The expression ‘diary novel’ is at one and the same time so understandable and so opaque that problems of definition are inevitable in any discussion of the form. Definitions of the novel, as such, are notoriously difficult, while diaries also vary enormously in their structure and aims, so that when the two types of writing are brought together terminological difficulties converge — one even finds oneself hesitating over the possible use of a hyphen. A little reflection, however, suggests that the words ‘diary’ and ‘novel’ should remain separate. Just as the campus novel is one which takes place in or around a university, so the diary novel is a story whose meaning is conveyed or even affected by its resemblance to a diary: the resultant work is not something that is a diary and/or a novel, even though it partakes of the qualities of each. The word ‘diary’ here serves as an epithet, not as the alternative noun suggested by a hyphen.


Short Story Vital Argument Love Affair Diary Form Commonplace Book 
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Copyright information

© Trevor Field 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor Field
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AberdeenUK

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