Novel of manners

A novel of manners is a work of fiction that re-creates a social world, conveying with detailed observation the customs, values, and mores of a highly developed and complex society. The conventions of the society dominate the action of the story, and characters are differentiated by the degree to which they meet or fail to meet the uniform standard, or ideal of behaviour, established by societal conventions.

The French novelist Honoré de Balzac was a founder of literary realism, of which the novel of manners is a subgenre.

The scope of a novel of manners can be particular, as in the works of Jane Austen, which deal with the domestic affairs of the English landed gentry of the 19th century; or general, as in the novels of Balzac, which portray the social conventions of 19th-century France with stories about the public sphere and the private sphere of life in Paris, the provinces, and the military. Notable English-language novelists of manners include Henry James, Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, and John Marquand.[1]


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