in modern literary usage, a sustained work of prose fiction a volume or more in length. It is distinguished from the short story
and the fictional sketch, which are necessarily brief. Although the novel has a place in the literatures of all nations, this article concentrates on the evolution of the novel in England, France, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and the United States. Nonetheless, changes in technology in the 20th cent. have made the literature of different cultures widely available. The international readership claimed by such authors as Africa's Chinua Achebe, India's R. K. Narayan, Japan's Yukio Mishima, and Latin America's Jorge Luis Borges indicates the variety of novels available to an ever-widening audience.
See also mystery; science fiction.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.