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Oct 18, 2016 09:04 AM EDT

8 Offbeat Literary Genres You Can Get Lost In

English literature is very rich and interesting whether it be works of fiction or non-fiction. Each holds a charm that makes readers go back to them time and again. Aside from the most common genres, there are eight offbeat literary genres that can grip you the way the classics do.


In case you're not familiar with this genre, bildungsroman builds its story upon a young protagonist and explores his education, development, and transition from someone innocent to someone who has a greater understanding of the woorld around him. The word 'bildungsroman' is a combination of two German words which literally means 'formational novel.' Examples of this genre include Black Boy and Jane Eyre

Penny Dreadful

No this is not the Eva Green psychology-horror series. However, this is where that series got its inspiration as the penny dreadful genre features serialized stories of crime, horror, and adventure. They were popular during the Victorian times and can be purchased for a dime; thus, they were also sometimes called dime novels. One of the most popular characters from this genre is Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd.


Wuxia is a Chinese literary genre that focuses on a warrior hero and his evolution from being a child to becoming a person of courage and valor. It combines action, history, and fiction. It has been popularized in movies, such as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Jet Li's "Hero". One of the most prominent writers of this genre is Jin Yong whose Condor Heroes trilogy has been made into movies, several TV series, and video games.


Picaresque comes from the Spanish word 'picaro' which means 'rogue.' Thus, this genre focuses on the funny misadventures of the protagonist who are often portrayed as very attractive rascals. Examples of this genre include Under the Net and Tropic of Cancer.


It is believed that this genre came into existence after the publication of Bruce Bethke's short story Cyberpunk in 1983. The setting of the stories is usually in a "futuristic industrial dystopia" where the hero battles a big tech giant using his or her tech skills. The genre is recently made popular through the Mr. Robot TV series starring Rami Malik.


This is where the word 'grammar' originated from. However, the genre is not about grammar and composition. In fact, it cannot be really considered a literary genre but it is as interesting as the others. Grimoire can be found in the shelves of those who practice witchcraft and sorcery so you can guess that this is about witchcraft manuals and spells.


The word 'epistolary' originated from a Greek word which means 'letter.' It made its way in the English vocabulary in the 1600s but became popular as a literary genre in the 1700s. Novels under this genre were told through newspaper articles and now, through emails and letters. Some of the most popular books structured in this gene are The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Frankenstein.


Coming from the old Norse term which means 'history,' sagas originate from the Nordic regions. They tell the story of Viking heroes as well as their history and struggles of its people and kings. An example of this genre includes The Grettis Saga.

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