Genre and Style

  • A. D. Harvey


The chief problem of studying audiences is that they aren’t there any more. The theatre-goers have gone home, the booksellers’ customers have left no forwarding addresses, the young men who sat up all night to discuss poetry have grown old and have died and have returned to the anonymous dust. Only the books remain. And to study books historically we need a mode of aggregating diverse examples in a useful way. Single works, as I hope I have shown in Chapter 3, raise problems that can only be solved by a context; individual oeuvres written perhaps over a lifetime of conflict and change pose other difficulties: one can better generalise from movements. Categories like Englishman/Frenchman or novelist/ landscape painter are not useful. They are at once too narrow, and too general. The two categories I feel most useful, and most applicable to my earlier discussion of audience, are genre and style.


Paradise Lost Chief Problem Forwarding Address Gothic Cathedral Common Style 
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7 Genre and Style

  1. 2.
    See John Schellenberger, ‘After Lucky Jim: The Last Thirty Years of English University Fiction’, Higher Education Review, vol. 15 (1983) pp. 69–76.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    See J. Mordaunt Crook, The Greek Revival (London, 1972) p. xi; G. Teyssot’s Introduction to the French translation of Emil Kaufmann, Three Revolutionary Architects (Trois Architectes Revolutionnaires Paris 1978) p. 15 foil.; and Klaus Lankheit, Revolution und Restauration (Baden Baden, 1980 edn) p. 20.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    René Wellek, Concepts of Criticism (New Haven, 1963) p. 129; Alistair Fowler, ‘Periodization and Interart Analogies’, New Literary History, vol. 3 (1971–2) pp. 487–509, at p. 509.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    See John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530 to 1830 (London, 1969 edn) p. 245.Google Scholar

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© A. D. Harvey 1988

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  • A. D. Harvey

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