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. 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.
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 [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". 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. See list of novellas for other notable examples.
|Animal Farm||George Orwell||1945||30,000|||
|Billy Budd||Herman Melville||1924||30,000|||
|Breakfast at Tiffany's||Truman Capote||1958||26,433|||
|A Christmas Carol||Charles Dickens||1843||28,500|||
|A Clockwork Orange||Anthony Burgess||1962||58,695|||
|Ethan Frome||Edith Wharton||1911||34,500|||
|Goodbye, Columbus||Philip Roth||1959||72,645|||
|Heart of Darkness||Joseph Conrad||1899||38,000|||
|I Am Legend||Richard Matheson||1954||25,204|||
|The Metamorphosis||Franz Kafka||1915||21,810|||
|Of Mice and Men||John Steinbeck||1937||29,160|||
|The Old Man and the Sea||Ernest Hemingway||1952||26,601|||
|Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde||Robert Louis Stevenson||1886||25,500|||
|The Stranger||Albert Camus||1942||36,750|||
|The War of the Worlds||H. G. Wells||1898||60,000|||
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|||
Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella by Ayn Rand, written in 1937 and first published in 1938 in the United Kingdom. The story takes place at an unspecified future date when mankind has entered another Dark Age. Technological advancement is now carefully planned and the concept of individuality has been eliminated. A young man known as Equality 7-2521 rebels by doing secret scientific research. When his activity is discovered, he flees into the wilderness with the girl he loves. Together they plan to establish a new society based on rediscovered individualism.
Rand originally conceived of the story as a play, then decided to write for magazine publication. At her agent's suggestion, she submitted it to book publishers. The novella was first published by Cassell in England. It was published in the United States only after Rand's next novel, The Fountainhead, became a best seller. Rand revised the text for the US edition, which was published in 1946.Autobiographical novel
An autobiographical novel is a form of novel using autofiction techniques, or the merging of autobiographical and fictive elements. The literary technique is distinguished from an autobiography or memoir by the stipulation of being fiction. Because an autobiographical novel is partially fiction, the author does not ask the reader to expect the text to fulfill the "autobiographical pact". Names and locations are often changed and events are recreated to make them more dramatic but the story still bears a close resemblance to that of the author's life. While the events of the author's life are recounted, there is no pretense of exact truth. Events may be exaggerated or altered for artistic or thematic purposes.
Novels that portray settings and/or situations with which the author is familiar are not necessarily autobiographical. Neither are novels that include aspects drawn from the author's life as minor plot details. To be considered an autobiographical novel by most standards, there must be a protagonist modeled after the author and a central plotline that mirrors events in his or her life.
Novels that do not fully meet these requirements or are further distanced from true events are sometimes called semi-autobiographical novels.
Many novels about intense, private experiences such as war, family conflict or sex, are written as autobiographical novels.
Some works openly refer to themselves as 'nonfiction novels.' The definition of such works remains vague. The term was first widely used in reference to the non-autobiographical In Cold Blood by Truman Capote but has since become associated with a range of works drawing openly from autobiography. The emphasis is on the creation of a work that is essentially true, often in the context of an investigation into values or some other aspect of reality. The books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig and The Tao of Muhammad Ali by Davis Miller open with statements admitting to some fictionalising of events but state they are true 'in essence.'Breakfast at Tiffany's (novella)
Breakfast at Tiffany's is a novella by Truman Capote published in 1958. In it, a contemporary writer recalls his early days in New York City, when he makes the acquaintance of his remarkable neighbor, Holly Golightly, who is one of Capote's best-known creations.British Fantasy Award
The British Fantasy Awards are awarded annually by the British Fantasy Society (BFS), first in 1976. Prior to that they were known as The August Derleth Fantasy Awards (see August Derleth Award). First awarded in 1972 (The Knight of Swords by Michael Moorcock) only for novels, the number of award categories increased and in 1976 the BFS renamed them collectively the British Fantasy Awards. The current award categories are Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award), Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award), Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Independent Press, Best Artist, Best Anthology, Best Collection, Best Comic/Graphic Novel, Best Non-Fiction, and Best Newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award), while the Karl Edward Wagner Award for "important contribution to the genre or the Society" is given at the discretion of the BFS committee. The membership of the BFS vote to determine the shortlists of the awards, the winners being decided by juries.Coraline
