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A novel is a long, fictional book, almost always divided into smaller units, or chapters. The word has the same origin as the word "novel" meaning new. Therefore, it can be said that a "new novel" is a tautology.

The eleventh century The Tale of Genji, by Japanese author Murasaki Shikibu, has been described as the world's first novel.[1] The first modern European novel was Don Quixote de La Mancha (1605), written in Spanish by Miguel de Cervantes.

A very short novel (say between 20,000 and 50,000 words) is sometimes called a "novella." Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, consisting of about 38,000 words, is an example.

Word length of long novels

Here are the word lengths of notable long novels:[2]

  • Bleak House, by Charles Dickens – 360,947 words
  • Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens – 183,349 words
  • War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy – 561,304 words
  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy – 349,736 words
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell – 418,053 words
  • Moby Dick, by Herman Melville – 206,052 words
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway – 174,106 words
  • Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë – 183,858 words
  • Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen – 126,194 words
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller – 174,269 words
  • Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand – 561,996 words
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce – 265,222 words




  • ‘’Red and Black’’, (‘’Le Rouge et le Noir’’), Stendhal (1830)
  • ‘’Pierre Goriot‘’, (‘’Le Père Goriot’’), Honoré de Balzac (1835)
  • The Count of Monte-Cristo’’, (‘’Le Comte de Monte-Cristo’’), Alexandre Dumas (1844)
  • ‘’Madame Bovary’’ Gustave Flaubert (1857)
  • Les Misérables, Victor Hugo (1862)
  • ‘’Voyage to the Centre of the Earth’’ (‘’Voyage Au Centre de la Terre’’), Jules Verne (1864)
  • ‘’Germinal’’, Emile Zola (1877).
  • ‘'Green Wheat’’ (‘’Le Blé en Herbe,’’) Colette (1923).
  • ‘’In Search of Lost Time‘’ (‘’A la Recherche du Temps Perdu’’), Marcel Proust (1927)
  • ‘’Journey to the Edge of the Night (‘’Voyage au bout de la nuit’’), Céline (1932)
  • Nausea’’ (‘’La Nausée’'), Jean-Paul Sartre (1938)
  • The Plague (La Peste) Albert Camus (1947)





See also