Word of the Day

Introducing THREE words today instead of one, all of which are genres!


The term epistolary entered English in the 1600s from the Greek term meaning “message” or “letter.” An epistolary novel is a story told exclusively through letters, emails, newspaper articles and other primary sources. The form experienced a popularity surge in the mid-1700s, and has since structured some of the most beloved books in the English language, like Pamela or Virtue Rewarded, Frankenstein, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.


The picaresque genre showcases humorous tales of adventure, focusing on the antics of knavish-yet-attractive heroes. This genre, originally developed in Spain, comes from the Spanish picaro meaning “rogue.” Examples of this genre: Kim, Tropic of Cancer, and Under the Net.


Often set in futuristic industrial dystopias, the sci-fi subgenre cyberpunk highlights stories of computing, hacking and large corrupt corporations. The earliest recorded use of this term is in Bruce Bethke’s short story “Cyberpunk,” published in 1983. Examples of this genre: Neuromancer, Gravity’s Rainbow, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Source: dictionary.com


9 thoughts on “Word of the Day”

  1. Alexander McCall Smith has a daily continual story/column in the Edinburgh paper–would that be epistolary; or Dickens? I’ve been wanting to read Gravity’s Rainbow, too. If I could just remember the author…think he was a peer of David Foster Wallace’s. Pynchon! Great words.

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