Meaning & Genre

An Introduction to Genre Theory
by Daniel Chandler
A number of perennial doubts plague genre theory. Are genres really ‘out there’ in the world, or are they merely the constructions of analysts? Is there a finite taxonomy of genres or are they in principle infinite? Are genres timeless Platonic essences or ephemeral, time-bound entities? Are genres culture-bound or transcultural?… Should genre analysis be descriptive or proscriptive? (Stam 2000, 14)

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
Conventions and Genre
by Kerry Braye
Literature is a body of written (or oral) works, such as novels, poems and so on, that use words to stimulate the imagination and confront the reader with a unique vision of life. It is a creative, universal form of expression that addresses the emotional, spiritual, and/or intellectual concerns of humanity. The novel, for example, makes the reader see connections among various phenomenons and look at something in a way never thought about before. On the other hand, the novel may take the reader into the mind of the writer and make him/her feel they actually know the author. The characters, events, and ideas in the novel become part of their experience. The following will discuss these contrasting views of literature, paying particular attention to ‘genre’ theory and ‘author expressivity’, of which examples will be drawn from Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’. It should be noted that reference is made to the main character in this essay as “Jess” (as in the film version) although the same character is referred to as “Jeanette” in the novel.

The Problem of Meaning in Literature
by John Lye
“Meaning” is a difficult issue, and what I have to say here only scratches the surface of a complex and contested area. How do we know what a work of literature is ‘supposed’; to mean, or what its ‘real’ meaning is? There are several ways to approach this:
– that meaning is what is intended by the author ;
– that meaning is created by and contained in the text itself ;
– that meaning is created by the reader.

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