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Fable

A short story or folktale that contains a moral, which may be expressed explicitly at the end as a maxim. Example of Aesop's fables include The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse, the Tortoise and the Hare, and The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.

Fairy tale

A narrative that is made up of fantastic characters and creatures, such as witches, goblins, and fairies, and usually begins with the phrase

Fantasy

A genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Examples include J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, and William Morris' The Well at the World's End.

Folktale

A narrative form, such as an epic, legend, myth, song, poem, or fable, that has been retold within a culture for generations. Examples include The People Could Fly retold by Virginia Hamilton and And the Green Grass Grew All Around: Fold Poetry from Everyone by Alvin Schwartz

Frame tale

A narrative technique in which the main story is composed primarily for the purpose of organizing a set of shorter stories, each of which is a story within a story. Examples include Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

Historical fiction

Narrative fiction that is set in some earlier time and often contains historically authentic people, place, or events- for example, Lincoln by Gore Vidal.

Horror

Fiction that is intended to frighten, unsettle, or scare the reader. Horror ficiton often overlaps with fantasy and science ficiton. Examples include Stephen King's The Shining, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Legend

A narrative about human actions that is perceived by both the teller and the listeners to have taken place within human history and that possesses certain qualities that give the tale the appearance of truth or reality. Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a well-known legend; others include King Arthur and The Holy Grail.

Mystery

A suspenseful story that deals with a puzzling crime. Examples include Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murder in Rue Morgue" and Charles Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Myth

Narrative fiction that involved gods and heroes or has a theme that expresses a culture's ideology. There are myths from around the world. Examples of Greek myths include Zeus and the Olympians and Achilles and the Trojan War. Roman myths include Hercules, Apollo, and Venus.

Novel

An extended fictional prose narrative.

Novella

A short narrative, usually between 50 and 100 pages long. Examples include George Orwell's Animal Farm and Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis.

Parody

A text or performance the imitates and mocks an author or work.

Romance

A novel comprised of idealized events far removed from everyday life. This genre includes the subgenres gothic romance and medieval romance. Examples include Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, and King Horn (anonymous)

Satire

Literature that makes fun of social conventions or conditions, usually to evoke change.

Science fiction

Fiction that deals with the current or future development of technological advances. Examples include Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

Short Story

A brief fictional prose narrative. Examples include Shirly Jackson's "The Lottery," Washington Irving's "Rip van Winkle," D.H. Lawrence's "The Horse Dealer's Daughter," Arthur Conan Doyle's "Hounds of the Baskervilles," and Dorothy Parker's "Big Blong."

Tragedy

Literature, often drama, ending in a catastrophic event for the protagonist(s) after he or she faces several problems or conflicts.

Western

A novel set in the western United States featuring the experiences of cowboys and frontiersmen. Examples include Zane Grey's riders of the Purple Sage, Trail Driver; Laryy McMurty's Lonesome Dove; Conrad Richter's The Sea of Grass; Fran Striker's The Lone Ranger; and Owen Wister's The Virginian.

Autobiography

A person's account of his or her own life.

Biography

A story about a person's life written by another person.

Document (letter, diary, journal)

An expository piece written with eloquence that becomes part of the recognized literature of an era. Documents often reveal historical facts, the social mores of the times, and the thoughts and personality of the author. Some documents have recorded and influenced the history of the world. Examples include the Bible, the Koran, the Constitution of the United States, and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

Essay

A document organized in paragraph form that can be long or short and can be in the form of a letter, dialogue, or discussion. Examples include Politiecs and the English Language by George Orwell, The American Scholar by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Moral Essays by Alexander Pope.

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