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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[edit]

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[edit]


  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.
  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[edit]

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