Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(3,815 words)

1. Terminology

The essential characteristic of the novel is its polymorphism. The genre is constituted by hybridity and heterogeneity, so that any definition must necessarily be confined to a few very general qualities: narrative literature on a larger scale, comprising a fictional plot usually in multiple strands. The imprecision of definition is often resolved by the addition of qualifiers (e.g. historical novel, social novel). One particularly striking feature of this liter…

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Butzer, Günter and Günter, Manuela, “Novel”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_026785>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128

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