A novel is a long prose narrative that relates human experiences. It has many roots but most critics believe that the British novel originated in the eighteenth century.
Critic Jonathan Arac, among others, has described the nineteenth century as ‘the age of the novel’. Hardy was writing in the literary mode of his age.
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles contains elements of the pastoral genre – a mode of literature that presents man and nature as living harmoniously.
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles can also be described as a work of realism, with Hardy representing things as they are rather than idealising rural life.