller portrayal of life than does the drama, and allows the much more detailed analysis of characters and situations which the modern mind has come more and more to demand.
The novel, which for our present purpose must be taken to include the romance, is, of course, only a particular and highly developed kind of long story, one of the latest members of the family of fiction, or the larger family of narrative, in prose and verse. The medieval romances, for example, included most of the elements of the novel, even, sometimes, psychological analysis; but the romances usually lacked the unity, the complex and careful structure, the thorough portrayal of character, and the serious attention to the real problems of life which in a general way distinguish the modern novel. Much the same is true of the Elizabethan 'novels,' which, besides, were generally short as well as of small intellectual and ethical caliber. During the Restoration period and a little later there began to appear several kinds of works, which perhaps looked more definitely toward the later novel. Banyans religious allegories may likely enough have had a real influence on it, and there were a few English tales and romances of chivalry, and a few more realistic pieces of fiction. “The habit of journal writing and the letters about London life sent by some persons in the city to their friends in the country should also be mentioned. The De Coverly papers in 'The Spectator' approach distinctly toward the novel. They give real presentation of both characters and setting (social life) and lack only connected treatment of the story (of Sir Roger). Defoe's fictions, picaresque tales of adventure, come still closer, but lack the deeper artistic and moral purpose and treatment suggested a moment ago”. The case is not very different with Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels,' which, besides, is primarily a satire. Substantially, therefore, all the materials were now ready, awaiting only the fortunate hand that should arrange and shape them into a real novel. This proved to be the hand of a rather unlikely person, the outwardly commonplace printer, Samuel Richardson.
1.2. JOHNATHAN SWIFT - A GREAT PAMPHLETEER OF HIS
“His doctrine was that virtue is the one thing which deserves love and admiration, and yet that virtue in this hideous chaos of a world involves misery and decay”.
Johnathan Swift is one of the best representatives in English literature of sheer intellectual power, but his character, his aims, his environment, and the circumstances of his life denied to him also literary achievement of the greatest permanent significance. Johnathan Swift (November 30, 1667 October 19, 1745) was an Irish cleric, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, although he is less well known for his poetry. Swift published all of his works under pseudonyms such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier or anonymously. He is also known for being “a master of 2 styles of satire; the Horatian and Juvenalian styles”.
Swift, though of unmixed English descent, related to both Dryden and Robert Herrick, was born in Ireland, in 1667. Brought up in poverty by his widowed mother, he spent the period between his fourteenth and twentieth years recklessly and without distinction at Trinity College, Dublin. From the outbreak attending the Revolution of 1688 he fled to England, where for the greater part of nine years he lived in the country as a sort of secretary to the retired statesman, Sir William Temple, who was his distant relative by marriage. Here he had plenty of time for reading, but the position of dependence and the consciousness that his great though still unformed powers of intellect and of action were rusting away in obscurity undoubtedly did much to increase the natural bitterness of his disposition. As the result of a quarrel he left Temple for a time and took holy orders, and on the death of Temple he returned to Ireland as chaplain to the English Lord Deputy. He was eventually given several small livings and other church positions in and near Dublin, and at one of these, Laracor, he made his home for another nine years. During all this period and later the Miss Esther Johnson whom he has immortalized as 'Stella' holds a prominent place in his life.” A girl of technically gentle birth, she also had been a member of Sir William Temple's household, was infatuated with Swift, and followed him to Ireland. About their intimacy there has always hung a mystery. It has been held that after many years they were secretly married, but this is probably a mistake; the essential fact seems to be that Swift, with characteristic selfishness, was willing to sacrifice any other possible prospects of 'Stella' to his own mere enjoyment o