The main question posed in the article is, was the historical development of the novel characterized by an increase in the quantity of dialogues? To test whether this is true, the author conducted a quantitative study of four hundred Russian novels of the nineteenth century. Using the “coefficient of dialogic liveliness” — a measure suggested by Boris Yarkho in the 1930s — this article suggests an answer in the affirmative. In addition, it attempts to answer three subsequent questions: (1) Why did the number of dialogues increase? (2) Why was this increase not linear? (3) Why did some of the highly dialogic Russian novels appear already at the beginning of the nineteenth century? The first problem is explained by some psychological features of readers' perceptions of dialogues. The second problem is answered by the theory of evolution. The third problem is solved by a brief analysis of the historical context of the epoch.

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