Research Article

What Is a Novel?



The question ‘What is a novel?’ has received scant attention in the philosophical literature. Meanwhile, this question is important. In the light of this, in this paper, I would like to address it, suggesting a potential answer. I begin by defining what I call ‘novel in the restricted sense’ – the concept that covers all novels except the so-called nonfiction novels, graphic novels, and novels in verse. Then, drawing upon Jerrold Levinson’s approach to defining ‘art’, I provide a definition of the concept that covers nonfiction novels, graphic novels, and novels in verse. Finally, with the help of this definition and the definition of ‘novel in the restricted sense’, I formulate a definition of ‘novel’ simpliciter and defend it against potential objections.


philosophy of literaturephilosophy of the noveldefinition of the novelfictional storygraphic novelnonfiction novelnovel in verse
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 19–34
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.215
  • Submitted on 11 Jan 2020
  • Accepted on 12 Oct 2020
  • Published on 17 Mar 2021
  • Peer Reviewed