From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
History of and generic influences on the novel
While most scholars agree that the novel emerged during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe, there are some who argue that the novel dates back to antiquity. These scholars argue that “personality" and the evolution of character is not at the center of the novel; rather the work requires only a set of individual characters to be considered a novel. They also place a heavy emphasis on the role of “eros” in the definition of the novel—novels are most often about “sentiment and erotic passion” in this theory.
In ancient Greece and Rome, these are the earliest extant novels (some people would call them precursors of the novel):
- Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus (Greek, 4th century BC). A fictional account of the education of King Cyrus the Great of Persia. A strong candidate for the first novel.
- Petronius, Satyricon (Latin, 1st century).
- Apuleius, The Golden Ass (Latin, 2nd century).
- Chariton, The Loves of Chaereas and Callirhoe (Greek, 1st century–2nd century).
- Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon (Greek, 2nd century).
- Longus, Daphnis and Chloe (Greek, 2nd century).
- Xenophon of Ephesus, Ephesian Tale (Greek, 2nd century–3rd century).
- Heliodorus, Ethiopian Tale (Greek, 3rd century–4th century).
- Anon, Joseph and Aseneth (Greek, 1st century–5th century).
- Anon, The Story of Apollonius, King of Tyre (Latin adaptation of lost Greek original, 5th century–6th century).
From the Orient, there were important early novels, such as:
- Dandin, The Adventures of the Ten Princes (Sanskrit, 6th century–7th century).
- Banabhatta, Kadambari (Sanskrit, 7th century).
- Anon, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (Japanese, 10th century).
- Anon, The Tale of Ochikubo (Japanese, 10th century).
- Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji (Japanese, 11th century).
- Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Chinese, 14th century).
Medieval and Renaissance
Early medieval novels included:
- Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, (English, 1485).
- Joanot Martorell, Tirant lo Blanc (Catalan, 1490), chivalric romance.
- Jacopo Sannazaro, La Arcadia, (Italian, 1504), pastoral novel.
- Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, Amadis of Gaul (Spanish adaptation of lost 13th century original, 1508).
- Thomas More, Utopia (Latin, circa 1516).
- François Rabelais, Pantagruel, (French, 1532).
- Jorge de Montemayor, La Diana (Spanish, 1559), pastoral novel.
- Anon, Lazarillo de Tormes (Spanish, 1554).
- Mateo Alemán, Guzmán de Alfarache (Spanish, 1599).
- Cervantes, Don Quixote (Spanish, 1605).
- Francisco de Quevedo, El buscón (Spanish, 1626), masterpiece of the picaresque subgenre.
- Grimmelshausen, Simplicissimus (German, 1669), the most important of the non-Spanish picaresque novels.
- the article novel for detailed information about the history of the terms "novel" and "romance" and the bodies of texts they defined in a historical perspective.
- debut novel