Chapter

An Exploration of the Categories: History, Narrative, the Novel, and Romance

Brian Hamnett

in The Historical Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695041
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732164 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695041.003.0002
An Exploration of the Categories: History, Narrative, the Novel, and Romance

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The novel had earlier roots but took a different character and course to the epic or chivalric romance. For a long time, attention to realism explained the newness and success of the novel. The historical novel’s portrayal of real events and credible characters in precise locations distinguished it from the Gothic novels popular in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Even so, novelists such as Scott were often prepared to draw on such sources to enhance their plots and attract new readers. Developments in history, however, tended to leave the historical novel behind, and its popularity waned by the 1850s. There has been much discussion concerning the nature of narrative and the dependence of history on narrative. This gave it a fundamental relationship to fictional literature, despite the distinct purposes of the two disciplines.

Keywords: novel; epic; romance; narrative; realism; fantasy; evidence

Chapter.  8873 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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