UTEL [ History of English | English Composition | Literary Authors | Literary Works | Literary Criticism ]
Glossary [ Main Entries | Key Words | Index of Names ]


Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown


A term used to describe types or categorizations of literature: tragedy, comedy, epic, lyric, pastoral, novel, short story, biography, essay, and so forth. Prior to the nineteenth century, it was assumed that the laws of genre were fixed and stable and that they provided objective criteria for evaluation. Today it is commonplace to acknowledge their arbitrary, conventional, and historical nature.

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
Hypertext and HTML by Christopher Douglas
University of Toronto English Library
Director: Ian Lancashire.
Last modified: March 31, 1997