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Abstract

Recent critical discourse tends to resist exclusive definitions of the novel but yet to imply some definable corpus. The novel is regarded as a kind of prose that is neither self-identical nor able to be assimilated to the seemingly more precisely pedigreed genres that it simulates. Among such genres are history, biography, and autobiography, interrelated strands of narrative that were prominently appropriated by eighteenth-century fiction. Although we have little difficulty distinguishing the novel from these forms of writing, they continue to serve the novel's perennial claim to a truth-telling function.

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