Pandora's Box Revisited: A Review Article

Critical Inquiry 1 (2):453-478 (1974)

The first important reaction in favor of generic criticism here was that of the Chicago neo-Aristotelians, whose feisty polemics against the "New" critics must have seemed, in the 1940s and 1950s, like voices crying in the wilderness. The popularity of Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism—also ostensibly based upon Aristotle's example—won the concept of genre broader support. And today, if the books covering my desk are anything to go by, genre criticism has emerged in force. The flood has brought forth historical studies of Renaissance genres, analyses of traditional genres like the picaresque or of new ones like "the fantastic," ambivalently generic essays in "thematics," efforts to systemize the genres of narrative fiction, and even attempt, through the philosophic analysis of dozens of generic systems, to go "beyond genre." Indeed, the late sixties spawned a journal entitled Genre entirely devoted to theoretical and practical criticism employing the concept. David H. Richter is the author of a forthcoming book: Fable's End: Completeness and Closure in Rhetorical Fiction, and an article on Jerzy Kosinski. He is assistant professor of English at Queens College of the City University of New York
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DOI 10.1086/447796
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