Genre

Genre is a category of composition, whether that is artistic, literary, or musical. A genre is defined by its style, content, and approach to its subject matter.

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  • Absurd
    The absurd is a style of writing that is influenced by humanity’s isolation and a lack of logic in the universe.
  • Adventure Story
    An adventure story tells the tale of a protagonist’s journey. They go on an adventure or quest: one that could be personal or geographical.
  • Agitprop
    Agitprop is political propaganda conveyed through art, music, literature, and films.
  • Alba
    Alba is a specific type of poetry. It’s a genre of lyric poetry from the Old Occitan period, also known as the Old Provençal.
  • Antinovel
    An antinovel is any novel that disregards traditional conventions of novel-writing. These books push the limits of what a novel can be.
  • Apologue
    An apologue is a short story, sometimes a fable, that shares a moral lesson. For example, kindness is more important than power, or love triumphs over hate.
  • Arthurian Literature 
    Arthurian Literature is a category of writing that encompasses stories written during the 12th, 13th, and later centuries that tell the story of King Arthur and his court.
  • Autobiography
    An autobiography is an account of one’s life written by the subject.
  • Beast Fable
    A beast fable, also known as an animal tale, is a short story or long poem that uses animal characters to relay a moral or narrative. 
  • Bildungsroman
    A bildungsroman is a literary genre that focuses on coming of age stories, following a character's progression towards adulthood.
  • Biography
    A biography is an account or description of a person's life, literary, fictional, historical, or popular in nature, written by a biographer.
  • Burlesque
    Burlesque is a style of literature that mocks its subject. Burlesque writers represent their subjects using irony and obviously outrageous imagery. 
  • Campus Novel
    The campus novel, also known as the academic novel, is a book set around a university or college campus.
  • Carol
    A carol is a song sung during a festive period, such as Christmas, although not exclusively. They are usually religious in nature.
  • Chick Lit 
    Chick lit is a genre of literature that focuses on female protagonists. These stories are usually targeted at younger women and are described as “popular fiction.”
  • Chivalric Romance
    Chivalric Romance is a genre of literature and culture popular during the Medieval and Early Modern periods in Europe from the 12th century.
  • Chronicle
    A chronicle is an account of events that occurs in the order that they happened in. The term is usually associated with historical events.
  • Chronicle Novel 
    A chronicle novel is a long novel, or one in a series of novels, that follows at least two generations of a family or group.
  • Classicism
    Classicism is a term used to describe literature that reflected the thoughts and ideas from Ancient Greece and Rome. 
  • Comedy
    Comedy is a humorous and entertaining genre of literature, film, and television.
  • Coming-of-Age Novel
    A coming-of-age novel is a book that tells the story of a character growing up and going through a series of important life-defining changes.
  • Companion Poems
    Companion poems are pieces of poetry that were written to accompany one another. They can also be poems written by multiple authors in response to one another. 
  • Confessional Poetry
    Confessional Poetry is a style of poetry that is personal, often making use of a first-person narrator. It is a branch of Postmodernism that emerged in the US in the 1950s.
  • Detective Story
    The detective story is a sub-genre of fiction that follows an investigator as they try to track down a criminal, solve a crime, or prevent one from happening. 
  • Dime Novel
    A dime novel is a form of short, cheap fiction popular during the 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. 
  • Documentary
    A documentary or documentary film is a genre of non-fictional filmmaking. It is used for the purpose of sharing real-life events as they happened. 
  • Drama
    Drama is a mode of storytelling that uses dialogue and performance. It’s one of several important literary genres that authors engage with.
  • Dystopia
    A dystopia is the opposite of a utopia. It is an imagined place or community in which the majority of the people suffer. 
  • Elegy
    An elegy, in literature, is a poem or song that is written in dedication to someone who has died.
  • Epic Poetry
    An epic is a long narrative poem that tells the story of heroic deeds, normally accomplished by more-than-human characters.
  • Epistolary
    An epistolary novel is a book made up of a series of documents, usually letters, diary entires, or newspaper clippings.
  • Essay
    An essay is a short piece of writing that is based around a single subject. More often than not, the personal opinion of the author is included. 
  • Fable
    A fable is a short and concise story that provides the reader with a moral lesson at the end.
  • Fabliau
    A fabliau is a traditional French tale penned by an anonymous writer between 1150 and 1400. These were usually written by jongleurs or medieval entertainers.
  • Fairy Tale
    Fairy tales are short stories that include fanciful and magical elements such as goblins, elves, fairies, and ogres.
  • Fantasy
    Fantasy is a literary genre that includes talking animals, magic, and other worlds. It includes plots that couldn’t take place in the real world.
  • Farce
    A farce is a genre of comedic literature. It uses exaggerated and outrageous situations to create humor and make the audience laugh.
  • Folk Song
    A folk song is a piece of music that was composed within the parameters of folk music. These songs are usually about a particular group of people, an event, or an experience. 
  • Folklore
    Folklore refers to stories that people tell. These include folk stores, fairy tales, urban legends, and more. 
  • Ghost Story
    A ghost story is any story that involves a supernatural, ghost element. It is a subgenera of fantasy and mystery.
  • Gothic
    Gothic literature, poetry, and prose is that which deals with themes of death, the supernatural, sorrow, fear, loss, and more.
