Hot answers tagged

10 votes
Accepted

What is steampunk?

The term was coined by science fiction author K. W. Jeter in a letter to Locus in April 1987: Dear Locus: Enclosed is a copy of my 1979 novel Morlock Night; I’d appreciate your being so good as to ...
user avatar
  • 38.8k
9 votes

How is 'flash fiction' a distinctive genre?

You might think of flash fiction as a very short story (it is sometimes also referred to as a short short story). Most magazines that specialize solely in flash fiction don't accept fiction that is ...
user avatar
  • 1,167
7 votes

What is the difference between a philosophical novel and a novel of ideas?

My go-to source for authority on a matter like this is J.A. Cuddon's A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Here is the definition there for "novel of ideas": A vague category of ...
user avatar
  • 1,305
7 votes

Why are Dwarfs almost always technologically advanced compared to other races?

While every fantasy series tends to deal slightly differently with their fantasy races, there tend to be some common denominators. Dwarves are generally written as living underground. Dwarves are ...
user avatar
  • 256
6 votes
Accepted

What would a biography on an animal be called?

Biographies of animals are not a very common genre, although it is not difficult to find examples with a bit of digging: Flush: A Biography (1933) by Virginia Woolf is the "imaginative biography" (...
user avatar
  • 38.1k
6 votes

Is Harry Potter a coming of age story?

Why can't HP be both? I particularly like your comment about HP being a hero-slaying-the-dragon story, and I agree that if you have to choose 1 trope to force HP into, this may be the best one. ...
user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Where did Camus define "the novel as the place where the human being is abandoned to other human beings"?

Albert Camus' essay L'Homme révolté (1951, The Rebel) contains a chapter entitled "Roman et révolte", in which the author says (emphasis mine), Qu’est-ce que le roman, en effet, sinon cet ...
user avatar
  • 38.1k
5 votes
Accepted

What is the "uncanny" element of Gothic Literature?

I'm going to use a character well-known in the gothic for this answer: Dracula. Count Dracula is uncanny because he reminds us of a human, yet something is amiss in his appearance. He is ...
user avatar
  • 116
5 votes

How is Hamlet different from a conventional Elizabethan revenge play?

tl;dr It isn't. Hamlet and its contemporaries Hamlet is one of a cluster of similar plays that were tremendously popular on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage that are now grouped as revenge tragedies....
user avatar
  • 15.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Etymology of "iamb", as a genre and a type of metre

In A Prosody Handbook, Karl Shapiro and Robert Beum claim: The Latin iambus derives from a Greek word meaning "a cripple." The short syllable represents the lame foot, the long one ...
user avatar
  • 15.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Were the Just William stories written for adults or children?

Well, Richmal Crompton did say in a radio interview that when she started writing these 'Just William' stories, her intention was to write those stories for adults about children. Listen to the ...
user avatar
5 votes

How does "How Nnedi Got Her Curved Spine" meet the definition of creative nonfiction?

This strikes me more as referencing Tolkien's attitude towards myths and Christianity in particular: Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was [... that] the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a ...
user avatar
  • 4,506
4 votes

Who was the first author of humorous ghost stories?

Lewis Carroll’s Phantasmagoria, of 1869, should probably be included here. This is quite a long and funny ghost story in poetic form. To give some idea of the humour involved, the poem begins like ...
user avatar
4 votes

Can all forms of drama be categorised under the four types 'tragedy', 'comedy', 'tragicomedy' and 'melodrama'?

The main issue with the list of genres in the question is that it mixes terms that have been used since antiquity (especially tragedy and comedy) with terms that are particular to specific periods or ...
user avatar
  • 38.1k
3 votes

Is there a term for stories that act to teach the reader (not the characters) a lesson without the use fantastical elements?

You have actually used the word in your question: such tales are parables. The term parable often is given narrow application that refers to specifically a story from the Gospels that illustrates a ...
user avatar
  • 15.3k
3 votes

Who was the first author of humorous ghost stories?

An earlier example of a humorous ghost story is "The Rival Ghosts" by Brander Matthews, published in Harper's Magazine volume 68 (pages 905–913), in 1884, i.e. just three years before "...
user avatar
  • 38.1k
3 votes

How is Hamlet different from a conventional Elizabethan revenge play?

Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy was immensely popular; not only was it printed ten times between 1592 and 1633 (although only one copy of the 1592 edition has survived), it was also quoted, alluded ...
user avatar
  • 38.1k
3 votes
Accepted

How are old horror short stories classified?

Most of the authors you list belong to a genre known as Weird Fiction. The Wikipedia article on the genre has four out of the five authors you name under its list of notable contributors and names Poe ...
user avatar
  • 14.3k
3 votes

What are genres? Are they a useful concept?

I would argue that a genre is a kind of non-spoken contract between creator and reader, an implicit understanding of some of the things that has to be accepted to make the work function as intended. ...
user avatar
  • 3,253
3 votes
Accepted

Did medieval romances develop into modern romances?

In this English SE discussion, the history of romance in literature was covered fairly extensively; and we basically concluded that romance originally meant stories or histories styled poetically (i.e....
user avatar
  • 146
3 votes

What is trauma literature?

It's certainly true that trauma and traumatic events feature in many works of literature. However, Trauma Literature focuses on trauma as a central theme, and often on the difficulty of expressing ...
user avatar
  • 366
2 votes

What is the difference between a philosophical novel and a novel of ideas?

As well as Leszek Kolek's 1975 work, I have now found a second text that offers contrasting definitions of the two terms: Timothy Bewes's "What is 'Philosophical Honesty' in Postmodern Literature?" (...
user avatar
  • 169
2 votes
Accepted

What genre did Arthur Hailey's works belong to?

The Guardian refers to the Hailey as a germinator of the "factional" genre. The fruit of diligent research, which in his long (seldom under 500-page) novels was sometimes dispensed in barely ...
user avatar
  • 1,508
2 votes

What's the distinction between a narrative and an essay?

I'm no expert, but I do think there can be an overlap here. A narrative is traditionally defined as a piece of writing chronicling a connected series of events or a story in which a person or various ...
user avatar
2 votes

"Literary theory": Genre or field?

I too have asked myself similar questions... Literary Theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature. However, literary ...
user avatar
2 votes

What is the genre after post-apocalypse?

The SF Encyclopedia describes this sub-genre under the heading ‘Ruined Earth’, by which it means: the longer-range sf aftermath of Disaster and Holocaust scenarios typified by: The rusting ...
user avatar
  • 38.8k
1 vote

Is there a term for stories that act to teach the reader (not the characters) a lesson without the use fantastical elements?

This type of literature is known as didactic literature; the term refers to any work of literature that aims to instruct the reader. Hesiod's Works and Days is an early Greek example; Lucretius's De ...
user avatar
  • 38.1k
1 vote
Accepted

Do genre(s) of literature exist which take advantage of the Zeigarnik Effect?

Regarding the Zeigarnik Effect itself, it's a bit of a leap from an unfinished task being more memorable, to thinking that unresolved threads in a novel make the novel more memorable. In any case, ...
user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible