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Last Updated: Nov 8, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Literary Genres

  • Detective fiction: Topic Page
    Genre of novel or short story in which a mystery is solved mainly by the action of a professional or amateur detective. Where the mystery to be solved concerns a crime, the work may be called crime fiction. MORE
  • Historical novel: Topic Page
    A novel with a period in history as its setting, which includes historical events and characters. MORE
  • Letters: Topic Page
    In literature, written messages, ranging from those addressed to the public and those sent from lover to lover, to business letters and thank-you notes. The common quality they share is a lively style, echoing the personality of the sender yet aimed at the mind and heart of the receiver. MORE
  • Mystery: Topic Page
    Or mystery story, literary genre in which the cause (or causes) of a mysterious happening, often a crime, is gradually revealed by the hero or heroine. MORE
  • Novel: Topic Page
    In modern literary usage, a sustained work of prose fiction a volume or more in length. It is distinguished from the short story and the fictional sketch, which are necessarily brief. MORE
  • Pastoral: Topic Page
    Literary work in which the shepherd's life is presented in a conventionalized manner. In this convention the purity and simplicity of shepherd life is contrasted with the corruption and artificiality of the court or the city. The pastoral is found in poetry, drama, and fiction, and many subjects. MORE
  • Romance: Topic Page
    In literature, tales of love and chivalric adventure, in verse or prose, that became popular in France about 1200 and spread throughout Europe. MORE
  • Short story: Topic Page
    Short work of prose fiction, usually consisting of between 500 and 10,000 words, which typically either sets up and resolves a single narrative point or depicts a mood or an atmosphere. MORE

Literary Movements

  • Beat writers
    From Columbia Encyclopedia
    Term applied to certain American artists and writers who were popular during the 1950s. Essentially anarchic, members of the beat generation rejected traditional social and artistic forms.
  • Harlem Renaissance: Topic Page
    Term used to describe a flowering of African-American literature and art in the 1920s, mainly in the Harlem district of New York City. MORE
  • Magic Realism: Topic Page
    A type of post-modernist fiction that mixes elements of fantasy, fable, and folklore with realistic narrative, imbuing it with a fabulous or dreamlike quality. MORE
  • Modernism: Topic Page
    Modernism is based on a concern with form and the exploration of technique as opposed to content and narrative. In literature, writers experimented with alternatives to orthodox sequential storytelling. MORE
  • Romanticism: Topic Page
    A late 18c and early 19c movement in art, literature and music, characterized by an emphasis on feelings and emotions, often using imagery taken from nature, and creating forms which are relatively free from rules and set orders. MORE
  • Transcendentalism: Topic Page
    Transcendentalism was a series of new ideas that flourished among writers and philosophers in New England during the 19th century. MORE

Poetry Forms

  • Ballad: Topic Page
    In literature, short, narrative poem usually relating a single, dramatic event. Two forms of the ballad are often distinguished—the folk ballad, dating from about the 12th cent., and the literary ballad, dating from the late 18th cent. MORE
  • Concrete poetry: Topic Page
    Poetry which conveys meaning through the physical arrangement of the words on the page as well as through the words themselves. MORE
  • Ode: Topic Page
    A lyric poem, usually a fairly long one, with lines of different lengths and complex rhythms, addressed to a particular person or thing. MORE
  • Poetry: Topic Page
    Imaginative literary form, particularly suitable for describing emotions and thoughts. Poetry is highly ‘compressed’ writing, often using figures of speech to talk about one thing in terms of another. MORE
  • Rondeau: Topic Page
    A poem of 13 or sometimes 10 lines with only two rhymes, and with the first line used as a refrain after the eighth and thirteenth lines. MORE
  • Sonnet: Topic Page
    A short poem with 14 lines of 10 or 11 syllables each and a regular rhyming pattern according to the scheme: the Italian sonnet consists of an octave and a sestet, whereas the English sonnet consists of three quatrains and ends with a rhyming couplet. MORE

Susanna Pathak

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Susanna Pathak
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