Michael J. Lewis:
It seems absurd to predict that the novel itself might one day become extinct, and yet Orwell was right to connect its heyday to the “Protestant centuries.” From Defoe and Fielding to Austen and Dickens, the stuff of the novel was the account of finding one’s place in the world—either through marriage, choice of profession, or journey of inner growth. In feudal Europe, however, one’s place in the world was fixed. Before the novel could come into existence, the specific course of the individual life had to become a thing of interest, and for this to happen, the feudal order had to fall.
From a long read entitled “How Are Became Irrelevant?”, recommended with a 2015 Sidney Award by David Brooks.