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life and art on the same side of the mirror

One Student's picture

I have felt very grudging toward usages of 'genre' which expand the word beyond a strictly literary term. Of course humans categorize all aspects of their existence, and there's no need to take terms from one categoried area and apply it to another. That increases the sloppiness of categorization, by using an unneeded metaphor. 

But today, I caught myself wondering whether a particular complex of emotions which I felt for someone was of the genre of love or of madness. I don't know why 'genre' felt appropriate to me there, because usually it grates. There isn't a general term that means 'category of emotion' the way that 'genre' means 'category of literary form'. Also, the fact of the matter is that humans can be extraordinarily irrational in their emotional attachments; and a certain set of mental illnesses are 'mood disorders' - depression, anxiety (as opposed to 'thought disorders' - psychosis); and so strong emotion and madness share a fuzzy boundary between the two of them. And studying genre is interesting because the boundaries of genres are fuzzy as well, and lately I have been discovering just how malleable genre and un-absolute genre is.

And so 'genre' seemed appropriate to a pair of blurry categories which categorize something that is certainly not literary (though I wouldn't put art and life on opposite sides of a mirror).