Kinds of Novel

Kinds of Novel:

1. The Picaresque Novel

It is the tale of the adventures or misadventures of a picaro (the Spanish word) or rogue who wanders from one country to another, from one setting to another, from the town to the country, from one inn to another, and in this way the novelist gets an opportunity of introducing a variety of characters and incidents, of painting society as whole realistically.

The Novelists of the Picaresque Novel are:

1. Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1816)

2. Thomas Nash (the first writer of this type of novel): The Unfortunate Traveler or The Life of Jack Wilton (1594)

3. Richard Head: The English Rogue (1665)

4. Daniel Defoe (1659-1731): Moll Flanders (1722), Robinson Crusoe (1733)

5. Henry Fielding: Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews

6. Charles Dickens: Great Expectations, Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist

2. The Panoramic Novel

Henry Fielding, the father of English Novel, is the creator of the panoramic or the epical novel. In this kind of novel the novelist ranges over a wide ground and provides a comprehensive picture of the live of the times. The picture which he presents of contemporary life, society, dress, habits, and manners, is epical in its range, sweep and variety.

The Novelists of the Panoramic Novel are:

1. Henry Fielding: Tom Jones

2. Thackeray: Vanity Fair

3. The Historical Novel

It seems to be a contradiction in terms. The word novel designates a work of fiction; and facts are the underlying basis of history. The historical novelist takes certain events and characters from history and weaves around them a fictitious enchantment. In making use of the facts, the novelist does not follow the method of historian but of the artist. He takes into account what may be described as the spirit and atmosphere of history. He reconstructs imaginatively the life of the past. Thus The Historical Novel is a mixture of fact and fiction, an imaginative treatment of history, and such an imaginative treatment which would necessarily select, order, and arrange its material is not congenial to the rational and scientific temper of the age.

The Novelists of the Historical Novel are:

1. Sir Walter Scott (the creator of the Historical novel): Ivanhoe, Quentin Durward

2. Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873): Rienzi, The Last Days of Pompeii

3. Thackeray: Henry Esmond

4. William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882): Road Wood, Jack Shephard, The Tower of London, Old St. Paul’s, The Lancashire Witches

5. Charles Reade (1814-1884): The Cloister and the Heart (1861)

6. Charles Kingsley (1819-1875): Westward Ho (1855)

4. The Novel of Social Reform

The novel of social reform is associated with the name of Charles Dickens. He was the first English novelist who consciously used the novel-form to focus public attention on the many social evils prevalent in his age. In this way, he tried to cure some of these evils which caused great suffering to the poor. In this way, he rendered great service to society, and contributed much to the well-being of the underdog of society. Thus he made the novel an instrument of social reform.

His famous work in this novel-form is David Copperfield.

5. The Regional Novel

The Regional novel is the novel which depicts the physical feature, life, customs, manners, history, etc. of some particular region of locality.

Some important novelists of the Regional novel are:

1. Thomas Hardy (Wessex): Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Mayor of Casterbridge

2. The Brontes: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne (The Yorkshire)

3. Maria Edgeworth (Irish) (1767-1849): Castle Rackrent, The Absentee

4. Susan Ferrier (Scottish) (1782-1854): Marriage (1812), The Inheritance (1824), Destiny (1831)

5. George Eliot (the Midland Counties of Warwickshire): Adam Bede, Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner.

6. Arnold Bennett (1867-1931): The Old Wive’s Tale, Clayhanger, Imperial Palace

6. The Psychological Novel

The psychological novelist analyses the motives, impulses and mental processes which move his characters to act in particular way. He depicts the inner struggles of his characters and thus lays bare their souls before his readers. Thus in a psychological novel there is much soul-dissection, as in the dramatic monologues of Browning, and the novel acquires a broad intellectual tone.

Some great novelists in this type of novel are: Samuel Richardson, George Eliot, and George Meredith.

7. The Stream of Consciousness Novel

The stream of consciousness novel carries the analysis of motives and mental processes a step further. It depicts the flux of emotions and sensations passing through the consciousness of a character, without any organization or ordering on the part of the novelist. The novelist places us within the mind of his characters and shows what is happening in his soul at the sub-conscious or even the unconscious levels. The action moves backwards and forwards in harmony with the though-process, and the complete soul of the characters is laid bare.

Some great novelists in this type of novel are: Henry James, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, etc.


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