In Defense of Genreblending

  • Sarah Worth Furman University
  • Sean McBratnie Furman University
Keywords: genre, narrative, fiction, nonfiction, genreblending

Abstract

Readers often only care about one distinction when it comes to things they read—is it fiction or nonfiction?  Did it happen or didn’t it?  Presumably, we make sense of events we believe happened in a different way than we make sense of the ones that we don’t believe.  Deconstructionists often warn us about the hazards that occur with the strict binary thinking we tend to orient ourselves with.  When this binary is blurred, which it often is in many contemporary works of literature, readers become unsettled.  It is our position that genre, and even the more broad categories of fiction and nonfiction, should not be found exclusively as properties internal to the text itself, but rather, the way we make sense of genre is an active process of narrative comprehension.  We will question how the particular binary concerning fiction and nonfiction has sold us short concerning the ways in which we make sense of literary texts, and how much more fluid our notions of genre really could and should be.  We also want to argue that the reduction of the binary of genre merely into fiction and nonfiction is a gross oversimplification of the ways in which we understand both genres themselves, as well as the ways in which we understand both truth and reference.

Author Biographies

Sarah Worth, Furman University
Full Professor, Philosophy
Sean McBratnie, Furman University
student
Published
2015-07-16
Section
Articles