Excerpts from Marhte Robert’s Origins of the Novel

All things considered, its victories were mainly due to its encroachments on the neighboring territories it surreptitiously infiltrated, gradually colonizing almost all of literature.

Graduating from a discredited sub-category to an almost unprecedented Power, it now reigns more or less supreme over the world of literature.

…the novel has abolished every literary caste and traditional form and appropriates all modes of expression, exploiting unchallenged whichever method it chooses.

…since it can write about everything under the sun.

Revolutionary and middle-class, democratic by choice but with a marked tendency for totalitarian over-rulings of obstacles and frontiers, the novel is free, free to the point of arbitrariness or total anarchy.

The novel can do what it wants with literature; it can exploit to its own ends description, narrative, drama, the essay, commentary, monologue and conversation…

…the novel knows neither rule nor restraint.

…its boundaries fluctuate in all directions.

“science of literature.”

Indeed critics seem to take the novel form for granted.

…a critic who can still write “This is or is not a novel” seems to me to be more incompetent than discerning…

…the grammarian appears to take for granted the fact that contemporary novels are the product of imagination…

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