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

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

The second are those that are meant 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.

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

In other cases, 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 facts actually happened.

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

These types of novels will be explained below.

Types of novels according to the market

According to the reception in the market, the novels can be commercial or literary. Commercial novels are those that aim to generate high sales.

Commercial novels are often Best Sellers , Title that is granted to the best selling novels.

For their part, literary novels are those that are closer to the creation of art. They are not intended to generate sales but to be accepted by the canons of literature.

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

Types of novels according to the truth of the facts narrated

According to the veracity of the facts that make up the plot, the novels can be fictitious or based on real facts.

Fictitious novels narrate facts that did not really occur, which are the product of the author's imagination.

For their part, the novels based on real events narrate events that really happened. In some cases, authors take licenses and modify certain facts.

Types of novels by genre

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

Realistic Novels

Realistic novels are intended to make the events narrated look real. It presents strong characters that unfold in an environment with real social problems and carry out daily actions.

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

An example of a realist novel is Harper Lee's"Killing a Mockingbird".

Epistolary novel

Epistolary novels are those in which history is told through various documents: letters, telegrams, journals. The epistolary novel par excellence consists only of letters.

Some examples of epistolary novels are"The Advantages of Being Invisible"by Stephen Chbosky,"Letters of Love to the Dead"by Ava Dellaira,"The Purple Color"and"The Journal of Bridget Jones"by Alice Walker.

Bram Stoker's"Dracula"is an example of an epistolary novel in which not only letters but also diaries, telegrams, phonograph transcriptions and newspaper articles are included.

Historical novels

As its name implies, historical novels narrate events of the past. To be considered a novel is historical, the events narrated must belong to a period prior to the writing.

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

Historical novels can be both fictitious and factual. In the first case, the author simply takes the historical stage and includes his own characters.

In the second case, the author tries to recreate the historical events, transforming people of the real life in personages of his novel.

An example of the first case is Umberto Eco's"The Name of the Rose". An example of the second case is the saga"Los Reyes Malditos".

Autobiographical novel

The autobiographical novels are those that reveal information about the life of the author. The writer or writer includes elements of his life and mixes them with the plot of the novel.

Some examples of this genre are Virginia Woolf's"Lighthouse","I Know Why She Sings the Bird Caged"by Maya Angelou,"The Invisible Man"by Ralph Ellison and"David Copperfield"and"Great Expectations"by Charles Dickens.

Training Novels

In the novels of formation, we work the emotional and psychological evolution of a character. Comes from german Bildungsroman Which literally translates as"education or growth novel."

In this type of novels, three stages are usually distinguished: youth, pilgrimage and perfection. The novel can narrate the whole life of a character or only a period of this.

"The Guardian Among the Rye"by J. D. Salinger is an example of a novel of formation. Other examples of training novels include"Jane Eyre"by Charlotte Brönte,"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 the aliens conquered the Earth? What would happen if humans were forced to leave Earth? What if you could travel to the past?

Some examples of science-fiction novels are HG Wells's"Time Machine"and"War of the Worlds", Orson Scott Card's"Ender's Game"and"The Diamond Age: Illustrated Handbook for Misses"by Neal Stephenson.

Dystopic novels

Dystopic novels are those in which a futuristic society, technologically advanced.

This society is perfect in appearance, however, it hides a lot of problems that will be shown throughout the novel. They are also known as"anti-ops"because they oppose utopia (the perfect place).

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

Examples of dystopian novels are George Orwell's"1984", Ray Bradbury's"Fahrenheit 451", Aldous Huxley's"A Happy World,"and Phillip K. Dick's"Androids with Mechanical Sheep Dreams."

Utopian novels

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

The most outstanding example of utopian novel is"Utopia"by Thomas Moore, who coined the term utopia from two Greek words or Y Tops , Which are translated literally as"nowhere".

Other examples of utopian novels are Sir Francis Bacon's"New Atlantis", Daniel Defoe's"Robinson Crusoe"and Jonathan Swift's"Gulliver's Travels."

Fantasy Novels

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

Some examples of fantasy novels are JK Rowling's"Harry Potter"saga, JRR Tolkien's"Lord of the Rings"saga, CS Lewis's"Narnia"saga,"The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel"by Michael Scott 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 of detective novels include Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason,"The Blue Train"and other works by Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and short stories starring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

Novels pulp fiction

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

Some examples of these novels are Howard Phillip Lovecraft's"Call of Cthulhu","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. Some examples of horror novels are"The Shining"by Stephen King and"In the Crypt"by Howard Phillip Lovecraft.

Mistery novels

Mystery novels usually 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 detectives.

An example of mystery novel is"The name of the rose"of Umberto Eco and"The girl of the train".

Gothic Novels

Gothic novels include supernatural, terrifying and mysterious elements. The issues dealt with are death, decadence and the inevitability of tragedy.

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

The most notable Gothic novels are Bram Stoker's"Dracula", Mary Shelley's"Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus", John William Polidori's"The Vampire", Horace Walpole's"The Castle of Otranto"and Matthew G's"The Monk" Lewis,

Novels of jeans

Westerns, also called novels of jeans, are a type of novels that usually ambitious in the far west of the United States. This is why they are called westerns (in English, West Means west).

In general, these novels narrate events that took place in century XIX. They include elements such as cowboys, Native Americans, fighting between natives and settlers, life on the ranches of the west, local justice, among others.

Some examples of jeans novels are Owen Wister's"The Virginian","The Heart of the West"by O. Henry,"The West"and"Nights of Arizona"by Stewart Edward White.

Picaresque novels

The picaresque novels are those that narrate the adventures of an antihero or 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 toward bad life.

The picaresque novel emerges in Spain, in the Golden Age. The first novel of this genre is considered"El lazarillo de Tormes"(1564). However, it was the works of Mateo Alemán that gave popularity to the genre.

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

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

Some examples of picaresque novels are"The life of the Buscon"of Quevedo and"The ingenious hidalgo Don Quixote of the Mancha".

Satirical novels

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

Satirical novels reveal the author's opinion about a particular situation and, generally, propose an alternative that could improve this situation.

Examples of satirical novels include George Orwell's"Revolt on the Farm", Jonathan Swift's"Gulliver's Journeys,"and Mark Twain's"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

Allegorical Novels

Allegorical novels are those in which history is used to refer to another situation. In this sense, the plot of the novel has a symbolic meaning beyond the words narrated.

Allegorical novels usually include criticism and religious, historical, social, political, or philosophical reflections.

Some examples of allegorical novels are William Golding's"Lord of the Flies"(social critique),"The Chronicles of Narnia"by CS Lewis (religious reflection) and George Orwell's"Rebellion on the Farm" .


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