"fictitious narrative," 1566, from It. novella
"short story," originally "new story," from L. novella
"new things" (cf. M.Fr. novelle,
), neut. pl. or fem. of novellus
(adj.)). Originally "one of the tales or short stories in a collection" (esp. Boccaccio), later (1643) "long work of fiction," works which had before that been called romances
"A novel is like a violin bow; the box which gives off the sounds is the soul of the reader." [Stendhal, "Life of Henri Brulard"]
"writer of novels" is 1728, infl. by It. novellista.