7 junio, 2024

The 18 Types of Novels and their Characteristics (with Examples)

There are different types of novels according to the classification that is taken into account. According to the market for which they are intended, novels can be commercial and literary. The first are those that are intended to produce money.

The second are those that are destined to make art. It should be noted that the two categories are not exclusive, so a work can be commercial and literary at the same time.

In other cases, the works are classified according to the veracity of the facts in fictitious and based on real life. In the former, the story is not real while in the latter the events actually happened.

Finally, novels can be classified according to their genres: science fiction, fantasy, life dramas, psychological thriller, horror, romance, mystery, comedy, drama, biographical, epistolary, detective, dystopian, among other genres.

These types of novel will be explained below.

Types of novels according to the market

According to the reception in the market, the novels can be:

commercial novels

They are those that aim to generate high sales. Commercial novels are often best sellerstitle given to best-selling novels.

examples: Stephen King’s VisitorThe Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, harry potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling).

literary novels

They are those that come closest to the creation of art. They are not intended to generate sales, but to be accepted by the canons of literature.

examples: The party of the goat by Mario Vargas Llosa, Pascual Duarte’s family by Camilo Jose Cela, one hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

It is necessary to emphasize that some novels can belong to both groups: they are literary works so important that they generate great sales.

Types of novels according to the veracity of the narrated facts

According to the veracity of the facts that make up the plot, the novels can be:

fictional novels

They narrate events that did not really occur, which are the product of the author’s imagination.

examples: 1984 by George Orwell, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

Novels based on true events

They narrate events that really happened. In some cases, the authors take licenses and modify certain facts.

examples: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, Shark by Peter Benchley

Types of novels according to genre

According to the predominant genre in the novels, these can be of various types. Below are a few.

realistic novels

Realistic novels are intended to make the narrated events seem real. It presents strong characters who operate in an environment with real social problems and carry out everyday actions.

In this type of novel, the social structure of reality is successfully copied, which contributes to its realistic character.

Example: Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

epistolary novel

Epistolary novels are those in which the story is told through various documents: letters, telegrams, newspapers. The epistolary novel par excellence is composed only of letters.

examples: are The advantages of being invisible by Stephen Chbosky, love letters to the dead by Ava Dellaira, the color purpleOh The diaryof Bridget Jones by Alice Walker.

dracula by Bram Stoker is an example of an epistolary novel that includes not only letters but also diaries, telegrams, phonograph transcripts, and newspaper articles.

Historical novels

As the name suggests, historical novels narrate events from the past. For a novel to be considered historical, the events narrated must belong to a period prior to the one in which it is written.

A novel written in the year 1800 set in the year 1799 is not historical because it belongs to the same period in which it was written.

Historical novels can be both fictional and based on true events. In the first case, the author simply takes the historical setting and includes his own characters.

In the second case, the author tries to recreate historical events, transforming real-life people into characters from his novel.

An example of the first case is The name of the rose by Umberto Eco. An example of the second case is the saga The cursed kings.

autobiographical novel

Autobiographical novels are those that reveal information about the author’s life. The writer or the writer includes elements of her life and mixes them with the plot of the novel.

examples: to the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou, The invisible man by Ralph Ellison, and david copperfield and Big hopes by Charles Dickens.

formation novels

In training novels, the emotional and psychological evolution of a character is worked on. It comes from the German bildungsgroman which literally translates as «education or growth novel».

In this type of novels, three stages are usually distinguished: youth, pilgrimage and improvement. The novel can narrate the entire life of a character or just a period of it.

examples: The catcher in the rye by J.D. Salinger, jane eyre by Charlotte Bronte the magic mountain by Thomas Mann and david copperfield by Charles Dickens.

Science fiction novels

Science fiction novels are based on technological elements, showing advances in this field. Science fiction novels propose alternative worlds that answer the question “what would happen if…?”.

