LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #23

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 8 21:21:21 PST 2007

And the argument that each genre exists as an extension of a specific
emotional context falls pretty flat on its face when you realize that
most genres can evoke a multivariate response.  Romantic comedies can
be melancholy (see the work of Truffaut).  Comedy itself is often a
function of anger, much more so than an action film.  Horror stories
can evoke terror and fear, but they can just as easily evoke wonder
and pity (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein).

Most genres are _not_ a function of emotion, but rather of trope.
What makes science fiction science fiction is the element of science,
whether it's hyper-futuristic or taking place in the present day; what
makes fantasy fantasy is the fantastical setting.  Porno is not
determined by what feelings (both emotional and pysiological) it
inspires in you, but rather by the presence of sex; musicals are
determined by the presence of singing and dancing, _not_ by the desire
to feel-good.

And some genres, frankly, do not evoke any overriding emotion at all.
What emotion is postmodern work like Ulysses in key with?  What about
bildungsroman?  Epistolary? Stream-of-consciousness?  Robinsonade?
Psychological Realism?

What is the Western a function of?  Anger, justice, elegy, discovery?
None of these.

A Western is a function of _setting_.

So, while I understand the basic gist of the idea, in actuality it's
bullocks and it's somewhat frightening that an English teacher who
presumably takes literature seriously would also take that theory
seriously.  It's about as bad as those people in the seventies who
said there were no such things as authors or even works, but rather
products of prevaling socio-economic conditions.


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