What Is a Novel?

Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 58 (1):19-34 (2021)
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Abstract

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.

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Alexey Aliyev
National Research University Higher School of Economics

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