A literary genre may fall under either one of two categories: (a) a work of fiction, involving non-factual descriptions and events invented by the author; or (b) a work of nonfiction, in which descriptions and events are understood to be factual. In literature, a work of fiction can refer to a short story, novella, and novel, the latter being the longest form of literary prose. Every work of fiction falls into a literarysubgenre, each with its own style, tone, and storytelling devices.
Moreover, these genres are formed by shared literary conventions that change over time as new genres are emerge while others fade. Accordingly, they are often defined by the cultural expectations and needs of a particular historical and, cultural moment or place.
According to Alastair Fowler, the following elements can be used to define genres: organizational features (chapters, acts, scenes, stanzas); length; mood; style; the reader’s role (e.g., in mystery works, readers are expected to interpret evidence); and the author’s reason for writing (an epithalamion is a poem composed for marriage).
Genres are formed by shared literary conventions that change over time as new genres emerge while others fade. As such, genres are not wholly fixed categories of writing; rather, their content evolves according to social and cultural contexts and contemporary questions of morals and norms.
The most enduring genres are those literary forms that were defined and performed by the Ancient Greeks; definitions sharpened by the proscriptions of modern civilization's earliest literary critics and rhetorical scholars, such as Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Aeschylus, Aspasia, Euripides, and others. The prevailing genres of literary composition in Ancient Greece were all written and constructed to explore cultural, moral, or ethical questions; they were ultimately defined as the genres of epic, tragedy, and comedy. Aristotle's proscriptive analysis of tragedy, for example, as expressed in his Rhetoric and Poetics, saw it as having 6 parts (music, diction, plot, character, thought, and spectacle) working together in particular ways. Thus, Aristotle established one of the earliest delineations of the elements that define genre.
Historical: works that take place in the past—which can be real, imagined, or a combination of both. Many such works involve actual historical figures or historical events within historical settings.
Pop culture: fiction written with the intention of being filled with references from other works and media. Stories in this genre focused solely on using pop culture references.
Realist: works that are set in a time and place that are true to life (i.e. that could actually happen in the real world), abiding by real-world laws of nature. They depict real people, places, and stories in order to be as truthful as possible.
Satire: usually fiction and less frequently in non-fiction, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement.
Mystery: fiction that follows a crime (e.g., a murder, a disappearance) as it is committed, investigated, and solved, as well as providing clues and revealing information/secrets as the story unfolds.
Detective: fiction that follows a detective or other investigator (professional, amateur, or retired) as they investigate or solve a mystery/crime. Detective novels generally begin with a mysterious incident (e.g., death). One of the most popular examples is the Sherlock Holmes stories; well-known detective novelists include Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler.
Horror (including comics and magazines) involves fiction in which plot and characters are tools used to elicit a feeling of dread and terror, as well as events that often evoke fear in both the characters and the reader. Horrors generally focus on themes of death, demons, evil spirits, and the afterlife.
Literary fiction is a term used to distinguish certain fictional works that possess commonly held qualities to readers outside genre fiction. Literary fiction has been defined as any fiction that attempts to engage with one or more truths or questions, hence relevant to a broad scope of humanity as a form of expression.Genre fiction is a term used to distinguish fictional works written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre, in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre. There are many sources that help readers find and define literary fiction and genre fiction.
Immram - Old Irish tales concerning a hero's sea journey to the Otherworld
Milesian tale - a travelogue told from memory by a narrator who every now and then would relate how he encountered other characters who told him stories which he would then incorporate into the main tale.