What's the longest novel ever published?
The "Guinness Book of World Records" says that Marcel Proust's "� la recherche du temps perdu" ("Remembrance of Things Past" or "In Search of Lost Time") holds the world record for the longest novel, at approximately 9,609,000 characters. But the novel is presented in multiple volumes, so sticklers don't always agree with Guinness.
"A Suitable Boy" by Vikram Seth has 1,349 pages and approximately 3,374,000 characters. It's claimed to be the "longest single volume novel ever published" in English. Before Seth's novel, others turned to Samuel Richardson's "Clarissa" as the longest novel with over a million words (and about 5,500,000 characters). This is where all the character, word, and volume counts blur and we begin to get a headache
-- because sometimes "Clarissa" is published as one intact book, and sometimes it's in volumes.
For simplicity's sake, we'll go with Proust.
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