This study, first published in 1982, explores and demonstrates the ways in which an awareness of literary genre can illuminate works as diverse as Milton’s ‘Lycidas’ and Berryman’s Sonnets. The first book to offer a historical survey of genre theory, it traces the history from the Greek rhetoricians to such contemporary figures as Frye and Todorov. Particular emphasis is placed on the ways in which comments on genre reflect underlying aesthetic attitudes.
Preface; 1. Introduction 2. The functions of genre 3. Game theory I: Aristotle to Arnold 4. Genre theory II: the twentieth century 5. Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index
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