Different Types of Novel: Definition and Examples

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      Like other literary genres, Novels can also be of different types. Novels can be short or long; it can involve few characters or multiple; but depending on the subjects they deal with and the way of their dealings, novels can be divided into multiple types. Given below is a possible list of the types of novel. Some novels fall under more than one type. Some techniques used in writing novels might also be argued as their own types. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to show the variety of types. All the novels of world are also not necessarily supposed to be one amongst the followings, but these are some common forms of novel:

Different Types of Novel

Cult, or Coterie Novels

      The novel, unlike the poem, is a commercial commodity, and it lends itself less than the materials of literary magazines to that specialized appeal called coterie, intellectual or elitist. Examples: James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939); Goldings' Lord of the Flies (1954); Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (1951-75); G.V. Desani's All About Mr. Hatterr (1948)

Detective, Mystery, Thriller

      The novel thrills the reader with mysterious crimes, usually of a violent nature, and puzzles his reason until their motivation and their perpetrator are, through some triumph of logic, uncovered. Examples: Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841); Dickens' unfinished Edwin Drood (1870); Wilkie Collins' Moonstone (1868) and Woman in White (1860)

Western Novel

      Man's concern with taming wild land, or advancing frontiers, or finding therapy in reversion from the civilized life to the atavistic is well reflected in adventure. Examples: James Fenimore Cooper's The Pioneer (1823) and The Last of the Mohicans (1826)

The Best Seller or Pulp Fiction Novel

      A distinction should be made between novels whose high sales are an accolade bestowed on literary merit and novels that aim less at aesthetic worth than at profits. Examples: Charles Dickens' Novels

Fantasy and Prophecy

      Fantasy and prophecy or science fiction is often made to include fantastic and prophetic books that make no reference to the potentialities of science and technology for changing human life. Examples: H.G. Wells Time Machine (1895) Invisible Man (1897)


      The category properly springs out of direct experience of proletarian life and is not available to writers whose background is bourgeois or aristocratic. Examples: Dickens' Hard Times (1854); Alan Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958)

Adventure Novel

      Adventure fiction is a genre of fiction in which an adventure, an exciting undertaking involving risk and physical danger, forms the main storyline. Examples: Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (1959)

Allegorical Novel

      Novels typically use allegories as literary devices or as rhetorical devices that convey hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, and/or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meanings the author wishes to convey. Examples: William Golding's The Lord of the Flies (1954); J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954)


      An apologue or apolog is a brief fable or allegorical story with pointed or exaggerated details, meant to serve as a pleasant vehicle for a moral doctrine or to convey a useful lesson without stating it explicitly. Examples: George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945)

Autobiographical Novel

      An autobiographical novel is a form of novel using auto-fiction techniques, or the merging of autobiographical and fictive elements. Examples: Charles Dickens' David Copperfield (1850); Charlotte Bronte's Villette (1853)

Children's Novel

      Children's novels are narrative fiction books written for children, distinct from collections of stories and picture books. Examples: Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865); J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Story

Christian Novel

      A Christian novel is any novel that expounds and illustra tes a Christian world view in its plot, its characters, or both, or which deals with Christian themes in a positive way. Examples: J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954)

Dime Novel

      Dime novels were short works of fiction, usually focused on the dramatic exploits of a single heroic character. As evidenced by their name, dime novels were sold for a dime (sometimes a nickel), and featured colorful cover illustrations. They were bound in paper, making them light, portable, and somewhat ephemeral. Examples: Ann S. Stephens' Malaeska (1839)

Dystopian Novel

      A dystopia draws a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as 'not-good place', an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by Sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his most well- known work, Utopia (the blueprint for an ideal society with no crime or poverty). Examples: H.G. Wells The Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Erotic Romance Novel

      Erotic romance novels have romance as the main focus of the plot line, and they are characterized by strong, often explicit, sexual content. Samantha Young's On Dublin Street (2012)

Graphic Novel

      A graphic novel is a book made up of comic content. Although the word 'novel' normally refers to long fictional works, the term 'graphic novel' is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. Examples: Milt Gross' He Done Her Wrong (1930)

Hypertext Novel

      Hypertext fiction is a genre of electronic literature, characterized by the use of hypertext links which provide a new context for non-linearity in literature and reader interaction. The reader typically chooses links to move from one node of text to the next, and in this fashion arranges a story from a deeper pool of potential stories. Examples: Douglas Cooper's Delirium (1994)

Interactive Novel

      The interactive novel is a form of interactive web fiction. In an interactive novel, the reader chooses where to go next in the novel by clicking on a piece of hyperlinked text, such as a page number, a character, or a direction. Examples: Victoria Blake's books in Underland Press (2008)

Multicultural Novel

      Multicultural novel features characters and themes from countries around the world. Writers in this genre express their ideas and values through the characters featured in their work. Examples: Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (1958)


      A novella is a work of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. Examples: Earnest Hemingway's The Old Man cnd the Sea (1952)

Postmodern Novel

      Postmodern novel is characterized by reliance on narrative techniques such as fragmentation, paradox, and the unreliable narrator; and often is (though not exclusively) defined as a style or a trend which emerged in the post World War II era. Examples: Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman (1939)


      A prequel is a fictional work whose story precedes that of a previous work, by focusing on events that occur before the original narrative. Examples: Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847) Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

Regional Novel

      A regional novel attempts to depict a specific geographic region and the people that inhabit it. A regional novel is typically set in a single area of a country and portrays the customs, culture, historical background, dialect and behaviour of that region. Examples: Thomas Hardy's novel with reference to Wessex

Roman Fleuve (River Novel)

      It is a novel in the form of a long usually easygoing chronicle of a social group (as a family or a community). Examples: Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers (1857)

Romance Novel

      Novels of this type place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending". Examples: Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740)

Science Fiction Novel

      Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction typically dealing with imaginative concepts such as futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Examples: H.G. Wells' Time Machine (1895) Invisible Man (1897)


      A sequel is a narrative, which continues the story of, or expands upon, some earlier works. Examples: C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy (1954)

Series Novel or Novel Sequence

      A novel sequence is a set or series of novels which share common themes, characters, or settings, but where each novel has its own title and free-standing storyline, and can thus be read independently or out of sequence. Examples: Emile Zola's Rougon Macquart

Spy Novel

      Spy Fiction, a genre of literature involving espionage as an important context or plot device, emerged in the early 20th century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. Examples: James Fenimore Cooper's The Spy (1821) The Bravo (1831)

Utopian Novel

      The Utopia and its derivative, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction portrays a setting that agrees with the author's ethos, having various attributes of another reality intended to appeal to readers. Examples: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1985).

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