The Info List - Novella

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A NOVELLA is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel . The English word "_novella_" derives from the Italian _novella_, feminine of _novello_, which means "new". The novella is a common literary genre in several European languages.


* 1 History * 2 Structure * 3 Versus novel * 4 Versus novelette * 5 Notable examples * 6 Word counts * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links


The novella as a literary genre began developing in the early Renaissance by the Italian and French _literatura_, principally Giovanni Boccaccio , author of _ The Decameron _ (1353). _The Decameron_ featured 100 tales (novellas) told by 10 people (seven women and three men) fleeing the Black Death , by escaping from Florence to the Fiesole hills in 1348. This structure was then imitated by subsequent authors, notably the French queen Marguerite de Navarre , whose _Heptaméron _ (1559) included 72 original French tales and was modeled after the structure of _The Decameron_.

Not until the late 18th and early 19th centuries did writers fashion the novella into a literary genre structured by precepts and rules, generally in a realistic mode . At that time, the Germans were the most active writers of the _novelle_ (German: "Novelle"; plural: "Novellen"). For the German writer, a novella is a fictional narrative of indeterminate length—a few pages to hundreds—restricted to a single, suspenseful event, situation, or conflict leading to an unexpected turning point (_Wendepunkt_), provoking a logical but surprising end. _Novellen_ tend to contain a concrete symbol, which is the narrative's focal point.


A novella generally features fewer conflicts than a novel , yet more complicated ones than a short story . The conflicts also have more time to develop than in short stories. Unlike novels, novellas are usually not divided into chapters and are often intended to be read at a single sitting, as is the short story, although in a novella white space is often used to divide the sections, and therefore, the novella maintains a single effect. Warren Cariou wrote:

The novella is generally not as formally experimental as the long story and the novel can be, and it usually lacks the subplots, the multiple points of view, and the generic adaptability that are common in the novel. It is most often concerned with personal and emotional development rather than with the larger social sphere. The novella generally retains something of the unity of impression that is a hallmark of the short story, but it also contains more highly developed characterization and more luxuriant description.


_See the article Novel for the historical generic debate_. _See the article Word count for comparative word counts_.

This etymological distinction avoids confusion of the literatures and the forms, with the novel being the more important, established fictional form. Austrian writer Stefan Zweig 's _Die Schachnovelle _ (1942) (literally, "The Chess Novella", but translated in 1944 as _The Royal Game_) is an example of a title naming its genre.

Commonly, longer novellas are referred to as novels; Robert Louis Stevenson's _ Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde _ (1886) and Joseph Conrad's _ Heart of Darkness _ (1899) are sometimes called novels, as are many science fiction works such as H. G. Wells' _The War of the Worlds _ (1897) and Philip Francis Nowlan's _ Armageddon 2419 A.D. _ (1928). Less often, longer works are referred to as novellas. The subjectivity of the parameters of the novella genre is indicative of its shifting and diverse nature as an art form. In her 2010 _Open Letters Monthly _ series, "A Year With Short Novels", Ingrid Norton criticizes the tendency to make clear demarcations based purely on a book's length:

On a web search engine, input "novels" and "length" and you will find tables of word counts, separating out novels from novellas, even from the esoteric and still shorter "novelette"—as though prose works were dog show contestants, needing to be entered into proper categories. But when it comes to writing, any distinctions that begin with an objective and external quality like size are bound to be misleading. The delicate, gem-like jigsaw of Thornton Wilder 's _The Bridge of San Luis Ray _ could not be more unlike the feverishly cunning philosophical monologue of Albert Camus ' _The Fall _, but both novels are about the same length.

Stephen King , in his introduction to _ Different Seasons _, a collection of four novellas, has called the novella "an ill-defined and disreputable literary banana republic"; King notes the difficulties of selling a novella in the commercial publishing world, since it does not fit the typical length requirements of either magazine or book publishers. Despite these problems, however, the novella's length provides unique advantages; in the introduction to a novella anthology titled _Sailing to Byzantium_, Robert Silverberg writes:

is one of the richest and most rewarding of literary forms...it allows for more extended development of theme and character than does the short story, without making the elaborate structural demands of the full-length book. Thus it provides an intense, detailed exploration of its subject, providing to some degree both the concentrated focus of the short story and the broad scope of the novel.

In his essay, "Briefly, the case for the novella", Canadian author George Fetherling (who wrote the novella _Tales of Two Cities_) said that to reduce the novella to nothing more than a short novel is like "saying a pony is a baby horse".

The sometimes blurry definition between a novel and a novella can create controversy, as was the case with British writer Ian McEwan 's _ On Chesil Beach _ (2007). The author described it as a novella, but the panel for the Man Booker Prize in 2007 qualified the book as a "short novel". Thus, this "novella" was shortlisted for an award for best original novel. A similar case is found with a much older work of fiction: _ The Call of the Wild _ (1903) by Jack London . This book, by modern standards, is short enough and straightforward enough to qualify as a novella. However, historically, it has been regarded as a novel and hence it will continue to be regarded as such until someone makes a definitive case otherwise.


Dictionaries define _NOVELETTE_ similarly to _novella_; sometimes identically, sometimes with a disparaging sense of being trivial or sentimental. Some literary awards have a longer "novella" and a shorter "novelette" categories, with a distinction based on word count . A range between 7,500 and 17,500 words is common among awards.


This list contains those novellas that are widely considered to be the best examples of the genre, through their appearance on multiple best-of lists. See list of novellas for other notable examples.