Coraline is a dark fantasy children's novella by British author Neil Gaiman, published in 2002 by Bloomsbury and Harper Collins. It was awarded the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella, and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers. The titular character's name came from a typo in "Caroline". According to Gaiman, "I had typed the name Caroline, and it came out wrong. I looked at the word Coraline, and knew it was someone's name. I wanted to know what happened to her." It has been compared to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and has been adapted into a 2009 stop-motion film, directed by Henry Selick.Devdas
Devdas (Bengali: দেবদাস, transliterated as Debdās) is a Bengali romance novel written by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee. Despite being finished in September 1900, the novel was not published till June 1917 due to Chatterjee's hesitance probably over some autobiographical elements. According to Chatterjee's own words, he wrote it under the influence of drink and was ashamed of the work.The story pivots a tragic triangle linking Devdas, an archetypal lover in viraha (separation); Paro, his forbidden childhood love; and Chandramukhi, a reformed courtesan. Devdas was adapted on screen 19 times.Elevation (novella)
Elevation is a novella by American author Stephen King, published on October 30, 2018, by Scribner. The book contains chapter-heading illustrations by Mark Edward Geyer, who previously illustrated King's first editions of Rose Madder and The Green Mile.Goosebumps (original series)
Goosebumps is a series of children's horror fiction novellas created and authored by R. L. Stine. 62 books were published under the Goosebumps umbrella title from 1992 to 1997, the first being Welcome to Dead House, and the last being Monster Blood IV. 32 of the books were reprinted under the Classic Goosebumps title with brand new cover designs and special bonus material, including interviews with the author. Thirteen were also made into comic books under the Goosebumps Graphix title. These were released in three groups: Creepy Creatures, Terror Trips, and Scary Summer. And the last book was four goosebumps books in one. There were also two hardcover reprint collections: Goosebumps Collection and Monster Edition. Nine books were released under the Goosebumps Collection title and were split into three groups: Living Dummy Collection, Campfire Collection, and Monster Blood Collection. Another twelve books were released under the Monster Edition title and were split into four groups, the first three of which were simply numbered while the fourth was called Fright Light Edition. 57 of the books were reprinted with original artwork, all except for #24, #47, #60, #61 and #62. 43 out of the 62 books were also adapted for television.Hugo Award for Best Novella
The Hugo Award for Best Novella is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The novella award is available for works of fiction of between 17,500 and 40,000 words; awards are also given out in the short story, novelette and novel categories. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".The Hugo Award for Best Novella has been awarded annually since 1968. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for years 50, 75, or 100 years prior in which no awards were given. Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for novellas for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by the supporting and attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. These novellas on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near the start of September, and are held in a different city around the world each year. Members are permitted to vote "no award", if they feel that none of the nominees is deserving of the award that year, and in the case that "no award" takes the majority the Hugo is not given in that category. This happened in the Best Novella category in 2015.During the 57 nomination years, 161 authors have had works nominated; 41 of these have won, including coauthors and Retro Hugos. Connie Willis has received the most Hugos for Best Novella at four, and at eight is tied for the most nominations with Robert Silverberg. Willis and Charles Stross at three out of four nominations are the only authors to have won more than twice, while thirteen other authors have won the award twice. Nancy Kress has earned seven nominations and Robert A. Heinlein, George R. R. Martin, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Lucius Shepard six, and are the only authors besides Willis and Silverberg to get more than four. Robinson has the highest number of nominations without winning.Nightflyers
Nightflyers is a science fiction horror novella by George R. R. Martin, released as a short novella in 1980 and as an expanded version in 1981. A short story collection of the same name was released in 1985 that includes the novella. In 1987, the short novella was adapted into a film by the same name. A 2018 television adaptation of the extended novella was developed; television presentation began on December 2, 2018, on the SyFy Channel.Novella, Haute-Corse
Novella is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men is a novella written by author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.
Steinbeck based the novella on his own experiences working alongside migrant farm workers as a teenager in the 1910s (before the arrival of the Okies that he would vividly describe in The Grapes of Wrath). The title is taken from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse", which reads: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley". (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.)
