Conclusion: Genre and Instability

Frederick J. Ruf

in Entangled Voices

Published in print March 1997 | ISBN: 9780195102635
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853458 | DOI:
Conclusion: Genre and Instability

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The chapters in this book emphasize irregularity, dissonance, and fragmentation. It might seem that the present chapter has had Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Biographia Literaria as its model for literature and that the dissociated ravings of the “young woman of four or five and twenty” could come to stand for the voices of all genres. What could be more different from the usual view of genre, either that dominated by narrative, which sees coherence and intelligibility bringing, in Plato's words, “calm and wise character,” or a more varied view that sees each historical genre possessing its own, rather specific and rather strict, parameters. In either case, genre results predominantly in orderliness, not dissonance. This chapter proposes viewing genre in a somewhat different way than is customary today, arguing that it is useful to preserve the link between genre and instability. Most conventional forms incorporate assumptions about the reality of a highly unified and coherent self.

Keywords: narrative; voice; orderliness; voices; self; genres; dissonance; coherence; intelligibility

Chapter.  2942 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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