Different Types of Novel
- Realistic Novel:
A fictional attempt to give the effect of realism. This sort of novel is sometimes called a novel of manner. A realistic novel can be characterized by its complex characters with mixed motives that are rooted in social class and operate according to highly developed social structure. The characters in realistic novel interact with other characters and undergo plausible and everyday experiences.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Looking for Alaska by John Green.
A picaresque novel relates the adventures of an eccentric or disreputable hero in episodic form. The genre gets its name from the Spanish word picaro, or “rogue.”
Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (1901), Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749),
A Historical novel is a novel set in a period earlier than that of the writing.
Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, George Eliot’s Romola and Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho!
Epistolary fiction is a popular genre where the narrative is told via a series of documents. The word epistolary comes from Latin where ‘epistola’ means a letter. Letters are the most common basis for epistolary novels but diary entries are also popular
Samuel Richardson’s Pamela and Clarissa, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Bridget Jones’ Diary.
German terms that indicates a growth. This fictional autobiography concerned with the development of the protagonist’s mind, spirit, and characters from childhood to adulthood.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann etc.
Gothic novel includes terror, mystery, horror, thriller, supernatural, doom, death, decay, old haunted buildings with ghosts and so on.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, John William Polidori’s The Vampyre, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole,
An autobiographical novel is a novel based on the life of the author.
Charles Dickens’ David Coppefield, Great Expectations, D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Ralph Ellison ‘s Invisible Man, Maya Angelou’ s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , Virginia Wolfe’s The Light House etc.
- Satirical Novel:
Satire is loosely defined as art that ridicules a specific topic in order to provoke readers into changing their opinion of it. By attacking what they see as human folly, satirists usually imply their own opinions on how the thing being attacked can be improved.
George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travel, Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, Mark Twin’s The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn,
- Allegorical Novel:
An allegory is a story with two levels of meaning- surface meaning and symbolic meaning. The symbolic meaning of an allegory can be political or religious, historical or philosophical.
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress , William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene etc.
- Regional Novel:
A religious novel is a novel that is set against the background of a particular area.
Examples: Novels of Charles Dickens George Eliot etc.
A novella is a short, narrative, prose fiction. As a literary genre, the novella’s origin lay in the early Renaissance literary work of the Italians and the French. As the etymology suggests, novellas originally were news of town and country life worth repeating for amusement and edification.
Examples: Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,
- Detective Fiction:
Detective fiction is a subgenre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator or a detective—either professional or amateur—investigates a crime, often murder.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’ A Study in Scarlet ( Sherlock Holmes), Satyajit Roy’s Sonar Kella (Feluda), G. K. Chesterton’s The Blue Cross (Father Brown), Dr. Nihar Ranjan Gupta’s Kalo Bhramar (Kiriti)
- The Intellectual Novel:
These sort of novelists attempted to explore the intellectual responses of the intelligentia to the world. Characteristically, their novel displays the clash of ideas and intellectual verification of knowledge., value and response, a diminishing faith on the cosmic significance of existence, argument and counter argument in discussion, separation of concept of love and sex, conversation without communication, and a dehumanizing effect of disillusionment in the 20th century.
Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, Elizabeth Bowen’s The Hotel, The House in Paris.
Psychological novels are works of fiction that treat the internal life of the protagonist (or several or all characters) as much as (if not more than) the external forces that make up the plot. The phrase “Stream of Consciousness” was coined by William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890), to describe the flow of thought of the waking mind.
Virginia Wolfe’s To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dolloway, James Joyce’s Ulysses, D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow.
- Roman á these/ Social Fiction/ Political Novel:
The genre focussed on possible development of societies, very often dominated by totalitarian governments. This type of novels must have social and political message. The term generally refers to fiction in Europe and the Soviet Union reacting to Communist rule.
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), Huxley’s Brave New World etc.
- Prose Romance:
This is a novel that is often set in the historical past with a plot that emphasizes adventure and an atmosphere removed from reality. The characters in a prose romance are either sharply drawn as villains or heroes, masters or victims; while the protagonist is isolated from the society.
The Story of the Pillow by Shen Jiji, and The Governor of the Southern Tributary State by LiGongzuo.
- Novel of Incident:
In a novel of incident the narrative focuses on what the protagonist will do next and how the story will turn out.
Examples: The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars etc.
- Novel of Character:
A novel of character focuses on the protagonist’s motives for what he/she does and how he/she turns out.
Examples: Jane Austen’s Emma.
- Roman á clef:
French term for a novel with a key, imaginary events with real people disguised as fictional characters.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Animal Farm by George Orwell, On the Road by Jack Kerouac etc.
- Dime Novel:
Dime novels were short works of fiction, usually focused on the dramatic exploits of a single heroic character. As evidenced by their name, dime novels were sold for a dime (sometimes a nickel), and featured colourful cover illustrations. They were bound in paper, making them light, portable, and somewhat ephemeral.
Example: Dime novels are, at least in spirit, the antecedent of today’s mass market paperbacks, comic books, and even television shows and movies based on the dime novel genres. Buffalo Ball.
