Genre prejudice

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Tue Jul 15 01:43:21 EDT 2003


>I imagine that comes down to the individual.  The author writes about what
>he chooses; the reader decides which writings are relevant to her.  And on
>some level the publisher decides which are going to sell copies.  So
>ultimately you have books which some people embrace and others despise.  But
>just like in the fantasy or SF genres, certain works of literary fiction are
>widely admired/read and others reach only a niche market.  What literary
>novelists fail to recognize is that theirs is a genre just like all the
>others.  Many of them (and many critics) perceive such books as "true"
>literature and everything else as "genre."

I agree that literary fiction is a genre or genres (eg. first novels are a 
separate grouping, I think). Part of the prejudice is because there is lots 
of media that buys this. I was reading the NYTimes Book Review's review of 
HP5 today, and there was a comment in it about how Rowling was really not 
writing children's books so much as detective fiction. Excuse me? If she's 
writing detective fiction, then she certainly is also writing fantasy. But 
the NYT Book Review never reviews SF or fantasy books (except rarely in a 
brief paragraph segment), while they DO review detective stories all the 
time. So clearly, if a book merits a review, it can't possibly fit in the 
SF and F genre/s.

Oddly enough, there are starting to be a lot of academics who take "genre" 
fiction very seriously.

Robyn
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