NCERT Notes Class 10 Social Science History Novels, Society and History

NCERT Notes Class 10 Social Science History Novels, Society and History

Chapter Novels, Society and History NCERT Notes

Chapter Name

Novels, Society and History Notes


CBSE Class 10

Textbook Name

India and the Contemporary World II Class 10

Related Readings

  • Notes for Class 10
  • Notes for Class 10 History
  • NCERT Solutions for Novels, Society and History 

The novel is a form of literature, born from print. It first took firm root in England and France. Novels began to be written from the seventeenth century, but they really bloomed from the eighteenth century with the emergence of new groups of lower-middle-class people in England and France.
  1. With the growth of readership and expansion of the market for books, authors began to experiment with different literary styles. Walter Scott collected popular Scottish ballads which he used in his historical novels about the wars between Scottish clans. The epistolary novel used the private and personal form of letters to tell its story. Samuel Richardson’s Pamela told much of its story through an exchange of letters between two lovers.
  2. Initially, novels were costly and therefore not accessible to the poor. But the establishment of circulating libraries in 1740 solved this problem. Technological improvements in printing brought down the price of books and innovations in marketing led to expanded sales.
  3. By and by novels gained popularity. While reading novels, the reader was transported to another person’s world. In rural areas, people would collect to hear one of them reading a novel aloud, often becoming deeply involved in the lives of characters. When Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers was serialised in a magazine in 1836, it attracted a vast number of readers.
  4. Some of the nineteenth-century novels focused on the terrible effects of industrialization on people’s lives and characters. For example, Charles Dickens’s Hard Times and Oliver Twist. Emile Zola’s Germinal on the life of a young miner in France explores in harsh detail the grim conditions of miners’ lives.
  5. By the eighteenth century, novels began exploring the world of women-their emotions and identities, their experiences and problems. The novels of Jane Austen give us a glimpse of the world of women in genteel rural society in the early-nineteenth-century Britain. But other women novelists such as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre dealt with women who broke established norms of society before adjusting to them.
  6. Novels for young boys were full of adventure set in places remote from Europe. Books like R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book became very popular. G.A. Henty’s historical adventure novels for boys were also popular during the height of the British empire.
  7. For adolescent girls, there were love stories. Novels like Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson and a series entitled What Katy Did by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey became very popular among girls.
  8. Novels became popular in India too but from the nineteenth century when Indians got familiar with the Western novel. Some of the earliest Indian novels were written in Bengali and Marathi. The earliest novel in Marathi was Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna Paryatan, which used a simple style of storytelling to speak about the plight of widows. This was followed by Lakshman Moreshwar Halbe’s.
  9. Novels began appearing in south Indian languages during the period of colonial rule. O. Chandu Menon’s Indulekha was the first modern novel in Malayalam. Kandukuri Viresalingam’s Rajashekhara Caritamu was in Telugu.
  10. In the north, novels began to be written in Hindi. The first proper modern Hindi novel titled Pariksha Guru was written by Srinivas Das of Delhi. But this novel could not win many readers, as it was perhaps too moralizing in its style.
  11. However, a novel-reading public in Hindi was created by the writings of Devaki Nandan Khatri. His best-seller, Chandrakanta is believed to have contributed immensely in popularising the Hindi language and the Nagari script among the educated classes of those times. But Hindi novel achieved excellence with the writing of Premchand. His novels like Sevasadan, Rangbhoomi and Godan became great hits.
  12. Many of the Bengali novels were located in the past, their characters, events and love stories based on historical events. Another group of novels dealt with the social problems and romantic relationships between men and women. The popular Bengali novelists were Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
  13. Novels were a valuable source of information on Indian customs and traditions. They were also meant to popularise some ideas. Writers like Viresalingam used the novel mainly to propagate their ideas about society among a wider readership. Novels also helped in creating a sense of natural pride among their readers by glorifying accounts of the past.
  14. The novel was a medium of entertainment among the middle class. The circulation of printed books allowed people to amuse themselves in new ways. There was a great demand for detective and mystery novels. Reading a novel was just like daydreaming.
  15. Not all welcomed novels. There were many people who advised, especially women and children to stay away from the immoral influence of novels. Some parents kept novels in the lofts in their house, out of their children’s reach. Young people often read them in secret.
  16. Women did not only read novels, they also began to write them. In the early decades of the twentieth century, women in south India wrote novels and short stories.
  17. By and by novels began to be written to empower women. Rokeya Hossein’s novel Padmarag showed the need for women to reform their condition by their own actions. With growing trend of writing novels or reading them among women, many men became suspicious. As a result, women began to write in secret.
  18. Novels were not only written by members of the upper caste but also by the lower caste. Potheri Kunjambu was a lower caste writer from north Kerala. He wrote a novel called Saraswativijayam in 1892, mounting a strong attack on caste oppression.
  19. From the 1920s, in Bengal too a new kind of novel emerged that depicted the lives of peasants and low castes. Advaita Malla Burman’s Titash Ekti Nadir Naam is an epic about the Mallas, a community of fisherfolk.
  20. Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer was a Muslim novelist in Malayalam. He wrote short novels and stories in the ordinary language of conversation. His novels spoke about details from the everyday life of Muslim households. He also brought into Malayalam writing themes which were considered very unusual at that time – poverty, insanity and life in prison.
  21. The novel helped in popularising the sense of belonging to a common nation. Another way was to include various classes in the novel so that they could be seen to belong to a shared world. Premchand’s novels are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of society.

Novels, Society and History Important Terms

Gentlemanly classes: 

  • People who claimed noble birth and high social position.


  • A type of novel written in the form of a series of letters.


  • A format in which the story is published in installments, each part in a new issue of a journal.


  • The normal, spoken form of a language rather than the formal, literary form.


  • A form of representation through writing, drawing, painting, etc. that provides a criticism of society in a manner that is witty and clever.


  • Representing an exemplary standard within a traditional and long-established form or style.

Notes of History Time Period

1740: Introduction of circulating libraries.

1749: Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones was issued in six volumes.

1836: Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers was serialized in a magazine.

1852: Karuna o Phulmonir Bibaran, first novel in Bengali was published.

1857: Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay’s Anguriya Binimoy, the first historical novel in Bengal was written.

1882: Srinivas Das’s novel Pariksha Guru was published. It was the first proper modern novel.

1885: Emile Zola’s Germinal was published on the life of a young miner in France.

1894: Jungle Book of Rudyard Kipling became great hits.

1905: Rokeya Hossein’s Sultana’s Dream was published. In it, she shows a topsy-turvy world in which women take the place of men.

1936: Godan was published and became Premchand’s best-known work.

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