Lyrical novel: what it is, origin, characteristics and most important authors


What is the lyric novel?

The lyrical novel is one of the types of literature that emerged in modernity, although it retains many elements of the movement of Romanticism in its development in Germany, as well as part of the precepts of French Symbolism. For its part, the lyrical novel arises with the intention of a renewal in the genre in which it merges both with the novelistic genres, as well as with the poetic.

For its part, symbolism will be essential to determine the basis of the lyric novel. In this case, we do not speak of a symbolism that is directed exclusively to the source, but is developed in the same work as a kind of fundamental feature of the lyric novel.

Origin of the lyric novel

The main precedents of the lyric novel are considered to lie in the literary theory of such works as Leon Edel and Henri Bonnet. Leon Edel, for his part, was the first theorist to carry out a series of studies applied to works that would later be included within the lyric novel.

However, the use of the term was coined by Ralph Freedman in his 1963 work The Lyrical Novel: Studies in Hermann Hesse, André Gide, and Virginia Woolf, a text in which the lyrical novel appeared for the first time. Although the origins of this type of literature are still not precisely known, it is a modality that has managed to spread throughout different regions and has been the focus of research for different experts who have found manifestations in Latin America.

What is the lyric novel

Main characteristics of the lyric novel

It is time to review the most important characteristics of this type of literature, as well as the distinctive features that allowed its important development over the years. Among them we find the following:

Lyrical point of view

One of the key aspects of the lyrical novel is directly related to the incorporation of the lyrical point of view that develops within the narrative. For this, the author uses focalization in which one or more characters are in charge of perceiving and expressing. In this sense, aspects such as the plot of the narrative remain in the background. The importance falls on the foundations.

Narrative space

A fundamental axis in the work of the lyric novel is related to space, an element that acquires special importance due to the way the character relates to it. In some cases of the lyric novel, space can fulfill a symbolic function. In this way, it is not only the area in which the story unfolds, but also a space of relationship in which the character is located and of which he develops, at the same time, his own perception.

Use of time

In this case, we speak of a treatment of time that can vary in the lyrical novel, given that authors can choose between three modalities marked during the twentieth century. Among them we find the rupture of chronological order, uchronology and temporal reduction. The first comprises a smooth linearity, the uchronia is the suspension in the narrative time through an action and the temporal reduction implies the narration of a small action that takes place in a short time.

Lyric hero

Another important feature of this type of literature has to do with the personality and presentation of the lyrical hero protagonist of the story. In the lyrical novel he usually acquires a hypersensitive personality through which the novel is focused.

Reader participation

The lyrical novel proposes an active and participatory reading on the part of the reader. This implies that the reader is able to become, at the same time, a co-creator of the novel he is reading, which will allow him to complete the spaces provided during the narrative, either by their fragmentation or by the author’s invitation to organize his own alterations and changes in the spaces of time.

Most important authors of the lyric novel

As for the most important and representative authors of the lyrical novel, we have the following: Virginia Woolf, Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, José Martínez Ruíz (Azorín), André Paul Guillaume Gide, Hermann Karl Hesse, Ramón María Valle Peña, James Joyce, Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, Ricardo Guillón, Darío Villanueva, Gabriel Miró, Benjamín Jarnés, Pérez de Ayala, among others.

Remember that to learn more about other types of literature, as well as movements, genres and more, you can find this and much more information in our space dedicated to this type of art and thus, continue learning.