Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek
benpeek

  • Music:

The Genre Question

Tell me, what is the importance of genre?

I'm not talking about any debate that has been going on recently, no. Or any specific debate, really. Rather I'm interested in why it is that genre, any genre, is important? What gives these boundaries such importance that we would put them on books, divide up our bookstores, and pigeon hole our writers with them. Maybe it's just me, but that strikes me as a bit odd. Maybe it's just because it's late. Maybe not. I mean, is it just that genre provides the reader with a series of signs so that he or she is able to find the kind of material they want? Is it a marketing tool? Does it simply exist to provide the boundaries for a body of work? I'm taking all kinds of statements on it, because, truly, I want to know why it's important.

I'm currently working on a theory in my head that argues that genre definitions are, really, failing to properly reflect a lot of the literature being written today. No matter what definition you place upon a piece of writing (or film, or play, whatever, really), there's always a way in which that definition fails. A science fiction novel can be a romance novel, a thriller, a social satire--indeed, it could be all those things at the same time. It always could.

Genre could very well be simply an outdated concept and if so, then why does it remain important and, for some, necessary?
Subscribe

  • Leviathan’s Blood Film

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. The paperback release of Leviathan’s Blood is very soon and to…

  • A Bit of Bolano, Schafer, and Cooke.

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. Here are a few more reviews of books I’ve read recently: 2666,…

  • Interview, A Few Books Read

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. Just a small update today. If you’re interested, you can get a whole…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 35 comments

  • Leviathan’s Blood Film

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. The paperback release of Leviathan’s Blood is very soon and to…

  • A Bit of Bolano, Schafer, and Cooke.

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. Here are a few more reviews of books I’ve read recently: 2666,…

  • Interview, A Few Books Read

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. Just a small update today. If you’re interested, you can get a whole…