Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes



NOVELLA: An extended fictional prose narrative that is longer than a short story, but not quite as long as a novel. We might arbitrarily assign an approximate length of 20,000-50,000 words. Early prototypes include the Decameron of Boccaccio, the Cento Novelle Antiche, and the Heptameron of Marguerite of Valois. English examples include Henry James's Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Note that some scholars in previous generations distinguished between what they called the novella (short stories in Italian, French, and German that served as later influences on English prose) and the novelette (English extended prose narratives longer than a short story but not quite as long as a novel.) Today, most American critics use the two terms interchangeably.