The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A genre is any of the traditional divisions of art forms from a single field of activity into various kinds according to criteria particular to that form.

"Genre" is originally a French word meaning "kind", "sort" or "type"; in grammatical terminology, it refers to the artificial concept of masculine or feminine grammatical gender (the noun "genre" itself belongs to the masculine gender in French, for example).

A genre is always a vague term with no fixed boundaries. Many works also cross into multiple genres. In general there are three types of genre:

In arts such as music, painting, and sculpture genre is almost mostly determined by format and style.

While vague, genre is also extremely important. Genre considerations are one of the most important factors in determining what a person will see or read. Many genres have built in audiences, and supporting such as magazines and websites. Books and movies that are hard to plug into a genre are often less successful.

Genre's are also divided into sub-genres in literature endeavour, we often refer to the "poetic genres " and the "prose genres ". Poetry might be subdivided into epic, lyric and dramatic, while prose might be divided into fiction and non-fiction. These can be further subdivided with dramatic poetry divided into comedy, tragedy, melodrama and so forth. This division can continue: "comedy" has its own genres, including farce, comedy of manners, burlesque, satire.


Hierarchy of genres

In the field of painting, there exists a hierarchy of genres associated with the Académie française which held a central role in Academic art. These genres in hierarchical order are:

These categories played an important role between the 17th century and the modern era, when painters and critics began to rebel against the many rules of the Académie française, including the preference for history painting.

Genres by field

Lists of media by genre

External links

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