While it is a book taught in many schools, Of Mice and Men has been a frequent target of censors for vulgarity and what some consider offensive and racist language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association's list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century.Outlander (franchise)
The Outlander franchise is a series of novels, short fiction, and related works. It is composed of the core Outlander novel series, the Lord John novel series spin-off, adaptations in comics, a theatrical musical, and a television series.
The core Outlander series is a sequence of novels and shorter works written by Diana Gabaldon that feature elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy. The franchise has expanded to include the 2014 television drama series Outlander on Starz, a 2010 graphic novel and a 2010 musical album called Outlander: The Musical.Gabaldon has also spun off recurring secondary character Lord John Grey into the Lord John series, a sequence of novels and shorter works that can be generally categorized as historical mysteries.Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella is a church in Florence, Italy, situated just across from the main railway station named after it. Chronologically, it is the first great basilica in Florence, and is the city's principal Dominican church.
The church, the adjoining cloister, and chapter house contain a multiplicity of art treasures and funerary monuments. Especially famous are frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance. They were financed by the most important Florentine families, who ensured themselves funerary chapels on consecrated ground.Stephen King short fiction bibliography
This is a list of short fiction by Stephen King (b. 1947). This includes short stories, novelettes, and novellas, as well as poems. It is arranged chronologically by first publication. Major revisions of previously published pieces are also noted. Stephen King is sometimes erroneously credited with "nearly 400 short stories" (or a similarly large number). However, all the known published pieces of short fiction are tabulated below. In all, 203 works are listed. Most of these pieces have been collected in King's six short story collections: Night Shift (1978), Skeleton Crew (1985), Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993), Everything's Eventual (2002), Just After Sunset (2008), and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (2015); and in King's four novella collections: Different Seasons (1982), Four Past Midnight (1990), Hearts in Atlantis (1999), and Full Dark, No Stars (2010). Some of these pieces, however, remain uncollected.Steven Novella
Steven Paul Novella (born July 29, 1964) is an American clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. Novella is best known for his involvement in the skeptical movement.Telos Doctor Who novellas
The Telos Doctor Who novellas were a series of tie-in novellas based on the long-running BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, officially licensed by the BBC and published by Telos Publishing.
Each novella was published in two formats: standard hardback and deluxe hardback. The BBC's license was specifically only to do hardback fiction (since its BBC Books imprint was concurrently publishing its own line of paperback Doctor Who novels), although following further negotiations two of the novellas were subsequently re-printed in paperback. "Deluxe editions" were also published, which were often autographed by the author and/or an actor from the TV series. (For example, the deluxe edition of Nightdreamers was signed by the author, the illustrator, and actress Katy Manning who wrote the foreword and whose character Jo Grant appears in the book.)
Fallen Gods won the Aurealis Award for best Australian science fiction novel of 2004.
Characters from the novella The Cabinet of Light also feature in the Time Hunter series of novellas by Telos.The Pearl (novel)
The Pearl is a novella by American author John Steinbeck, first published in 1947.
It is the story of a pearl diver, Kino, and explores man's nature as well as greed, defiance of societal norms, and evil. Steinbeck's inspiration was a Mexican folk tale from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, which he had heard in a visit to the formerly pearl-rich region in 1940.In 1947, it was adapted into a Mexican film named La Perla and in 1987 into a cult Kannada movie Ondu Muttina Kathe. The story is one of Steinbeck's most popular books and has been widely used in high school classes. The Pearl is sometimes considered a parable.The Turn of the Screw
The Turn of the Screw is an 1898 horror novella by Henry James that first appeared in serial format in Collier's Weekly magazine (January 27 – April 16, 1898). In October 1898 it appeared in The Two Magics, a book published by Macmillan in New York City and Heinemann in London. Classified as both gothic fiction and a ghost story, the novella focuses on a governess who, caring for two children at a remote estate, becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted.
In the century following its publication, The Turn of the Screw became a cornerstone text of academics who subscribed to New Criticism. The novella has had differing interpretations, often mutually exclusive. Many critics have tried to determine the exact nature of the evil hinted at by the story. However, others have argued that the brilliance of the novella results from its ability to create an intimate sense of confusion and suspense within the reader.
The novella has been adapted numerous times in radio drama, film, stage, and television, including a 1950 Broadway play, and the 1961 film The Innocents.