The Microgenre. A Quick Look at Small Culture, Anne H. Stevens, Molly C. O’Donnell (Eds.) (2020)

+ info: Bloomsbury

Everybody knows, and maybe even loves, a microgenre. Plague romances and mommy memoirs. Nudie-cutie movies, Nazi zombies, and dinosaur erotica. Baby burlesks, Minecraft fiction, grindcore, premature ejaculation poetry…microgenres come in all varieties and turn up in every form of media under the sun, tailor-made for enthusiasts of all walks of life.

Coming into use in the last decade or so, the term «microgenre» classifies increasingly niche-marketed worlds in popular music, fiction, television, and the Internet. Netflix has recently highlighted our fascination with the ultra-niche genre with hilariously specific classifications — “independent supernatural dramedy featuring a strong female lead” – that can sometimes hit a little too close to home. Each contribution in this collection introduces readers to a different microgenre, drawn from a range of historical periods and from a variety of media. The Microgenre presents a previously untreated point of cultural curiosity, revealing the profound truth that humanity’s desire to classify is often only matched by the unsustainability of the obscure and hyper-specific. It also affirms, in colorful detail, what most people suspect but have trouble fathoming in an increasingly homogenized and commercial West: that imaginative projects are just that, imaginative, diverse, and sometimes completely and hilariously inexplicable.

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