  • Historical Fiction
    Historical Fiction is a genre that fictionalizes real places, people, and events. It takes place in the past with accurate historical details in regard to customs, technologies, people, and events.
  • History Play
    A history play is a genre of theatre. It is based on a historical events, usually set sometime in the past with characters from the period. 
  • Homily
    A homily is a speech delivered by a religious person, usually a priest, in front of a group of people.
  • Horror
    Horror is a genre of fiction that plays with human fear, feelings of terror, dread, and repulsion to entertain the audience. 
  • Hysterical Realism
    Hysterical realism is a genre of fiction, coined by James Wood. It refers to novels that he found to be absurdly elaborate in their use of characters and plots and that delve into real-life experiences.
  • Idyll
    An idyll is a type of short poem that describes rural life or a natural scene.
  • Lampoon
    A lampoon is a type of satire in which a person or thing is attacked unjustly. They can be found in prose and verse.
  • Legend
    A legend is a genre of folklore that features stories about human events and actions.
  • Lyric Poem
    A lyric poem is a musically inclined, short verse that speaks on poignant and powerful emotions.
  • Magical Realism
    Magical Realism is a genre of fiction writing that is interested in imbuing the modern realistic world with magical, fantastical elements.
  • Medievalism
    Medievalism is a set of beliefs that are inspired by the Middle Ages in Europe. It’s possible to find examples of Medievalism in art, music, literature, philosophy, architecture, and more. 
  • Melodrama
    A melodrama is a work of literature or a theatrical performance that uses exaggerated events and characters.
  • Metafiction
    Metafiction refers to stories in which the characters, author, or narrator acknowledge the fact that they're parts of a fiction.
  • Morality Play
    A morality play is a genre of theatre popular in the medieval and Tudor period. 
  • Myth
    A myth is a genre of folklore that usually includes a hero and sometimes fanatical elements. 
  • Mythopoeia
    Mythopoeia is a genre of modern literature (and film) that refers to the creation of artificial mythology.
  • Naturalism
    Naturalism is a nineteenth-century literary and arts genre that focuses on the realistic depiction of life and all its struggles
  • Newgate Novel
    The Newgate novel, or the Old Bailey novel, is a type of book published in England from the 1820s to the 1840s that glamorizes criminals' lives.
  • Novel
    A novel is a long, written, fictional narrative that includes some amount of realism.
  • Novella
    A novella is a prose, fiction work that’s shorter than a novel and longer than a short story. 
  • Nursery Rhyme
    A nursery rhyme is a short rhyming song or poem that conveys a lesson or tells an amusing story. They are aimed at children.
  • Paean
    A paean expresses thanks, elation, or triumph through the form of a song or lyrical poem.
  • Parody
    A parody is created based on an already existing work in order to make fun of it.
  • Pastiche
    A pastiche is a literary creation that imitates a famous work by another author.
  • Pastoral
    Pastoral poetry is a genre or mode of poetry that refers to works that idealize country life and the landscape they take place in.
  • Penny Dreadful
    Penny dreadfuls were a cheap, serialized form of literature popular in the nineteenth century. 
  • Picaresque Novel
    A picaresque novel is a genre of prose fiction that depicts a roughish hero who experiences episodic adventures.
  • Play (Theatre)
    A play is a form of writing for theatre. It is divided into acts and scenes. 
  • Prose
    Prose is a written and spoken language form that does not make use of a metrical pattern or rhyme scheme.
  • Psalm
    A psalm is a sacred song of worship, such as those featured in the Book of Psalms in the Bible.
  • Psychological Realism
    Psychological realism is a type of realism that focuses on why a character does what they do.
  • Pulp Fiction 
    Pulp fiction is a type of short, cheap storytelling that was popular from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s.
  • Romance
    Romance is a narrative genre of literature. It can feature elements that include mystery, adventure, bravery, and more.
  • Science Fiction
    Science fiction is a literary genre that focuses on imaginative content based in science. 
  • Sensation Novel
    The sensation novel was a genre of literature that took advantage of outrageous and sensational topics to entertain readers. 
  • Short Story
    A short story is a piece of writing with a narrative that’s shorter than a novel. These stories usually only take one sitting to read.
  • Theatre of Cruelty 
    The Theatre of Cruelty is an experimental genre of theatre that’s concerned more with audience sense-experience than it is with dialogue and content.
  • Thriller 
    The thriller is a genre of fiction that is defined by its wide variety of sub-genres. They range from crime to science fiction.
  • Tragedy
    The word “tragedy” refers to a type of drama that explores serious, sometimes dark, and depressing subject matter.
  • Tragedy of Blood 
    Tragedy of Blood theatre, also known as revenge tragedy or revenge drama, is a genre of theatre that’s primarily concerned with revenge and its consequences.
  • Tragicomedy
    A tragicomedy is a fictional genre that incorporates elements of tragedies and comedies.
  • Utopia
    The word “utopia” refers to a perfect, or nearly perfect, place or ideal. 
  • Vaudeville
    Vaudeville is a genre of entertainment or theatre that originated in France in the 19th century. It is based in lightly comical situations without deeper moral intentions. They included dances and songs. 
  • What is a Poem?
    A poem can be written down or spoken aloud. It is a collection of ideas and emotions in a creative way.
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