Thesis novel: Definition and famous examples


Thesis novel is a kind of novel that treats a social, political, or religious problem with a didactic and, perhaps, radical purpose. It certainly sets out to call people’s attention to the shortcomings of society.


Some outstanding examples of the genre are:

  • Charles Kingsley’s Alton Locke (1850)
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)
  • Charles Dickens’s Hard Times (1854)
  • Charles Reade’s Hard Cash (1863)
  • Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh (1903)
  • Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906)
  • Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (1914)
  • Walter Greenwood’s Love on the Dole (1933)
  • Winifred Holtby’s South Riding (1936)
  • John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
  • Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country (1948)
  • William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1954)

Utopian and dystopian visions in fictional form might also be included.

Also read: Money novel or Business novel or Economic novel

Also read: Panoramic Novel: Definition, Characteristics, and Examples

Also read: Newgate novel and its famous examples