A novel is a long narrative, normally in prose, which
characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story.
The genre has
also been described as possessing "a continuous and comprehensive history
of about two thousand years".
This view sees the novel's origins in Classical
Greece and Rome, medieval,
early modern romance,
and the tradition of the novella. The latter, an Italian word used to describe short
stories, supplied the present generic English term in the 18th century. Ian Watt,
however, in The Rise of the Novel (1957) suggests that the novel first
came into being in the early 18th century.