The Novel Rising from the mists of the Imagination and Time Not, as was once thought, a European invention We basically have the World wide view to thank for this awareness. The modern novel can no longer be seen as an entirely European product. It is not – as critics like Ian Watt had pointed out in the 1950s – an early 18th century invention of English literature. The era of "romances" had ended before 1719 and "novels" had been appreciated as an alternative as early as 1613, the date when the Novelas Exemplares were published. Remember in 1604 Cervantes sold the rights of El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha Extended fictions with modern historical backgrounds were fashionable on the French international market before Robinson Crusoe appeared which has traditionally held the position as the first English novel.. Ancient Novels from the Classical Periods? No! As tempting as it may be to see novels everywhere in the past—Homer’s The Odyssey as a novel or Chaucer’s Troilus and Crusade as a novel—the origins of the modern novel do not exist in the ancient Mediterranean cultures nor in medieval Europe, neither in the epic tradition nor in the traditions of shorter fictions. In fact, the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, Indian epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata were unknown in Europe in the 1670s; so were the European Beowulf or the Niebelungenlied – 19th-century scholarship created an awareness of these traditions. The traditions of fictions in a wider context are by contrast extremely difficult to get hold of. There were things in the mix: ProtoNovels (like novels but not) Petronius' Satyricon, the incredible stories of Lucian of Samosata, and Lucius Apuleius' proto-picaresque The Golden Ass and a heroic strain with the romances of Heliodorus and Longus. Also the ancient Greek romance was revived by Byzantine novelists of the twelfth century. All these traditions were rediscovered in the 17th and 18th centuries where they influenced the modern book market. The novella is, however, related to universal oral traditions. Jokes would fall into a broad history of the "exemplary story" which gave rise to the more complex form of novelistic story telling. Fiction has its still wider context with the Bible being filled with similes and stories to be interpreted. Fiction is, as Huet noted, a rather universal phenomenon, though not a phenomenon with a single cause. More Early Prose Fiction The history of prose fiction remains heterogeneous with parallel developments all around the globe. heterogeneous = consisting of dissimilar or diverse ingredients or constituents : mixed Early examples of prose novels include The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu in the 11th century, Philosophus Autodidactus by Ibn Tufail in the 12th century, Theologus Autodidactus by Ibn alNafis in the 13th century, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th Heterogeneous: composed of parts of different kinds; century. having a widely dissimilar elements or constituents: The party was attended by a heterogeneous group of artists, politicians and social climbers. The Spiritual Biography First example is The Confessions by St. Augustine (written between 391396 AD). Considered the first autobiography (first person narrator). Developed the idea of the importance of the individual in relation with God. Viewed a person’s life as an example (an exemplum) for others. Developed the expectation of the landscape of the human mind. The Medieval Romance The word romance seems to have become the label of romantic fictions because of the "Romance" language in which early (11th and twelfth century) works of this genre were composed. The most fashionable genres developed in southern France in the late twelfth century and spread east- and northwards with translations and individual national performances. Subject matter such as Arthurian knighthood had already at that time traveled in the opposite direction, reaching southern France from Britain and French Brittany. As a consequence, it is particularly difficult to determine how much the early "romance" owed to ancient Greek models and how much to northern folkloric verse epics such as Beowulf and the Nibelungenlied. What opened the Flood Gates? Business. . .it’s always Business! In a very real sense the genre of the novel is based on the creation of a new kind of technology which created a new kind of product—the cheaply made book. The inventions of paper and movable letters became, however, key factors the genre needed to step from isolated traditions into a market of exchange and awareness of the genre. Spanish, French, German, Dutch and English became the first languages of the new market. The national risings of the USA, Russia, Scandinavia and Latin America widened the spectrum in the 19th century. Book sellers needed something to print! The Rise of the Novel as a World Genre: A wave of new literatures has brought forth novels with Asian and African authors since then. Their novels became already contributions the history of world literature the 19th century created and the 20th century nourished with international awards such as the Nobel Prize in Literature; they make it problematic for any nation to remain unvoiced and unheard of. The novel has become a medium of national awareness on a global scale.