Generic Consciousness in the Polish Theory of Genres

Przemysław Pietrzak


The very idea of the generic consciousness seems crucial for any generic studies, whether in literature, arts, writing, or – in cognitive perspective – in any human behaviour. The reasons of its importance for literary theory are: 1) it reveals a way the literary genres function, 2) thus it proves the indispensibility of a category of a genre in the process of reading, understanding, and reception of a particular work or group of works, 3) it accounts for several theoretical and historical problems in literary studies, e.g. fact/fiction opposition, evolution of the particular forms, interpenetration of literature and other forms of elite/popular writing, 4) therefore it raises the question of literary and non-literary genres, where the non-literary forms (usually linguistic) seem to be a source of the literary ones; they also regulate understanding of novels, poems, comedies etc.

I would like to point to all those aspects in selected writings of Polish scholars such as Stefania Skwarczyńska, Edward Balcerzan, Stanisław Balbus, and others.

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