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Novelist (Pl .: novelists ; fem .: romancière ) is the French word for a writer of novels .

Concept history

The word novelist is used with a limited meaning in German. Until the 18th century, the term Romanist was reserved for the author of novels - since the 19th century it has been reserved for the philologist who specializes in Romance languages .

Romanist had a strongly derogatory aftertaste for people who earned their money in the scandal business with texts, a good part of which could be invented, while others could be scandalously true, and who always withdrew when complaining about their writing style, but "only" Having written a novel, a free invention (see for more details on the development of the novel up to the early 18th century: Roman ).

Romancier emerged as a conceptual alternative in the exchange of sophisticated “literature”, which was founded in the second half of the 18th century within the belles lettres , fiction (for more details, see the article literature ). Taking this into account, the word is rarely used in German for authors who wrote novels before the 19th century. Instead, the term novelist, which is more neutral in literary studies, is used for these . Romancier, on the other hand, is the preferred word for an author who is present in the feature pages through reviews that apply to him, who enters into an exchange with the public through his novels and uses the novel as a (preferred) medium of communication. The word is often used in attributive descriptions such as "The essayist and novelist ..."

The word is used less often for writers of experimental novels and not at all for a young author who can hardly claim to be in an established exchange with the public through the medium of the novel. It is just as seldom used for authors of trivial literature, insofar as this is not the subject of broad literary discussion.


  • Irene Hinrichsen: The novelist as translator. Annemarie u. Heinrich Böll's translations of English-language narrative prose. Bouvier, Bonn 1978, ISBN 3-41601388-3 .
  • Gabriele Sieweke: The novelist as historian. Investigations into the relationship between literature and history in 19th century English historiography. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 3-631-47106-8 .
  • Karin Becker: The gourmand, the bourgeois and the novelist. The French food culture in literature and society of the bourgeois age. Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-465-03102-4 .
  • Olaf Simons: Marteau's Europe or The Novel Before It Became Literature. Rodopi, Amsterdam / Atlanta 2001, ISBN 90-420-1226-9 . On the history of concepts in the entire field of novels / literature 17. – 18. Century.

Web links

Wiktionary: Romancier  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations