Genre As An Evolution
Both of these articles were similar in the fact that not only did they look at genre as being defined and morphed by history and culture, but also at genre as one way in which culture can be shaped. It was discovered that China did not have an early epic (Owen, 1390) and Europeans brought their own perception of what an epic was to Chinese culture. Would a different type of Chinese "epic" have developed had the European ideas not invaded? Would this Chinese epic have created a new genre? Would other writing then have fallen into this new genre? Referring to genres, Dimock says that "none does its work in isolation, and none without a continuous stream of input from other genres" (1380). All works of literature fall under one vast umbrella, and from there they split into smaller and smaller cells, a family tree of literature, the source being the first written word. I don't think that genres limit literature; they are merely a system for organizing the countless stories, histories, and accounts that have become a collective global library.