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Genre, by John Frow (Taylor & Francis, 2006)


A type or category of artistic composition (as in film or literature), marked by a distinctive style, form, or content. Adjective: generic.


From the Latin, "kind"


  • "Focus in on the genre you want to write, and read books in that genre. A LOT of books by a variety of authors. And read with questions in your mind."
    (Nicholas Sparks, "How to Learn the Craft," 2002)

  • "[F]ar from being merely 'stylistic' devices, genres create effects of reality and truth, authority and plausibility, which are central to the different ways the world is understood in the writing of history or of philosophy or of science, or in painting, or in everyday talk. These effects are not, however, fixed and stable, since texts--even the simplest and most formulaic--do not 'belong' to genres but are, rather, uses of them; they refer not to 'a' genre but to a field or economy of genres, and their complexity derives from the complexity of that relation."
    (John Frow, Genre. Taylor & Francis, 2006)

  • "Traditionally, the study of literature has been centered on analysis and interpretation in three genres--poetry, fiction, and drama; the study of creative writing has also focused on those genres; and composition has become the domain of nonfiction. We believe that this unnatural separation can be bridged by acknowledging creative nonfiction as the fourth genre. That is, we think of creative nonfiction simultaneously as a form of literature, as a goal of creative writing, and as the aesthetic impulse in composition."
    (Robert L. Root, Jr., and Michael Steinberg, The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction. Allyn and Bacon, 1999)

  • "Genre, as many students of the subject have observed, functions much like a code of behavior established between the author and his reader. When we agree to attend a formal dinner, we tacitly accept the assumption that we will don the appropriate attire; the host in turn feels an obligation to serve a fairly elaborate meal and to accompany it with wine rather than, say, offering pizza and beer. Similarly, when we begin to read a detective novel, we agree to a willing suspension of disbelief."
    (Heather Dubrow, Genre. Taylor & Francis, 1982)

  • The Difference Between Genre and Style
    "These two terms--genre and style--are often loosely used, and perhaps they are not susceptible to any complete clarification, but for our purposes it will be useful to make at least a rudimentary distinction between them. Genre refers to things regularly done and style to a regular way of doing things. In painting, landscape is a genre and impressionism is a style. Genres are social and durable; they persist through changes of style. A style is more local, often personal, as when we speak of Shakespearean comedy as opposed to Jonsonian comedy or Monet's impressionism as opposed to Renoir's. Both genres and styles, however, manifest themselves in recurrent patterns or codes that can be constructed by analyzing a set of individual texts."
    (Robert Scholes, Textual Power: Literary Theory and the Teaching of English. Yale University Press, 1985)

  • "I mean, whatever you think about the whole superhero movie genre, at least it's getting people to read the original source material."
    (Samaire Armstrong as Anna Stern, "The Debut." The O.C., 2003)
Pronunciation: ZHAN-ruh
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