The Law of Genre

Critical Writing
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volume 7, No. 1
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Abstract (in English): 

Jacques Derrida discusses “the law of genre” – the idea that genre has
the function of imposing norms on literary and cultural practices: “As
soon as the word ‘genre’ is sounded, as soon as it is heard, as soon as one
attempts to conceive it, a limit is drawn. And when a limit is established,
norms and interdictions are not far behind: ‘Do,’ ‘Do not’ says ‘genre,’
the word ‘genre,’ the figure, the voice, or the law of genre” (Derrida 1980,
p. 56). In Derrida’s view, genre functions more to exclude forms of literary
practice than to elucidate them: “… as soon as a genre announces itself,
one must respect a norm, one must cross a line of demarcation, one must
not risk impurity, anomaly, or monstrosity” (p. 57).

(Source: Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg)

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Ana Castello