Genre

Here you will find a general overview of genres and guides to particular genres.


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Handouts

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Literary and Dramatic Genres

Genre is a term that means "kind" or "type." It derives ultimately from a Latin word meaning family. In other words, we ask, What kind of thing is this work of literature? And we classify that work according to categories or genres that have been in use for millennia. Of course, the utility of genre for literary study and the genres themselves are much debated. Before one explores the contours of those debates, and before rejecting what has gone before, it is important to know the tradition. The genres discussed here are:

The standard descriptions are ancient Greek, modified over the centuries by literary theorists.