A novel is a long, fictional story about human beings and the events of their
lives. The four essential attributes of a novel are: Theme—Plot—Characterization—Style.
These are attributes, not separable parts. They can be isolated conceptually
for purposes of study, but one must always remember that they are interrelated
and that a novel is their sum. (If it is a good novel, it is an indivisible
sum.) . . . .
A novel is the major literary form—in respect to its scope, its
inexhaustible potentiality, its almost unlimited freedom (including the freedom
from physical limitations of the kind that restrict a stage play) and, most
importantly, in respect to the fact that a novel is a purely literary form of
art which does not require the intermediary of the performing arts to achieve
its ultimate effect.