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Terreson Profile
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What sets the novel apart


Kind of brain dead tonight, so I'll have to come back to the thread. Been thinking on something for quite a long while. What sets the novel form apart from other lit genres?

I don't think it is narrative, the story line. Homer and all other epic poems got that slant down. I don't think it is dramatic action. All playwrights own that territory. Sophocles, Aeschelus, Euripedes, Shakespeare, Moliere, Eugene O'Neil, Sam Peckinpaw got that thing down. And I don't think the novel turns on texture, environmental coloration, atmosphere, the way the short story is inclined to.

What distinguishes the novel from other genres is character development and amplification. It's the personality parsed. It's the character's conflicts either resolved or tearing her/him apart. A start.

Tere
Apr/7/2011, 10:51 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: What sets the novel apart


Sounds reasonable, Tere. When I was on my Eudora Welty kick, I think I remember reading or seeing an interview in which she said something to the effect that characters don't get developed in short stories, they emerge full-blown and play their parts. Wildly paraphrasing here. She also said she found it very challenging technically, getting them in and out of rooms.

Chris
Apr/8/2011, 11:48 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
libramoon Profile
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Re: What sets the novel apart


Yes, in a short story we see someone as when we meet at a party or talk over an evening meal. The novel gives us a wider picture, the nuances of long friendship.
Apr/8/2011, 2:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to libramoon   Send PM to libramoon Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: What sets the novel apart


Agreeing to both posts. Welty is right. In short stories characters appear already made. And I like the notion that a novel's characters pull us in for the long friendship, one in which we get to know them little by little, over time. Somewhere I've said it seems to me that before there were psychologists there were novelists. I still think this right. That one discipline grew out of the other.

Tere
Apr/9/2011, 1:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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