Many times over the course of what is beginning to feel like a quite lengthy teaching career, I have introduced students to the idea of genre by citing the definition that the late Robert Scholes provided in his brief but redoubtable book, Textual Power: Literary Theory and the Teaching of English. Genre, according to Scholes (1985: 2),

refers to things regularly done and style to a regular way of doing things. In painting, landscape is a genre and impressionism is a style. Genres are social and durable; they persist through changes of style. A style is more local, often personal, as when we speak of Shakespearean comedy as opposed to Jonsonian comedy or Monet’s impressionism as opposed to Renoir’s. Both genres and styles, however, manifest themselves in recurrent patterns or codes that can be constructed by analyzing a set...

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