A novel is a long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of themedieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century.
Further definition of the genre is historically difficult. The construction of the narrative, the plot, the way reality is created in the works of fiction, the fascination of the character study, and the use of language are usually discussed to show a novel's artistic merits. Most of these requirements were introduced in the 16th and 17th centuries in order to give fiction a justification outside the field of factual history. The individualism of the presentation makes the personal memoir and theautobiography the two closest relatives among the genres of modern histories.