This study, first published in 1982, explores and demonstrates the ways in which an awareness of literary genre can illuminate works as diverse as Miltonâ€™s â€˜Lycidasâ€™ and Berrymanâ€™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.
Table of Contents
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