size of a novel is too great for its subject matteras with Marguerite Youngs Miss MacIntosh, My Darling (1965 reputedly the longest single-volume novel of the 20th century, John Barths Giles Goat-Boy (1966 and John Fowless Magus (1965). He notices her and begs her not to leave him with Heathcliff. Whatever the locale of his work, every true novelist is concerned with making a credible environment for his characters, and this really means a close attention to sense datathe immediacies of food and drink and colourfar more than abstractions like nature and city. The novella was a kind of enlarged anecdote like those to be found in the 14th-century Italian classic. Length is very much one of the dimensions of the genre.
The reader may be prepared to tolerate the most wanton-seeming stylistic tricks and formal difficulties because of the intense interest of the central characters in novels as diverse as James Joyces Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939) and Laurence Sternes Tristram Shandy (176067). Within its broad framework, the genre of the novel has encompassed an extensive range of types and styles: picaresque, epistolary, Gothic, romantic, realist, historicalto name only some of the more important ones. Wild and desolate, full of eerie winds and forgotten corners, the land has borne witness to its residents nighttime walks, forbidden meetings, and graveyard visits. This view imposed the authors image of himselfthe only human image he properly possessedon the rest of the human world. While the odd characters and wild setting contribute to a certain sense of mystery, this sense is most definitively established by the appearance of Catherine Earnshaws ghost. Though the critics may regard it as heretical, this tendency to accept a character is in conformity with the usages of real life. Melodramatic plots, plots dependent on coincidence or improbability, are sometimes found in even the most elevated fiction;.M. The novel attempts to assume those burdens of life that have no place in the epic poem and to see man as unheroic, unredeemed, imperfect, even absurd. The story that Lockwood records is told to him by Nelly, a servant, and Lockwood writes most of the narrative in her voice, describing how she told it to him. Serious fiction prefers its plots to be based on psychological situations, and its climaxes come in new states of awarenesschiefly self-knowledgeon the parts of the major characters. In Ulysses, for example, an episode set in a maternity hospital is told through the medium of a parodic history of English prose style. She lies to the boy on the journey, telling him that his father is a kind man, and, after his horrible meeting with Heathcliff, she tries to sneak out when he is not paying attention.
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