Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A long novel, often in many volumes, chronicling the history of several generations of a family, community, or other group and often presenting an overall view of society during a particular epoch. Also called saga novel.

Etymologies

French : roman, novel + fleuve, river.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • All twelve volumes of Powell's famous roman-fleuve about the shattering transformations of first interwar and then post-WWII England, told through the partly autobiographical figure of novelist Nicholas Jenkins.

    This Week's Acquisitions

  • Perhaps when my book is finished and gone from my hands, I may take steps to become somehow a character in that grand roman-fleuve begun by other vampires in San Francisco or New Orleans.

    Excerpt: Vittorio The Vampire by Anne Rice

  • There is an amusing scene in Anthony Powell's roman-fleuve, A Dance to the Music of Time, in which a brigadier demands of a very junior officer what he thinks of Trollope.

    Living with Trollope

  • After the years of the First World War, which Martin du Gard spent almost entirely in the front lines, he devoted most of his time to the writing of the «roman-fleuve», Les

    Roger Martin du Gard - Biography

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Comments

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  • A long, multi-volume novel which presents the history of several generations of a family or community. In both French and English, saga tends to be used more.

    June 19, 2009