Genre (/ˈʒɒ̃rə/, /ˈʒɒnrə/ or /ˈdʒɒnrə/; from Frenchgenre[ʒɑ̃ʁ(ə)], "kind" or "sort", from Latingenus (stemgener-), Greek γένος, gés) is any category of literature, music, or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres form by conventions that change over time as new genres are invented and the use of old ones is discontinued. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions.
Genre began as an absolute classification system for ancient Greek literature. Poetry, prose, and performance each had a specific and calculated style that related to the theme of the story. Speech patterns for comedy would not be appropriate for tragedy, and even actors were restricted to their genre under the assumption that a type of person could tell one type of story best.
In later periods genres proliferated and developed in response to changes in audiences and creators. Genre became a dynamic tool to help the public make sense out of unpredictable art. Because art is often a response to a social state, in that people write/paint/sing/dance about what they know about, the use of genre as a tool must be able to adapt to changing meanings. In fact as far back as ancient Greece, new art forms were emerging that called for the evolution of genre, for example the tragicomedy.
A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.
Genre should not be confused with age categories, by which literature may be classified as either adult, young-adult, or children's. They also must not be confused with format, such as graphic novel or picture book.
Just as in painting, there are different types: the landscape, the still life, the portrait; there are different types of literary works. These types tend to share specific characteristics. Genres describe those works which share specific conventions.
Launched in 1992 as a quarterly, Genre originally billed itself as a LGBT lifestyle magazine with a focus on gay men with primary coverage on entertainment, travel and an occasional acknowledgement of political issues. As the magazine evolved, increasing to bi-monthly in 1992, and monthly as of 1993, it focused more on entertainment and less on politics.
Facing increasing competition from Out,Details magazine and The Advocate for advertiser dollars in 2000, publisher Richard Settles changed editorial and art direction to became more of an urban magazine with a focus on New York's post gay movement fostered by an aging Generation X and former club kids, as well as those who outgrew the popular circuit party lifestyle of the 1990s. As such the publication began winning over mainstream companies such as Ford Motors, thereby proving that alternative lifestyles were a viable consumer market of society, dispelling notions of risk by association.