For example: What would happen if aliens conquered Earth? What would happen if human beings were forced to leave Earth? What if you could travel to the past?

examples: The time Machine and War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Diamond Age: Illustrated Handbook for Young Ladies by Neal Stephenson.

dystopian novels

Dystopian novels are those in which a futuristic, technologically advanced society is presented.

This society is perfect in appearance, however, it hides a large number of problems that will be revealed throughout the novel. They are also known as «anti-utopian» because they are opposed to utopia (the perfect place).

All dystopian novels are science fiction novels, since they present technologically advanced societies.

examples: 1984 by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, A happy world by Aldous Huxley, and Do androids dream of mechanical sheep? by Phillip K. Dick.

utopian novels

Unlike dystopian novels, utopian novels present societies that are completely perfect.

The most prominent example of a utopian novel is Utopia Thomas Moore, who coined the term utopia from two Greek words or and moleswhich literally translates as «nowhere».

Other examples: new atlantis by Sir Francis Bacon, robinson crusoe by Daniel Defoe and Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

fantasy novels

Fantasy novels include imaginary worlds, just like science fiction novels and dystopian novels. However, the central theme in these novels is magic. They can include witches, sorceresses, fairies, among others.

examples: JK Rowling’s Harry Potter saga, JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings saga, CS Lewis’ Narnia saga, Michael Scott’s The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel saga and Peter Pan by James Barry.

detective novels

In detective novels, the protagonist is a member of the police, a private detective, or an investigator trying to solve a crime.

examples: Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner, The mystery of the blue train by Agatha Christie, The adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

pulp fiction novels

Pulp fiction novels refer to a type of printing typical of the 20th century that was very cheap and, therefore, favored the massive consumption of these texts. This type of novel gave rise to other genres, such as detective and science fiction.

examples: the call of cthulhu Howard Phillip Lovecraft tarzan and the apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley (whose protagonist is Zorro).

horror novels

Horror novels narrate events that seek to generate fear in the reader.

examples: The glow by Stephen King, in the crypt by Howard Phillip Lovecraft.

Mistery novels

Mystery novels often focus on a crime (usually a murder), which must be solved by the characters. In this sense, it is related to detective novels. It should be noted that all detective novels are mystery novels, but not all mystery novels are detective novels.

examples: The name of the rose by Umberto Eco and the girl on the train by Paula Hawkins.

gothic novels

Gothic novels include supernatural, terrifying, and mysterious elements. The topics covered are usually death, decay and the inevitability of tragedy.

It is usually set in old castles, old buildings, haunted houses and ruined churches.

examples: dracula by Bram Stoker, Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, The Vampire by John William Polidori The castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, The monk by Matthew G. Lewis,

cowboy novels

Westerns, also called cowboy novels, are a type of novel that usually takes place in the far west of the United States. This is why they are called westerns. West means west).

Usually, these novels narrate events that took place in the 19th century. Elements are included such as cowboys, Native Americans, the struggle between natives and settlers, western ranch life, local justice, among others.

examples: the virginian by Owen Wister, the heart of the west by O.Henry, arizona nights by Stewart Edward White.

picaresque novels

Picaresque novels are those that narrate the adventures of an antihero or an antiheroine, who fall into this category for not following the customs of the time.

The protagonists are rogues. This means that they are cunning, rascals, with a tendency towards bad life.

The picaresque novel arose in Spain, in the Golden Age. It is considered that the first novel of this genre is The Lazarillo de Tormes (1564). However, it was the works of Mateo Alemán that brought popularity to the genre.

In picaresque novels, elements of daily life of the sixteenth century are included, for example: pastoral life.

The object of the picaresque novel is to criticize the customs of the time through satire. This type of novels can invite reflection on morality, however, this is not the primary purpose of them.

examples: the life of the seeker of Francisco de Quevedo, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.

satirical novels

Satirical novels are those that seek to ridicule a particular element in order to provoke a change of opinion in the reader or at least a reaction.

Satirical novels reveal the author’s opinion regarding a…

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