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The Novels Portal

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A novel is a long narrative, normally in prose, which describes fictional characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story.

The genre has also been described as possessing "a continuous and comprehensive history of about two thousand years", this view sees the novel's origins in Classical Greece and Rome, medieval, early modern romance, and the tradition of the novella. The latter, an Italian word used to describe short stories, supplied the present generic English term in the 18th century. Ian Watt, however, in The Rise of the Novel (1957) suggests that the novel first came into being in the early 18th century,

Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is frequently cited as the first significant European novelist of the modern era; the first part of Don Quixote was published in 1605.

The romance is a closely related long prose narrative. Walter Scott defined it as "a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents", whereas in the novel "the events are accommodated to the ordinary train of human events and the modern state of society." Scott's definition is not to be thought more than historical, however; for many romances, including Scott's own historical romance, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, are also frequently called novels, and Scott describes romance as a "kindred term". Romance, as defined here, should not be confused with the genre fiction love romance or romance novel. Other European languages do not distinguish between romance and novel: "a novel is le roman, der Roman, il romanzo."

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Selected article

A book published by Ace Books
Ace Books is the oldest active specialty publisher of science fiction and fantasy books (example pictured) and issued many of the best known science fiction writers of the 1950s and 1960s. The company was founded in New York City in 1952 by Aaron A. Wyn, and began as a genre publisher of mysteries and westerns. It soon branched out into other genres, publishing its first science fiction title in 1953; this was a successful innovation, and within a few years, such titles outnumbered both mysteries and westerns. Ace became known for the tête-bêche binding format used for many of its early books, although it did not originate the format. Most of the early titles were published in this "Ace Double" format, and Ace continued to issue books in varied genres, bound tête-bêche, until 1973, these have proved attractive to book collectors, and some rare titles in mint condition command prices up to $1,000. It was one of the leading science fiction publishers for its first ten years, but its fortunes began to decline after the death of owner A. A. Wyn in 1967. Two prominent editors, Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr, left in 1971, and in 1972 Ace was sold to Grosset & Dunlap. It is now an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).

Selected novel quote

  • Incredulity doesn't kill curiosity; it encourages it. Though distrustful of logical chains of ideas, I loved the polyphony of ideas, as long as you don't believe in them, the collision of two ideas -- both false -- can create a pleasing interval, a kind of diabolus in musica. I had no respect for some ideas people were willing to stake their lives on, but two or three ideas that I did not respect might still make a nice melody. Or have a good beat, and if it was jazz, all the better.

Foucault's Pendulum


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