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Literary Genres

What are they?

Works of art with similar styles and themes are categorised in genres.

These genres become a canon of works e.g. horror writing, adventure writing. Writers working in these genres may expect their work to be compared to other work within the genre.

It is possible for art to exist in multiple genres.

Adventure An exciting tale in which a character must escape a dangerous situation.
 Allegory A story in which the characters or setting represent real-world issues.
 Autobiography An account of one’s own life.
 Biography An account of someone else’s life.
 Children’s Literature aimed at children’s interest and reading level.
 Classic A work that, over time, has gained a widely held reputation of excellence.
 Comedy Art that is designed to be humorous.
 Comedy of the absurd Comedy created by ridiculous or bizarre situations.
 Crime Literature based around crime, criminals and crime solvers.
CritiqueAnalysis of another’s idea, art or philosophy, finding merit and fault.
 Drama A performance piece that is serious, but neither comedy nor tragedy.
 Epic Traditionally poetry, a lengthy retelling of a heroic life or time.
 Erotica Sexually arousing, but non-pornographic, art.
 Fairy Tale A short traditional folk tale using mythical and magical elements.
 Fantasy Story within a fantastical world with supernatural ideas and characters.
 Folklore Traditional stories passed down through the generations.
 Historical Fiction Story based in, and revolving around, a particular moment in history.
 Horror Art aimed to scare or disgust the audience.
 Humour Amusing works, which may be lightly humorous or full comedy.
LegendA folk tale set in history, but changed in time to heighten characteristics.  
 Memoir An author’s autobiographical memory of a particular time or incident.
 Meta Fiction Fiction which deliberately reminds readers it is invented by an author.
 Mystery A central mystery, usually with suspects, must be solved.
 Mythology Folk stories in a culture relating to its foundation, heroes and gods.
 Pulp Fiction Cheap fiction magazine of sensationalist, lurid, low brow stories.
 Realism A genre with fictional settings and characters that resemble reality.
 Romance A story in which romantic love is the characters’ driving force.
 Saga The interconnected lives of a group, usually family, across extended time.
 Satire Ironic characters or setting represent the faults of individuals or society.
Sci-fiA story based on imagined scientific advances and their consequences.
 Self-help A guide to help the reader improve their mind, relationships, or status.
 Suspense A plot with uncertainty and anxiety that the reader is eager to resolve.
 Teenage Literature aimed at teenagers, with teenage characters and themes.
 Thriller A story with an exciting, suspenseful story leading to a climactic ending.
 Tragedy A plot in which an event dooms the central character to a terrible end.
 Tragicomedy A mixture of tragedy and comedy, generally amusing with a tragic end.
 Western A story based in the US’s old west, with desert frontiers and gunslingers.
 Young Adult Fiction Adventure reflecting the relationships and challenges of early adulthood.
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