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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Romance

  ROMANCE   noun
Fiction that owes no allegiance to the God of Things as They Are.  In the novel the writer's thought is tethered to probability, as a domestic horse to the hitching-post, but in romance it ranges at will over the entire region of the imagination -- free, lawless, immune to bit and rein.  Your novelist is a poor creature, as Carlyle might say -- a mere reporter.  He may invent his characters and plot, but he must not imagine anything taking place that might not occur, albeit his entire narrative is candidly a lie.  Why he imposes this hard condition on himself, and 'drags at each remove a lengthening chain' of his own forging he can explain in ten thick volumes without illuminating by so much as a candle's ray the black profound of his own ignorance of the matter.  There are great novels, for great writers have 'laid waste their powers' to write them, but it remains true that far and away the most fascinating fiction that we have is 'The Thousand and One Nights.'

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911


Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30