The difference between traditional novels and modern novels

In the West, traditional novels generally refer to novels from the early 18th century to the end of the 19th century, and modern novels refer to novels from the early 20th century to the 1960s. In the 19th century, the development of novels has formed a set of almost fixed patterns.

There is a big difference between modern novels and traditional novels. It enriches the field of expression and ways of expression of novels, makes novels increasingly rich and diverse, and greatly promotes the liberation of novels in modern times. It can be said that if traditional novels often rely on an infinite field of vision to describe a limited world, then modern novels often describe an infinite world through a limited perspective. Specifically, the following aspects reflect the difference between modern novels and traditional novels. .


First, narrate the difference in content. Traditional novels reflect the objective existence of people and things, regard the objective world as the object of the novel, and try to reproduce the reality of the external world, while modern novelists emphasize the expression of inner life and psychological reality. The reality of the latter is more than the reality of the former. As profound. They regard the objective world as unreal. If they only focus on the external objective world while ignoring the internal subjective world, the works they create must be one-sided, and the displayed world must be false. They abandon the Balzac-style panoramic depiction of the external social structure, and instead show people's changing, unknowable, and indefinable experiences, intuitions, illusions, dreams, and subconsciousness under the surface of life.

In terms of themes, traditional novels use certain specific and definite values or certain life philosophies and moral propositions as guidelines to make clear evaluations of characters and events. Therefore, the main theme of the work, the author's subjective consciousness and personality characteristics are relatively more. Clear and easy to grasp. Modernist novels focus on expressing the self-feelings of modern people. The author no longer gives moral judgments from the perspective of clear social values, but only asks readers to feel and understand together with themselves. Compared with traditional novels, the author hides himself deeper and cooperates with the performance. The variety of techniques makes the themes of the work different. Taking "The Country Doctor" and "In the Exile" as examples, the creative intentions that Kafka wants to express in it are inconsistent among readers.

Secondly, narrate the difference in perspective. The narrative of traditional novels usually adopts the method of "zero focus". The narrator is greater than the characters, and is like God, who knows everything and knows everything. The narrative structure and the sequence of events are basically the same. However, modern novels mostly use the method of "inner focus", and the author is completely hidden. To go, let the characters in the work narrate themselves, and restrict the incompleteness of the content from the perspective to bring the structure open, so that the work presents a multi-level open structure. In The Sound and the Fury, the author uses four narrators to tell the same marriage. This narrative method enables the same story to be told from multiple angles and complements each other, but each angle brings its own characteristics. The new world of novels shows very different character connotations

Again, the difference in narrative methods. In terms of character images, traditional novels try to create immortal characters. On the one hand, they must have enough characteristics to become irreplaceable, and on the other hand, they must have sufficient representativeness to become universal. Characters are the core of the novel, and the characters are shaped Success or failure is related to the success or failure of novel creation. However, modern novels abandon the character image-centered creation model. In a large number of modern novels, the performance is focused on feeling and experience. The storyline has been dispelled, and the character image has also been diluted. Kafka only uses it in The Castle. A letter k is used to name a character. He has no face, no family, and he has nothing. Such a character is just an abstract "he" or "she".


In terms of expressive techniques and artistic techniques, traditional novels mostly use contrast, set off, exaggeration, and circumstantial techniques to shape characters through portraits, actions, language and other techniques, while modern novels use a large number of streams of consciousness, accidental combination, automatic writing, inner monologue, time and space Inversion, free association, symbolism, absurdity, etc., pursue the "impersonalized and meaningful form of art"

Finally, look forward to the difference of readers. The traditional novel itself is not necessarily low-level, but its requirements for readers are low-level. It puts the world in front of the readers without too much imagination supplementation and exploration. At this point, there is no doubt that modern novels are positioned for imaginary readers with higher cultural standards and strong appreciating ability, and their subjective functions are played more thoroughly in the reading process. The rapid expansion of the unknowable field prompts readers to think and use their own experience and

Based on experience to supplement and enrich, in the process of actively participating in the construction of the novel world, the more attractive the work is to readers. In this regard, modern novels show its advantages over traditional novels.


It can be seen from the above points that modern novels have achieved breakthroughs and innovations to traditional novels in many aspects. Of course, modern novels also have their own limitations, but from the perspective of the overall development of novels, modern novels have their own irreplaceable status in the history of novel development.

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