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A genre is a division of a particular form of art or utterance according to criteria particular to that form. In all art forms, genres are vague categories with no fixed boundaries. Genres are formed by sets of conventions, and many works cross into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. The scope of the word "genre" is usually confined to art and culture. In genre studies the concept of genre is not compared to originality. Rather, all works are recognized as either reflecting on or participating in the conventions of genre.



Genres are often divided into subgenres. Literature, for instance, can be organized according to the "poetic genres" and the "prose genres". Poetry might be subdivided into epic, lyric, and dramatic, while prose might be subdivided into fiction and non-fiction. Further subdivisions of dramatic poetry, for instance, might include comedy, tragedy, melodrama, and so forth. This parsing into subgenres can continue: "comedy" has its own genres, for example, including farce, comedy of manners, burlesque, and satire.

Science Fiction has perhaps more generally recognized subgenres than many other fields of literature, as a science fiction story may be firmly rooted in real scientific possibilities (See: Hard science fiction) as they are understood at the time of writing, or be highly and speculatively imaginative tales set in an extraterrestrial civilization for example, or in a parallel universe, an Alternate history, or outright Fantasy, all recognized subgenres of science fiction. A perhaps more apt term as coined by Robert A. Heinlein is 'Speculative fiction' , an umbrella term covering such genres that depict alternate realities. Thus, even fiction that depicts innovations ruled out by current scientific theory, such as stories about or based on faster-than-light travel, may still be classified as science fiction. More recently, the term science fantasy, which category covers stories which have elements of both hard science and fantasy, has come into play as a subgenre.

Generic conventions

This term describes traditions for each genre. These conventions help to define each genre; for example, they differentiate between an essay and journalistic writing or an autobiography and political writing.

Genre and audiences

Although most genres are often only vaguely definable, genre considerations are one of the most important factors in determining what a person will see or read. Many genres have built-in audiences and corresponding publications that support them, such as magazines and websites. Books and movies that are difficult to categorize into a genre are often less successful commercially.

"Hierarchy of Genres"

In the field of painting, there exists a "hierarchy of genres" associated with the Académie française which once held a central role in academic art. These genres in hierarchical order are:

These categories played an important role between the 17th century and the modern era, when painters and critics began to rebel against the many rules of the Académie française, including the Académie's preference for history painting.poo

Genre in philosophy

The concept of "genre" has played a notable role among philosophers of language, figuring very prominently in the works of philosopher and literary scholar Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin's basic observations were of "speech genres" (the idea of heteroglossia), modes of speaking or writing that people learn to mimic, weave together, and manipulate (such as "formal letter" and "grocery list", or "university lecture" and "personal anecdote"). The work of Georg Lukács also touches on the nature of literary genres, appearing separately but around the same time (1920s–1930s) as Bakhtin.

See also

Genre articles by field

Lists of media by genre

Relevant links

da:Genre de:Genre gl:Xénero ko:장르 he:סוגה nl:Genre ja:ジャンル ru:Жанры sq:Zhanri simple:Genre fi:Genre sv:Genre uk:Жанр uz:Janr

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