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Genre fiction as art: An analysis & defense

Horton, Corben
This paper serves as an analysis of “genre fiction” and its denigration by evaluating fields such as philosophy, history, and literary theory. The paper’s focus is to demonstrate that the criticisms of genre fiction being unartistic are both ill-founded and incorrect. By looking to exemplars such as Tolkien, Martin, and Rothfuss, this paper demonstrates how secondary world fantasies (and other genres) can embody artistic, literary qualities that are impossible for realist fiction (often lauded as “literary fiction” by academics and critics) to even attempt in its own stories without jeopardizing its tenets. Furthermore, this essay includes the first four chapters of a fantasy novel which collectively serve as an example of the potential artistic, literary qualities of the genre and its conventions.