Tag Archives: genres of literature

Genres of Literature – School Story


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The school story generally centers on older pre-adolescent and adolescent school life in the first half of the twentieth century. Other narratives do exist in other countries, but the most common theme is English boy or girl boarding schools reflecting the single-sex education typical until the 1950s. The focus is on friendship, honor and loyalty between pupils with plots involving sports events, bullies, secrets, rivalry and bravery.

The popularity declined after the Second World War, but remained popular in other forms, changing the focus to state run coeducational schools, and more modern concerns such as racial issues, family life, sexuality and drugs. The genre’s revival was due to the success of the Harry Potter series, with its many plot motifs.

The first boarding school story was The Governess, or The Little Female Academy by Sarah Fielding, published in 1749. A moralistic tale relaying the lives of nine girls in the school established aspects of the boarding school story repeated in later works. Fielding’s approach was imitated and used by both her contemporaries and other writers into the 19th century.

Even though children were not generally targeted until well into the nineteenth century, due to the concern of moral effects of novels on young minds, and so published narratives tended to lean towards moral instruction. The genre’s peak period was between the 1880s and the end of the Second World War, later comics featuring school stories became popular in the 1930s.

School stories do remain popular, with their shifting focus on more contemporary issues such as sexuality, racism, drugs and family difficulties. As we all know the Harry Potter series has revived the genre significantly, despite it’s fantasy conventions.

Do you (or did you) read school story novels/comics?

Have you written one?

Genres of Literature – Mathematical Fiction


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Mathematical fiction is a genre of creative fictional work, where mathematics and mathematicians play important roles. It is defined as any work “containing mathematics or mathematicians” but the form and the medium of the work is not important as it can still be treated as mathematical fiction. This genre can be in the form of short stories, novels or plays; comic books; films, videos, or audios.

The oldest extant work of mathematical fiction is The Birds, a comedy by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, which was performed in 414 BC. One of the earliest, more modern works in this genre is Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by schoolmaster, Edwin Abbott Abbott in 1884.

The genre of mathematical fiction may have existed since ancient times, but was only recently rediscovered as a genre of literature. It has become a growing body of literature  attracting a growing body of readers. For example, Abbot’s Flatland spawned a sequel in the 21st century: a novel titled Flatterland by Ian Stewart and published in 2001.

The genre is not seen as a ‘popular’ one, however there are numerous novels, short stories etc. that are under this genre. Take a look at the Goodreads list, I think you will be surprised. https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/math-fiction

Have you used math in any of your stories?

Have you read any of the books on the list?

Genres of Literature – Literary Nonsense


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Literary nonsense (or nonsense literary) is a category of literature, which balances elements that make sense with some that do not by an excess of meaning, rather than the lack of it. The most well-known form is nonsense verse and is present in many forms of literature. The nonsensical nature of this genre defines its humor, rather than wit or the typical punchline of a joke.  

Certain formal elements of language and logic facilitate the meanings of the piece and are balanced by elements that negate meaning. These formal elements include semantics, syntax, phonetics, context, representation, and formal diction. For a text to be within the genre of literary nonsense, it must have an abundance of nonsense techniques woven into the fabric of the piece. This is created by the use of faulty cause and effect, portmanteau, neologism, reversals and inversions, imprecision (including gibberish), simultaneity, picture/text incongruity, arbitrariness, infinite repetition, negativity or mirroring, and misappropriation. Nonsense tautology, reduplication, and absurd precision.

The genre has been recognized since the nineteenth century derived from two broad artistic sources. Firstly, oral folk tradition, including games, rhymes and songs, such as nursery rhymes. For example, Hey Diddle Diddle and Mother Goose. Secondly, the intellectual absurdities of scholars, court poets and other intellectuals who created sophisticated nonsense forms of religious travesties, political satire and Latin parodies. They are separate from  the pure satire and parody by their exaggerated nonsensical effects.

Today the genre is a combination of both of these methods. A popular writer, Edward Lear used this genre in his limericks. Other nonsense literature examples are The Owl and the Pussycat, The Dong with a Luminous Nose, The Jumblies,  and The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Around the World. Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, can be considered a nonsense novel.

A favorite of mine is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky – it is a quintessential nonsense poem.

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Do you have a favorite nonsense story or poem?

 

Genre of Literature – Social Novel


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The social novel, is also known as the social problem (or social protest) novel, the sociological novel and is a work of fiction, which dramatizes a prevailing social problem through the effect they have on the novel’s characters. Topics covered can be as diverse as gender, race, or class prejudice although the narrative can also address poverty, conditions in factories or mines, violence against women, rising criminality and epidemics caused by poor sanitation or overcrowding in urban areas.

 

Other terms used to define this genre are thesis novel, propaganda novel, industrial novel, working-class novel and problem novel. A more recent development in this genre is the young adult problem novel.

Early examples can be found in 18th century England, as well as throughout Europe and the United States. Henry Fielding’s Amelia (1751) and William Godwin’s Things as The Are OR The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) are thought precursors of the genre. During the social and political upheavals following the Reform Act of 1833 in England social novels began, such as Charles Dickens’ novels highlighting poverty and unhealthy living conditions. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (1862) was a significant protest novel. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) dealt with anti-slavery and The Grapes of Wrath is probably the best known social protest novel.

How many social novels have you read?

Have you written one?

 

 

Genres of Literature – Flash Fiction


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In short, Flash Fiction is a fictional piece of prose in extreme brevity but still offering character and plot development. They can be defined by word count, which includes the six-word story, the 280-character story; commonly known as twitterature’, the dribble or minisaga, 50 words, the drabble or microfiction, 100-words, sudden fiction (750 words), flash fiction (1000 words), nanotale and micro-story. This genre possesses a unique literary quality, in its ability to hint at or imply a larger story.  In the 1920s flash fiction was referred to as the “short short story”.

Flash fiction roots go back into prehistory, recorded at origin of writing, which included fables and parables, the best know is of course, Aesop’s Fables in the west, and Panchatantra and Jataka tales in India. In Japan, flash fiction was popularized in the post-war period particularly by Michio Tsuzuk. In the United State early forms were found int he 19th century by such notable figures as Ambrose Bierce, Walt Whitman and Kate Chopin.

There are many internet sites and magazines that accept flash or micro fiction. I have submitted micro stories before and found them to be great fun!

Here is a list of some sites:

http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/flash-fiction-list-resources

Have you tried micro fiction?

Which site(s) did you use?

I submitted quite a few to Espresso Fiction but alas there are no more 😦  It was a great exercise for me as a novice writer.