Any literary work belongs to one of three literary genres: an epic, a lyric or a drama.
The epic in ancient Greece was called narrative, story. The author of the epic work, as Aristotle said, relates “about the event as something separate from itself.” In an epic work, as a rule, there is a plot, characters and narrator. In the works of the great epic forms, several story lines are told about the events taking place simultaneously in different places (The Tale of Bygone Years). The action, which is described, can be played for decades, include many episodes. At the beginning of the XVI century. created the most remarkable monument of the genre of walking – “Walking for the Three Seas” by Afanasy Nikitin.
Epic works are written in certain genres. Epic genres are divided into three groups: a large form – a heroic song, epic, epic, novel, chronicle; average – a story, a lesson; small – story, short story, fable, etc.
epic is also called the heroic narrative of the past, because the main events unfold here against the background of a wide picture of the people’s life. For example, the life of the Karelo-Finnish people is told by Kalevala. In Russia, the heroic epic represent the epics – Russian folk epic songs about heroes’ exploits (“Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber”, “Sadko”). A heroic epic exists practically in all peoples, both in oral and in written forms. A major epic written genre is the chronicle – a historical narrative that was conducted over the years (The Tale of Bygone Years).
If the epics and legends existed both verbally and in writing, the legends were narratives that were passed from mouth to mouth and did not reflect a consistent chain of events, but one vivid and little-known episode of history.
The average written genres include teaching – the covenant, the instruction of the eldest junior (“Instruction” by Vladimir Monomakh).
Another common epic genre is the story. It is devoted to several episodes from the life of the
main character (NV Gogol “Taras Bulba”), while the story – only one bright case or moment (AP Chekhov “Chameleon”). In Russia, the story, before becoming an independent genre, was considered a short version of the story.
Lyrics – a kind of literature, in which the author, his feelings, thoughts come first. Expresses their lyrical hero – the one on whose behalf the work is written. Unlike the epic, the lyrical work does not have a plot or it is barely outlined.
The most common lyric genres are ode, elegy, a message. Ode is a poem in a solemn tone with a constant circle of themes – the glorification of the monarch, the state grandeur (ode to MV Lomonosov).
In the lyrical works, every word, intonation, rhythm is important. Therefore, the lyrics gravitate toward the poetic form. But poetry is not an obligatory sign of lyrics. There are poems from IS Turgenev in prose (“Russian language”, etc.), in which the writer expressed thoughts and feelings that possessed him throughout the creative career.
Works, which can be attributed to the epic, and to the lyrics, are called lyric-epic. In them the plot is inseparable from the experiences of the narrator.
A large lyric-epic genre is a poem. The poem tells about various events through the prism of the author’s perception.
Another lyric-epic genre is a ballad. It tells of some exceptional events – historical or legendary. The main theme of the ballad is the hero’s encounter with fate and fate.