NOVELS. The novel and the so-called romance, inasmuch as they constantly merge in one another, and are only superficially distinguished by the preponderance in the one of ordinary and familiar incidents; in the otoer of incident more or less remote and mar velous, may conveniently be included here under the common definition of prose narra tive fiction. Between the legendary epic, the drama into which portions of its available Material from fluent become crystallized, and the wider prose fiction or novel, into which this again expands itself, there are obvious affinities, the distinctions being rather of form than of essence. It is of the later development., the novel, that we purpose to give here a historical sketch, omitting, however, any consideration of the remoter and hut slightly known specimens produced in Hindustan and China.
1. Ancient Classical Prose Fiction.-The earliest Greek compositions of a fictitious character, of which we possess any knowledge, are the Milesiara, or Afilesian Tales, said to have been written chiefly by one Aristides. The Milesians were a colony of Ionic Greeks who settled in Asia Minor, and fell under the dominion of the Persians, 494 B.C. They were a voluptuous, brilliant, and inventive race, and are supposed to have caught from their eastern masters, whom they somewhat resembled, a liking for that particularly oriental species of literature—the imaginary story or narrative. None of the Idilesian tales are extant, either in the original Greek or in the Latin version made by Siscuna, the Roman historian, about the time of Marius and Suits; but we have some forty stories by Parthenius Niefeas, which are considered to- be to a certain extent adaptations from them. The collection of Parthenius is entitled Peri Erotikiin PathFirtaton, and is dedi cated to Cornelius Gallas, the Latin poet, and the contemporary and friend of Virgil. If we may judge from this later set of fictions, which are mainly concerned with the description of all sorts of seduction, of criminal and incestuous passions, and of deplora ble terminations to wretched lives, we have little cause, either morally or 2esthetically, to regret the loss of their more famous prototypes. In Greece proper nothing was done, so far as we know, in the way of novel or romance until after the age of Alexander the great. It has been conjectured, not improbably, that his eastern conquests had a potent effect in gil Lug this new bent to the fancy of his countrymen. Clearchus, a disciple of Aristotle, wrote a history of fictitious love adventures, and is thus, perhaps, to be con sidered the first European Greek novelist, and the first of the long of ere!.:Voi, who reach clown to the 13th c. after Christ. Not long after came Antonins Diegenes. whose romance, in 24 books, entitled Ta hl/per Thoulen Apista (of the incredible things beyond Thule), was founded on the wanderings. adventures, and loves of Dinias and Dercyllis.
It appears to have been held in high esteem, and was at least useful as a store-house, whence later writers, such as Achilles Tatius, derived materials for their more artistic fictions. The work has not been preserved, but Photins gives an outline of its contents in his Bibliotheco, God.
A long interval, embracing, indeed, several eenturies, now elapses before we come upon another Greek novelist or ronrancist. Be the cause of this what it may, the ever increasing luxury and depravity of the pagan imperial world, combined to develop and intensify that morbid craving for horrible. magical, and supernatural incidents which in general fill the pages of the romaneists of the empire. The first names that occur in the new series are Lucius of Patin (Patrensis) and Lucian (q. v.), who flourished in the 2d c. A.D., during the reign of Marcus Antoninus; but as the former simply collected accounts of magical transformations (metamoukoses), he is perhaps not to be regarded as a novelist proper at all; while the latter was really a humorist, satirist, and moralist in the guise of a story-teller—in a word, a classic Rabelais and Heine, and as far as possible from being a member of the wonder-loving school of erotics, with whom he has only an accidental connection by the external form of some of his writings. The first of the new series of romance writers. strictly so called, is properly Iamblichns (not the Neoplatonic philoso pher), whose Babylonica is, indeed, no longer extant; but we are able to form a pretty just estimate of it from the epitome of Photius. The next notable name is that of Fleli odorns (q.v.). 1.4:kolt,of -fittickti, writer, 'whose Loves TheageneV and is really the oldest" extant erotic romance, has far excelled all his predecessors in everything that can render a story interesting or excel lent, and his charming fiction obtained a great popularity among such as could read. Some imagine that they see in Heliodorus a resemblance to the minutely descriptive style of novel introduced into England by Richardson, but without adopting this rather extreme notion, it can at least be safely asserted that Achilles Tatius and all the subse quent erotikoi deliberately imitated his style and manner, while he was not less certainly ..sed as a model by that once celebrated but dreadfully tedious school of heroic romance which flourished in France during the 17th c., and whose best-remembered representa tive is mademoiselle de Sender'. Tasso, Guarini, D'Urfo, and several other modern writers have drawn many particulars—sometimes almost verbatim—from the stories in the Theagenes and Charieleia. Achilles Tatius (q.v.), probably belonging to the 5th c., ranks next to but at some distance from Heliodorus in point of merit. His romance, entitled Ta kata Leukippen kai Kleitophonta, and consisting of eight books, has supplied incidents to more than one Italian and French writer.