The Ideology of Genre
A Comparative Study of Generic Instability
By (author) Thomas O. Beebee
Publication date:15 September 1994
Length of book:312 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
In a series of comparative essays on a range of texts embracing both high and popular culture from the early modern era to the contemporary period, The Ideology of Genre counters both formalists and advocates of the "death of genre," arguing instead for the inevitability of genre as discursive mediation. At the same time, Beebee demonstrates that genres are inherently unstable because they are produced intertextually, by a system of differences without positive terms. In short, genre is the way texts get used. To deny that genres exist is to deny, in a sense, the possibility of reading; if genres exist, on the other hand, then they exist not as essences but as differences, and thus those places within and between texts where genres "collide" reveal the connections between generic status, interpretive strategy, ideology, and the use-value of language.
—Ross Chambers, University of Michigan