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Related: genre theory - tautology

Genre theory, corpus and tautology

See also: tautology - genre theory

One can easily argue that all genres are tautologies.

When trying to define a genre, we must look for characteristics of the genre.

The characteristics of a genre are found in the corpus of works that belong to the genre.

The corpus can only be found by defining the characteristics.

So genre = characteristics = corpus = genre ----> tautology.

Donato Totaro has said almost the same when stating that:

"Admittingly, I am swimming into a tautological sea by assuming a general understanding of the horror genre. But a certain tautology is a necessary evil of genre theory, and I mean the latter more as a categorization rather than definition of the horror genre. Besides, I do agree with Noel Carroll's other not sufficient descriptions of "art-horror" (the quality of being "interstitial," ie. something that can not be categorized, as for example, vampires, mummies, zombies that are neither living nor dead; impurity, disgust, etc.)." --Donato Totaro, 2000 via http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/9710/halloween_anglais/scare.html [Jun 2006]

And repeated here by Jeffrey Sconce who repeats Tudor:

Much of the work in genre theory has devoted itself to avoiding tautological definitions of a group of films (ie westerns are westerns because they are set in the Old West, which means they are westerns — see Tudor 1995). --Esper, the renunciator: teaching ‘bad' movies to good students () Jeffrey Sconce quoted in Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste (2003)

I need to check that Tudor article: Tudor, Andrew (1995 [1973]) Genre, in Barry Keith Grant (Film Genre Reader II.)

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