To define genre is to embark on a conjectural journey within a theoretical minefield. Genre theory has drawn immense debate and contemplation throughout literary history, however, several conclusions have emerged. Genre types are unfixed categories whose characteristics differ considerably among the specific genres; furthermore, the role of literary history plays a significant role in discussions of genre, for genre types evolve and shift with each new literary text. An approach to the discussion of genre, family resemblances, illustrates similar conventions among texts within a genre, but there are significant problems in this approach. There are several ways to discuss genre, and although problems abound in any approach, the subjective nature of the literary experience calls attention to the importance of the interaction between reader and text to provide the final word on genre.
The difference between creative nonfiction and fiction is unassuming: fiction is derived from the fabrications of an author’s imagination, whereas creative nonfiction is contingent on facts. A novelist has the freedom to create scenes which never existed, whereas an author of creative nonfiction must convey a truthful story. However, the line between creative nonfiction and fiction, fact and falsehood, has become ever so thin as “writers of memoir [have been] revealed to be frauds and fiction writers masquerade as memoirists in order to sell books” (Bradley 203). Recent events have revealed authors such as James Frey and Tim Barrus to have combined elements of fiction and nonfiction within their creative nonfiction books (Buck 56), further blurring this line. Overlooked embellishments and whole fabrications were found to exist within their alleged creative nonfiction works – stirring angst within the nonfiction community (Bradley 208).
The more explicit devices of authenticity faded from use, and a new sense of self-awareness emerged as novelists argued for legitimacy within the narrative. In Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, the story is just as important as its construction. The narrator, at times barely distinguishable from the author, frequently intrudes, expounding on the tale but also explaining how and why the narrative works. The meticulous documentation of the "art" of the novel shows that writing novels (as well as reading them) is not idle work. By Jane Austen's time, the genre had a clear enough definition of itself that her narrators rarely occasioned to intrude like Fielding's.
For many years, this period and these writers were known as the American Renaissance, a coin termed by F.O. Matthiessen in his book of that name in 1941. This book set the parameters of how to read and connect these writers until relatively recently, when its limitations, especially in terms of defining the "canon" of literary giants and what made them (all male) "giants" have been recognized and challenged. However, the term is still useful to some degree. It is a misnomer, if one thinks of the period as a time of rebirth of some earlier literary greatness, as the European Renaissance, because there was nothing to be "reborn."
In his essay, "On a Novel Entitled Lolita," Vladimir Nabokov tries to answer the age-old question, "What is the objective of the novel?" He quickly replies, "...I happen to be the kind of author who in starting to work on a book has no other purpose than to get rid of that book..." (311). There is more to his response than this, however. He goes on to say that his book was not written to celebrate pornography or pedophilia, nor was it written to promote Anti-Americanism (313 - 315). What's the... ... middle of paper ... ... purpose behind the book, even though it is not the purpose the writer intended.
There are quite different writers that commented on the reader response and they belong to different traditions of thought. They seriously challenge the predominance of the text-oriented theories of New Criticism and Formalism. As for them it is impossible to talk about the meaning of a text without considering the reader’s contribution to it. We see an interesting explanation about reader-response criticism by Tompkins. She claims that “reader response criticism is not a conceptually unified critical position, but a term that has come to be associated with the work of critics who use the words reader, the reading process, and response to mark out an area for investig... ... middle of paper ... ...n and fertile part of the country was a symbol of the productive part of the woman and the barren part is the symbol of the man who did not want the baby.
In his novel, In Cold Blood, Truman Capote attempts to create a new form of writing, a combination of both fiction and journalism. According to Capote he was attempting to create "something on a large scale that would have the credibility of fact, the immediacy of film, the depth and freedom of prose, and the precision of poetry." Whether or not Capote was successful in this so called "new" form of writing has been debated by numerous critics. Some critics argue that Capote was being pretentious when he suggested that he had invented the form of writing which blends the fact/fiction barrier. In the Columbia University Forum, Charles Alva Hoyt pointed out that what was called a "new literary genre," was simply a plain old reinterpretation of the art of writing history.
Brooks, however, used the two terms in a manner that was unconventional, even eccentric, and that differed significantly from their use in figurative theory. I therefore examine irony and paradox as verbal figures, noting their characteristic features and criteria, and, in particular, how they differ from one another (for instance, a paradox means exactly what it says whereas an irony does not). I argue that irony and paradox — as understood by Brooks — have important affinities with irony and paradox as figures, but that they must be regarded as quite distinct, both in figurative theory and in Brooks’ extended sense. In contemporary literary culture there is a widespread belief, or feeling, that ironies and paradoxes are closely akin. This is due in part to the huge importance that is given to the use of language in contemporary descriptions and estimations of literature.
Wright put many obvious ideas in his book, but some of the meanings he could not account for, not because he did not want to, but because he did not know of them (viii). Like stated earlier, Wright was faced with many emotions he did not know were in his life. The unaccounted meanings came to him as he expressed his feelings writing the novel. The final aspect of the nature of fiction that influenced Wright was the use of white writers as his role models. He describes associating with them as "the life preserver of my hope to depict Negro like in fiction" which had seldom been done (xvi).
There seems to be a worrying pattern for the genre fiction authors that have gained mainstream appeal but lost control of their craft afterwards. But if anything, the forms of popular fiction have become the place for the more serious scholarly questions where the boundaries becomes increasingly endless to the writers. Despite the fact that “fantasy fiction is an alternative to realist fiction, not the alternative, they are nonetheless viewed as opposites, if not opponents” (Wilkins, 273). An author is the “meaning maker”, that recognises the purpose of writing and to construct and communicate a specific message between the author and the reader. For the author, popular fiction offers a wide range of freedom in style of writing that the literary fiction simply no longer does.