Peter Boxall's The Value of the Novel offers a reappraisal of the ethical, political and literary value of the novel as a genre at turning point in the history both of literature and of criticism. As the dominant critical concerns of the twentieth century faded, and new cultural and technological environments emerged, Boxall argues that we lost our collective sense of the purpose of the novel. This book responds to this predicament by demonstrating why and how the novel matters to us today. Ranging from Daniel Defoe to Zadie Smith, Boxall shows how the formal properties of the novel allow us to imagine the worlds in which we live. This is a vibrant, compelling and richly informed critical perspective that asks us to see anew how central fiction is to our idea of the world, and how richly the novel informs our attempts to understand our present and our future.