|History and lists|
A novella or short novel is a work of narrative prose fiction, longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. Publishers and literary award societies typically consider a novella's word count to be between 17,000 and 40,000 words.
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.
The novella as a literary genre began developing in the Italian literature of the early Renaissance, principally Giovanni Boccaccio, author of The Decameron (1353). tales (named novellas) told by ten 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.The Decameron featured 100
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").[ citation needed ] 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.[ citation needed ]
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. Novellas may or may not be divided into chapters (good examples of those with chapters are Animal Farm by George Orwell and The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells) 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.
The term novel, borrowed from the Italian novella, originally meant "any of a number of tales or stories making up a larger work; a short narrative of this type, a fable", and was then many times used in the plural,reflecting the usage as in Decameron and its followers. Usage of the more italianate novella in English seems to be a bit younger. The differenciation of the two terms seems to have occurred only in the 19th century, following the new fashion of the novella in German literature. In 1834, John Lothrop Motley could still speak of "Tieck's novels (which last are a set of exquisite little tales, novels in the original meaning of the word)". But when the term novella was used it was already clear that a rather short and witty form was intended: "The brief Novella has ever been a prodigious favorite with the nation…since the days of Boccaccio." In 1902, William Dean Howells wrote: "Few modern fictions of the novel's dimensions…have the beauty of form many a novella embodies."
Sometimes, as with other genres, the genre name is mentioned in the title of a single work (compare the Divine Comedy or Goethe's Das Märchen ). 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. This might be suggestive of the genre's historicization.
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,[ by whom? ] 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.[ citation needed ] 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 [ sic ] 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:
[The novella] 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 "insisting that 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". [ citation needed ]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.
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.
|Albert Camus||The Stranger||1942||36,750|
|Truman Capote||Breakfast at Tiffany's||1958||26,433|
|Joseph Conrad||Heart of Darkness||1899||38,000|
|Charles Dickens||A Christmas Carol||1843||28,500|
|Ernest Hemingway||The Old Man and the Sea||1952||26,601|
|Franz Kafka||The Metamorphosis||1915||21,810|
|Richard Matheson||I Am Legend||1954||25,204|
|Herman Melville||Billy Budd||1924||30,000|
|George Orwell||Animal Farm||1945||30,000|
|John Steinbeck||Of Mice and Men||1937||29,160|
|Robert Louis Stevenson||Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde||1886||25,500|
|Edith Wharton||Ethan Frome||1911||34,500|
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|
Dan Simmons is an American science fiction and horror writer. He is the author of the Hyperion Cantos and the Ilium/Olympos cycles, among other works which span the science fiction, horror, and fantasy genres, sometimes within a single novel. Simmons' genre-intermingling Song of Kali (1985) won the World Fantasy Award. He also writes mysteries and thrillers, some of which feature the continuing character Joe Kurtz.
Alice Bradley Sheldon was an American science fiction author better known as James Tiptree Jr., a pen name she used from 1967 to her death. It was not publicly known until 1977 that James Tiptree Jr. was a woman. From 1974 to 1977 she also used the pen name Raccoona Sheldon. Sheldon was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2012.
A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of evoking a "single effect" or mood.
Robert Silverberg is an American author and editor, best known for writing science fiction. He is a multiple winner of both Hugo and Nebula Awards, a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, and a Grand Master of SF. He has attended every Hugo Awards ceremony since the inaugural event in 1953.
Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis, commonly known as Connie Willis, is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. She has won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards for particular works—more major SF awards than any other writer—most recently the "Best Novel" Hugo and Nebula Awards for Blackout/All Clear (2010). She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Science Fiction Writers of America named her its 28th SFWA Grand Master in 2011.
Peter Soyer Beagle is an American novelist and screenwriter, especially of fantasy fiction. His best-known work is The Last Unicorn (1968), a fantasy novel he wrote in his twenties, which Locus subscribers voted the number five "All-Time Best Fantasy Novel" in 1987. During the last twenty-five years he has won several literary awards, including a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2011. He was named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by SFWA in 2018.
Jack Dann is an American writer best known for his science fiction, an editor and a writing teacher, who has lived in Australia since 1994. He has published over seventy books, in the majority of cases as editor or co-editor of story anthologies in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. He has published nine novels, numerous shorter works of fiction, essays and poetry and his books have been translated into thirteen languages. His work, which includes fiction in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism and historical and alternative history genres, has been compared to Jorge Luis Borges, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, J.G. Ballard, and Philip K. Dick.
The Sir Julius Vogel Awards are awarded each year at the New Zealand National Science Fiction Convention to recognise achievement in New Zealand science fiction, fantasy, horror, and science fiction fandom. They are commonly referred to as the Vogels.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to fiction:
Literature can refer to a body of written or oral work, but it commonly refers specifically to writings considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry, in contrast to academic writing and newspapers. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to now include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed.
The Shirley Jackson Awards are literary awards named after Shirley Jackson in recognition of her legacy in writing. These awards for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic are presented at Readercon, an annual conference on imaginative literature.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy short works edited by Mercedes Lackey. It was first published in trade paperback by Pyr in May 2016.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 is an anthology of science fiction short works edited by American writer Greg Bear. It was first published in trade paperback by Pyr in December 2015.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2000 is an anthology of science fiction short works edited by Gregory Benford. It was first published in hardcover and trade paperback by Harcourt in April 2000.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2005 is an anthology of award-winning science fiction short works edited by American writer Jack Dann. It was first published in trade paperback by Roc/New American Library in March 2005.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 is an anthology of award winning science fiction short works edited by Ben Bova. It was first published in trade paperback by Roc/New American Library in April 2008.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2013 is an anthology of science fiction short works edited by Catherine Asaro. It was first published in trade paperback by Pyr in May 2013.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy short works edited by Canadian writer Julie E. Czerneda. It was first published in trade paperback and ebook by Pyr in May 2017.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2018 is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy short works edited by American writer Jane Yolen. It was first published in trade paperback and ebook by Pyr in August 2018.
|Look up novella in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|