Novellas that appear on multiple best-of lists TITLE AUTHOR PUBLISHED REFERENCE

_ANIMAL FARM _ Orwell, George George Orwell 1945

_BILLY BUDD _ Melville, Herman Herman Melville 1924

_BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY\\'S _ Capote, Truman Truman Capote 1958

CHRISTMAS CAROL !_A CHRISTMAS CAROL _ Dickens, Charles Charles Dickens 1843

CLOCKWORK ORANGE !_A CLOCKWORK ORANGE _ Burgess, Anthony Anthony Burgess 1962

_ETHAN FROME _ Wharton, Edith Edith Wharton 1911

_GOODBYE, COLUMBUS _ Roth, Philip Philip Roth 1959

_HEART OF DARKNESS _ Conrad, Joseph Joseph Conrad 1899

_I AM LEGEND _ Matheson, Richard Richard Matheson 1954


_OF MICE AND MEN _ Steinbeck, John John Steinbeck 1937

OLD MAN AND THE SEA !_THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA _ Hemingway, Ernest Ernest Hemingway 1952

_STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE _ Stevenson, Robert Louis Robert Louis Stevenson 1886

STRANGER !_THE STRANGER _ Camus, Albert Albert Camus 1942


_WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE _ Jackson, Shirley Shirley Jackson 1962


Some literary awards include a "best novella" award and sometimes a separate "best novelette" award, separately from "best short story" or "best novel". The distinction between these categories may be entirely by word count .


Nebula Award for Best Novelette science fiction or fantasy Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America 7,500 17,499

Nebula Award for Best Novella science fiction or fantasy Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America 17,500 39,999

Hugo Award for Best Novelette science fiction or fantasy World Science Fiction Society 7,500 17,500

Hugo Award for Best Novella science fiction or fantasy World Science Fiction Society 17,500 40,000

Novella Award any genre of fiction Screen School of Liverpool John Moores University and Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of Contemporary Arts 20,000 40,000

RITA Award for Best Novella romance Romance Writers of America 20,000 40,000

British Fantasy Award for Novella fantasy British Fantasy Society 15,000 40,000

The Paris Literary Prize literary fiction Shakespeare and Company 17,000 35,000

Black Orchid Novella Award mystery Nero Wolfe Society 15,000 20,000

Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novelette psychological suspense , horror , or dark fantasy

7,500 17,499

Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novella psychological suspense, horror, or dark fantasy

17,500 39,999


* Novels portal

* Chain novel * Light novel * List of novellas


* ^ " Novella - Definition". _ Merriam-Webster Dictionary online_. Retrieved 7 March 2010. * ^ "Novella: Definition and history". _ Merriam-Webster Dictionary online_. Retrieved 6 February 2014. * ^ Kercheval, Jesse Lee (1997). "Short shorts, novellas, novel-in-stories". _Building Fiction_. Cincinnati, Ohio: Story Press. ISBN 1-884910-28-9 . * ^ _Encyclopedia of literature in Canada_. Edited by William H. New. University of Toronto, 2000. Page 835. * ^ "The Sweetness of Short Novels" by Ingrid Norton, Open Letters Monthly February 2010 * ^ King, Stephen (1982). _Different Seasons_. Viking Adult. ISBN 978-0-670-27266-2 . * ^ Silverberg, Robert (2000). _Sailing to Byzantium_. New York: ibooks, inc. ISBN 0-7861-9905-9 . * ^ Fetherling, George. "Briefly, the case for the novella". _Seven Oaks Magazine_. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link ) * ^ " Ian McEwan claims the novella is better than the novel". _The Telegraph_ (HOME»CULTURE»BOOKS»BOOK NEWS). Telegraph Media Group Limited. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 15 Oct 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2015. * ^ American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed.): novella (2), novelette; Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: novelette; * ^ Collins Dictionary : novella (2), novelette (2); Macmillan Dictionary (US ed.): novella, novelette; Cambridge Advanced Learner\'s Dictionary (UK ed.): novella, novelette; novelette]; Concise Oxford English Dictionary : novella, novelette; Webster\'s New World Dictionary : novella, novelette; * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Nebula Rules". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Awards. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Constitution" (PDF). World Science Fiction Society. 2009. pp. sec 3.3.2, 3.3.3. Retrieved 20 January 2013. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Award Rules". Shirley Jackson Awards. Retrieved 20 January 2013. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ "Top 10 Novellas". _The Novella Award_. Retrieved 18 May 2016. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ _K_ "These Amazing Classic Books Are So Short You Have No Excuse Not To Read Them". _The Huffington Post _. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2016. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ Carswell, Beth (2012). "The Best Novellas: Literature\'s Middle Child". _AbeBooks_. Retrieved 18 May 2016. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ Thorsson, Johann (18 June 2012). "The World’s Best Novellas". _On Books & Writing_. Retrieved 18 May 2016. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ Haber, Gordon (29 June 2015). "The 20 Best Novellas Ever Published In The History Of Humankind". _Thought Catalog_. Retrieved 18 May 2016. * ^ Cite error: The named reference TheGuardian was invoked but never defined (see the help page ). * ^ Cite error: The named reference AHouseofOrdinaryHorror was invoked but never defined (see the help page ). * ^ "Submission guidelines". 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. * ^ "RITA Awards : RITA Category Descriptions and Judging Guidelines". _myRWA_. Romance Writers of America. Retrieved 20 January 2013. * ^ "The British Fantasy Awards Constitution". British Fantasy Society. Retrieved 20 January 2013. * ^ "Eligibility and conditions". _Paris Literary Prize_. Retrieved 20 January 2013. * ^ " Black Orchid Novella Award Guidelines, Procedures, and FAQs". Wolfe Pack. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.


* Fassler, Joe (April 24, 2012). "The Return of the Novella, the Original #Longread". _ The Atlantic _.