The history of the novel should be checked out in relation to the macro effect of WHEE: and this asks for a global history, to start. We then notice its appearance in antiquity but in the modern West we see a rough correlation with the boundaries of the modern transition. Since there were novels in the middle ages, so to speak, we are thinking about relative transformations. In English we see the form arising in the context of tragic drama and then the fading of blank verse. There is a very strong cluster of now famous classics around the ‘divide’, here from 1750 to 1850/1900, the usual ‘bull’s eye’ effect of the macro model. Note that contrary to the novel is the tragic drama, very rare in world history. It is a super-difficult artform, and remains an enigma. And thus remarkably it appears only near the sequence of transitions: Axial Greece and the Enligh/French early modern.
The novel is more flexible and allows an experiment in thought that is more realizable. It thus has a thriving existence in the general post/early modern epoch.
We can see that a new artform, the novel, despite its many predecessors, is more or less invented in the phase of the modern transition and just after, and now is in a ‘steady state’ as a resource for modern creativity, without the strong surge of classics from the late early modern…