We explain what a literary genre is, the four genres that exist and their history. In addition, what are the lyrical and narrative subgenres.
What is a literary genre?
It is called a literary genre each specific category in which literary texts can be classified, according to the characteristics of their structure, its specific content or the mechanisms it uses to produce the aesthetic effect it pursues.
The literary genre is a horizon of expectations of the literary work, that is, a label that serves to give us an idea of what a specific book contains : that is why they are used in libraries or libraries as descriptors to organize their material.
These labels are conventional, that is, they are agreed upon and prior to the workmanship of each work, thus indicating to the reader the way in which it should be considered, what to expect from she, what are her fundamental characteristics, etc. Thus, no one who opens a book of poetry can expect a play.
The literary genres are four:
- Poetry The art of using the word to describe the objective or subjective reality of the poet, comparing it with another by means of similes and metaphors and embellishing it with musical turns of language.
- Narrative The art of building narratives told by a narrator, and presenting characters, actions and situations that move or evoke fascination.
- Dramaturgy. The art of composing theatrical texts, usually intended for live performance on stage. It involves characters and dialogues, but no narrator.
- Essay. The art of free reflection, that is to say, on a specific topic in a moving, convincing or simply beautiful way.
History of literary genres
A first attempt to classify the literary works was carried out by the well-known Greek philosopher Aristreles (384-322 BC) in his book to be to be considered the following genres, current:
- The pica . Mother de the narrative, consisted in an elaboration of legendary mythological facts of Greek culture, such as the Trojan War (narrated in Homer's Iliad ). For this, a narrator was employed, who dealt with the description, and dialogues were used. Initially it was written in verse, since it is prior to the invention of writing and was sung by heart by rapsodas.
- The lyric More or less equivalent to current poetry, it was more similar to singing and song, so it involved the use of accompanying musical instruments. However, the use of rhyme and metrics were similar to modern traditional poetry.
- The dramatic It was about writing and theatrical staging, which played a very important role in the culture of Ancient Greece, as it was the place of emotional and citizen formation of its inhabitants. It represented myths and episodes of religious-mythological origin, according to two great forms: tragedy and comedy.
See also: Literature.
Types of literary genre
Usually we speak of modern literary genres, to refer to the current ones: narrative, poetry, dramaturgy and essay; or to the classical literary genres (or of antiquity), to refer to those that Aristotle described in his Poetics : epic, dramatic and lyrical.
There is often talk of lyrical subgenres to refer to forms of verbal expression that employ procedures similar to poetry, and could be considered part of it. These subgenres are:
- The song . It is usually a description of a story or of a subjectivity through poetic images, accompanied by instrumental music.
- I chose her . A poetic composition to mourn the death of a loved one or admired.
- The ode A poetry composed to pay homage to an elevated or solemn theme.
- Satire . A poetic composition that seeks to ridicule or degrade someone or something.
- The eclogue Extensive poems of pastoral nature and bucolic imaginary (country).
Narrative subgenres are also the forms acquired by the art of literary narration:
- The story A brief exploration of a narrative situation closed in itself and told by a narrator.
- The short story . A hyperbreve form of story, similar to aphorism or verse.
- The novel An extensive and rambling exploration of a more vast and complex narrative, in which many characters often intervene and many events occur.
- The chronicle . A form of mixed narration that addresses real events, but from the techniques of literary composition.
The dramatic subgenres are those in which the texts of the plays are classified:
- Drama. The characters fight against a cruel and inexorable destiny and suffer the consequences.
- Comedy The characters are represented in a ridiculous or laughable manner and therefore move to laughter.
- Tragicomedy. A composition that alternates between drama and comedy.