This is a guide to one of the most complex and popular of literary forms. A series of critical essays examines the history and special qualities of the novel as a genre, from antecedents in classical and Renaissance times to the rich diversity of the novel in the 1990s. This is combined with a complementary A-Z section of detailed entries, including critical, biographical and bibliographical information on a wide range of novelists, plot summaries and critical discussions of major novels, definitions and explanations of relevant literary terms, and information on the historical, cultural and intellectual context of the novel. A selected bibliography of critical works on the novel, and a full chronology are also provided. There is comprehensive cross-referencing throughout the book. It provides thorough descriptions of, and contemporary critical approaches to, novels written in English since the 18th century, and includes the work of Indian, African, West Indian, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian writers.