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Derived ultimately from the Latin word ‘genus’ (used in biology to classify sub-groups of a particular species), it is used in literary and film studies to distinguish different types of works bearing a ‘family resemblance’ in terms of composition, structure, or subject matter. In literary studies it is used in two ways: first, on a meta-level, it is used to distinguish between prose, poetry, and drama; second, it used to distinguish between different types of compositions within those groups (e.g., lyric poems, epic poems, haiku, and so on). In film studies it tends to be used only to separate conventional narrative types (e.g. romance, thriller, action-adventure, and so on).

Further Reading:

J. Frow Genre (2005).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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