Literary Genres and Subgenres

Topics: ArtComedy

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Last updated: December 4, 2019

Fiction
stories with imaginary characters and events

Historical Fiction
subgrene of Fiction, stories set in the past with fictional characters who take part in actual historical eventsExample: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

Realistic Fiction
subgenre of Fiction, stories with characters who take part in activities that could really happenExample: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Science Fiction
subgenre of Fiction, stories involving actual or future scientific phenomenaExample: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Fantasy
subgenre of Fiction, stories set in make-believe worlds, often with non-human charactersExample: Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S.

Lewis

Mystery
subgrenre of Fiction, stories with characters who try to solve a crime or unexplained eventExample: Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keen

Nonfiction
true stories of actual events or characters

Autobiography
subgenre of Nonfiction, a person’s life story written by himself or herselfExample: Black Boy by Richard Wright

Memoir
subgenre of Nonfiction, an account from person’s life story written by himself or herselfExample: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Biography
subgenre of Nonfiction, a person’s life story written by another personExample: Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg

Reference
subgenre of Nonfiction, information sources such as encyclopedias, yearbooks, directories, and atlasesExample: Britannica Encyclopedia

Information
subgenre of Nonfiction, a book or article that introduces the reader to various topical material and “how to” information on various subjectsExample: On Writing by Stephen King

Newspaper
subgenre of Nonfiction, a daily or weekly publication of current eventsExamples: The New York Times

Poetry
words arranged in metrical pattern, often using rhymed verse in an imaginative styleExample: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Play
a story for stage performance by actorsExample: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Folk Tale
an anonymous, timeless, and placeless story that was originally told rather than writtenExample: Aesop’s Fables

Epic Poetry
subgenre of poetry, lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nationExample: The Epic of Gilgamesh

Lyric Poetry
subegenre of poetry, typically express personal or emotional feelings and is traditionally the home of the present tenseExample: Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Dramatic Poetry
subgenre of poetry, any drama written as verse to be spokenExample: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Comedy
subgenre of play, any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or to amuse by inducing laughterExample: A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

Tragedy
subgenre of play, based on human suffering Example: Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Melodrama
subgenre of play, exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotionsExample: The Sorcerer by Gilbert and Sullivan

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