Common Literary Genres - Common Literary Genres African American literature A body of literature written by Americans of African descent Beginning

Common Literary Genres - Common Literary Genres...

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Common Literary GenresAfrican American literatureA body of literaturewritten by Americans of African descent. Beginning in the pre-Revolutionary War period, African Americanwriters have engaged in a creative, if often contentious, dialoguewith American letters. The result is a literature rich in expressive subtlety and social insight, offering illuminatingassessmentsof American identities and history.Allegory A narrative in which literal meaning corresponds clearly and directly to symbolic meaning. For example, the literal story in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress—Christian's journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City—symbolizes the spiritual journey from sin to holiness. Anecdote The brief narration of a single event or incident. Aphorism A concise expression of insight or wisdom: "The vanity of others offends our taste only when it offends our vanity" (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil). Autobiography The nonfictional story of a person's life, told by that person. Autobiographical novel A novel that tells a nonfictional, autobiographical story but uses novelistic techniques, such as fictionalized dialogue or anecdotes, to add color, immediacy, or thematic unity. Ballad Traditionally, a folk song telling a story or legend in simple language, often with a refrain. Biography The nonfictional story of a person's life. James Boswell's Life of Johnson is one of the most celebrated examples. Black comedy
Disturbing or absurd material presented in a humorous manner, usually with the intention to confront uncomfortable truths. Joseph Heller's Catch-22 is a notable example. Bildungsroman A German term, meaning "formation novel," for a novel about a child or adolescent's development into maturity, with special focus on the protagonist's quest for identity. James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a notable example. Burlesque A humorous imitation of a serious work of literature. The humor often arises from the incongruity between the imitation and the work being imitated. For example, Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock uses the high diction of epic poetry to talk about a domestic matter. Chivalric romance A romance that describes the adventures of medieval knights and celebrates their strict code of honor, loyalty, and respectful devotion to women. ComedyIn general, a story a story that ends happily. The hero or heroine of a comedy is usually a character who overcomes a series of obstacles and is reconciled with his or her opponents in a way that suggests renewal of life or the formation of a harmonious society.Confessional literature An autobiographical literary genre in which the writer discusses intensely personal subject matterwith unusual frankness. Didactic literature Literature intended to instruct or educate. For example, Virgil's Georgics contains farming advicein verse form.

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