"... the French and English classic conceptions of fiction are poles apart. The English classical novelists, Fielding, Dickens and the rest of them, descend from Shakespeare. A novel to them, like a Shakespeare play, was first of all a vivid, varied entertainment, full of incidents and strongly marked characters and humour and pathos and action. The French novel derives from a very different sort of drama, that of Racine; where we are presented with a single dramatic situation which is then logically developed to its conclusion. Its other parent is the French school of "moralist" writers, like Rochefoucauld and La Bruyère, who are concerned to analyse and define the springs of human conduct. The French classical novel, therefore, is out, not so much to entertain, as to illuminate. It is, first of all, a serious study of the principles governing human action. And its characteristics are logic, concentration, intellectual force. After the English novel it must seem, at first reading, a trifle bleak and monotone."
David CECIL, Poets and story-tellers, London, Constable and Company, 1949, p. 141.