I compiled these notes in order to discover where I fit into the world of literature.
There are a number of styles and one can't really assess another's work if you don't know in which broad category it falls. Each category has its own foundations.
You're all invited to add to this piece of background information. Your thoughts and feelings will be appreciated and may help another Gatherite further his knowledge and make him a better writer.
I, for example, will never make a good stream of consciousness writer as it does not suit my personality. However, because I know that there is such a genre, I'll try and compose two such pieces in the next few days so that I understand the medium better.
Here are summaries of four important genres:
Metaphysical poetry wrestles with moral and religious issues and exhibits the strain of emotional and intellectual struggle. It is characterised by elaborate, sometimes bizarre use of metaphor, rough and rugged versification, dramatic speakers and paradoxical reasoning.
Example: John Donne "Love's Alchymie"
Cavalier poetry ends to be smooth and elegant and concerned with life's pleasures and beautiful things (including women) and feelings rather than moral concerns.
Example: Robert Herrick "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time."
Stream of Consciousness Writing is a modernist form that assembles a story by tracing its characters' thoughts and feelings rather than through the voice of a detached narrator.
It conveys a sense of modern existence through fleeting half formed impressions of the sort that run through people's minds constantly.
Example: TS Eliot "Wasteland"
Magical Realism is an important recent development in fiction. It combines familiar novelistic realism with elements of fantasy. The narrator tells the story as if ha believes that magical unexplainable things can really happen.
Magical realism expresses a point of view that is neither some other culture nor is it purely Western. It's an attempt to come to terms with both at once.
Example: Salman Rushdie "Midnight's Children".