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A cross-genre (or hybrid genre) is a genre in fiction that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres. As opposed to the (literary and political) conservatism of most genre fiction,[1] cross-genre writing offers opportunities for opening up debates and stimulating discussion.

Such hybrid genres are not new but a longstanding element in the fictional process: perhaps the most famous example is William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, with its blend of poetry, prose, and engravings.[2] In contemporary literature Dimitris Lyacos's trilogy Poena Damni (Z213: Exit, With the people from the bridge, The First Death) combines fictional prose with drama and poetry in a multilayered narrative developing through the different characters of the work.[3]

Generic discontinuites

Fredric Jameson has highlighted the progressive elements in Third World Literature that defies genre expectations such as Xala; and in Science Fiction like The Left Hand of Darkness with its exploration of gender roles.[4]

Dean Koontz considers himself a cross-genre writer, not a horror writer: “I write cross-genre books-suspense mixed with love story, with humor, sometimes with two tablespoons of science fiction, sometimes with a pinch of horror, sometimes with a sprinkle of paprika...”[5]


See also


  1. I. Ousby ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (1995) p. 367
  2. M. Singer/W. Walker, Bending Genre (2013) p. 21-2
  3. "Reviews: Z213: Exit by Dimitris Lyacos | Write From Wrong Literary Magazine". 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2015-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. M. Hardt/K. Weekes eds., The Jameson Reader (2000) p. 334 and p. 368
  5. Koontz, Dean. "Afterword, Lightening", G.P. Putnam's Sons hardcover edition, January 1988. Berkley Publishing Group, mass market edition, May 1989. p. 360

Further reading

Diane P. Freedman, An Alchemy of Genres (1997)