- Hypertext Novel:
Hypertext fiction is a genre of electronic literature, characterized by the use of hypertext links which provide a new context for non-linearity in literature and reader interaction. The reader typically chooses links to move from one node of text to the next, and in this fashion arranges a story from a deeper pool of potential stories. Its spirit can also be seen in interactive fiction.
James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), Enrique Jardiel Poncela’s La Tournée de Dios (1932), Jorge Luis Borges’ The Garden of Forking Paths (1941), Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire (1962) and Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela (1963; translated as Hopscotch) etc.
- Sentimental Novel:
The sentimental novel or the novel of sensibility is an 18th-century literary genre which celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility.
Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740), Oliver Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield (1766), Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759–67), Sentimental Journey (1768), Henry Brooke’s The Fool of Quality (1765–70), Henry Mackenzie’s The Man of Feeling (1771). Continental example is Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s novel Julie.
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- Utopian Novel:
A utopia is a community or society possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities. It is a common literary theme, especially in speculative fiction and science fiction.
Utopia by Thomas Moore, Laws (360 BC) by Plato, New Atlantis (1627) by Sir Francis Bacon, Robinson Crusoe (1719) by Daniel Defoe, Gulliver‘s Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift.
- Graphic Novel:
Graphic novels are, simply defined, book-length comics. Sometimes they tell a single, continuous narrative from first page to last; sometimes they are collections of shorter stories or individual comic strips. Comics are sequential visual art, usually with text, that are often told in a series of rectangular panels. Despite the name, not all comics are funny. Many comics and graphic novels emphasize drama, adventure, character development, striking visuals, politics, or romance over laugh-out-loud comedy.
Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, The Fantastic Four and X-Men etc.
- Science Fiction (Sci-Fi):
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with imaginative concepts such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations.
Examples: The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, The Time Machine.
- Cult or Coterie Novel:
Cult novels often come from the fringes, they often represent counter-cultural perspectives, they often experiment with form.
Examples: Speedboat by Renata Adler, Sddhartha by Herman Hesse,
- Pulp Fiction:
Term originated from the magazines of the first half of the 20th century which were printed on cheap “pulp” paper and published fantastic, escapist fiction for the general entertainment of the mass audiences. The pulp fiction era provided a breeding ground for creative talent which would influence all forms of entertainment for decades to come. The hardboiled detective and science fiction genres were created by the freedom that the pulp fiction magazines provided.
Examples: The Spider, Doc Savage, Blood N Thunder etc.
- Erotic Novel:
Erotic romance novels have romance as the main focus of the plot line, and they are characterized by strong, often explicit, sexual content. The books can contain elements of any of the other romance subgenres, such as paranormal elements, chick lit, hen lit, historical fiction, etc. Erotic romance is classed as pornography .
His To Possess by Opal Carew, On Dublin Street by Samantha Young.
- Roman fleuve:
A novel sequence is a set or series of novels which share common themes, characters, or settings, but where each novel has its own title and free-standing storyline, and can thus be read independently or out of sequence.
Honoré de Balzac’s Comédie humaine and Émile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart,
An antinovel is any experimental work of fiction that avoids the familiar conventions of the novel, and instead establishes its own conventions.
Examples: Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.
- Interactive Novel:
The interactive novel is a form of interactive web fiction. In an interactive novel, the reader chooses where to go next in the novel by clicking on a piece of hyperlinked text, such as a page number, a character, or a direction.
Examples: J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.
- Fantasy Novel:
Stories involving paranormal magic and terrible monsters have existed in spoken forms before the advent of printed literature.
Examples: J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Adventure Novel:
Adventure fiction is a genre of fiction in which an adventure, an exciting undertaking involving risk and physical danger, forms the main storyline.
Examples: Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.
- Children’s Novel:
Children’s novels are narrative fiction books written for children, distinct from collections of stories and picture books.
Examples: The Christmas Mystery, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
A dystopia is an unpleasant (typically repressive) society, often propagandized as being utopian.
Examples: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Giver by Lois Lowry etc.
- Mystery Novel:
The mystery genre is a type of fiction in which a detective, or other professional, solves a crime or series of crimes. It can take the form of a novel or short story. This genre may also be called detective or crime novels.
Examples: Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
14 thoughts on “Different Types of Novel | Types of Fiction”
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hello! could you please cite the source from which you got these?
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This article was written through extensive study of different authentic Books and Journals on English Literature.
Alot of the definitions are taken from the book 'A Glossary of Literary terms-Eleventh Edition.' by M.H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham
Amazing material. Thank you so much. Just what I was looking for.
I’m not certain what kind of novel this is:
A woman has a particular ability when she eats a certain thing to commune with the dead. Each chapter tells part of her story, and introduces a short story, telling the life and death of the dead person she sees. The stories are not related to one another. The protagonist is the “glue” that connects them, and her own story is woven through each chapter, most beginning at the first part of each chapter, introducing each dead person’s story. I’m not even certain of the genre. Supernatural, I suppose, but I don’t even know if on its own if “supernatural” is even a genre. This book is not just a collection of short stories. It’s like stories within a story.