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Theorising genre: A critical overview

Johnston, Sheelagh (1989) Theorising genre: A critical overview. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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The thesis addresses problems encountered in the formulation of genre theory in the twentieth century.

Whilst the revision of traditional genre structures was a major concern of modernist discourse. postmodernist practices in writing apparently undermine the concept of genre. However, the increasing tendency to abandon the concept of genre as anachronistic only reveals the inadequacies of conventional theory, rather than justifying the dismissal of the term itself. A survey of traditional generic theory reveals that the concept of genre has always been a contentious one. particularly within the confines of the conventional divisions of genres. The long and confused history of genre theory stems from a number of misapprehensions which have vitiated the construction of generic schemes in traditional theorists, thesis opens with an examination and critique of a This number of traditional categorising systems. Alternative approaches are then critically surveyed within contemporary genre theory, in areas such as phenomenology, structuralism, social-semiotics, and Contemporary literary theory shows that genre cannot be described as a purely language philosophy. literary phenomenon. This is strikingly true of Derrida's and Foucault's theories. The thesis concludes by arguing that their contributions invite a study of genre within a postmodernist context of writing. From this perspective the critical overview of genre theory offered is meant as a preparatory study for a full revision of the field.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Humanities
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Ruthrof, Horst and Arthur, Kateryna
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