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A Guide to English: Thematic Genres and "Genre Fiction"

A guide to English created by Visiting Librarian Abe Nemon in 2022/2023.

Thematic Genres and "Genre Fiction"

Speculative Fiction Guides

Crime Fiction, Mystery, and Thrillers

Historical Fiction

Individual Authors and Books - by Historical Setting

Ancient and Classical Greece

Medieval Europe

Early Modern Europe

Pre-Colonial Africa

Africa in the Colonial Period

French Revolution / Napoleonic Wars

Nineteenth-Century Europe

Regency Period and Victorian England

Nineteenth Century American West

Latin America

The Caribbean World


China, Korea, and Japan


Australia and New Zealand

World War I

The Spanish Civil War

World War II

Travel Writing

Ecological Writing

Experimental Fiction

The Picaresque

The Family Novel


Individual Authors and Books

The Problem Novel

"Hysterical Realism" / The Dickensian Novel

What do people mean when they call a novel 'Dickensian'? A large cast of vividly drawn characters, some of them grotesques with comically descriptive names and odd tics of speech and behavior; a plucky orphan who overcomes a childhood blighted by humiliating poverty or simple lower-class misery; numerous and ingeniously interconnected subplots; panoramic shifts of location; a narrative that makes the reader finish each chapter eager to begin the next."
–Francine Prose, "After Great Expectations"

Hysterical realism is not exactly magical realism, but magical realism's next stop. It is characterised by a fear of silence. This kind of realism is a perpetual motion machine that appears to have been embarrassed into velocity. Stories and sub-stories sprout on every page. [...] Nowadays anyone in possession of a laptop is thought to be a brilliance on the move, filling his or her novel with essaylets and great displays of knowledge. Indeed, 'knowing about things' has become one of the qualifications of the contemporary novelist. [...] The result - in America at least - is novels of immense self-consciousness with no selves in them at all, curiously arrested and very 'brilliant' books that know a thousand things but do not know a single human being."
–James Wood, "Tell me how does it feel?"

Metafiction and Menippean Satire


Individual Authors and Books



Individual Authors and Books


The Marriage Plot


Individual Authors and Books

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