Over the years, the definition of ‘form’ in literary criticism has become rather vaguely confused with ‘structure’.  The safest route is, in the first instance, to consider form to be genre e.g. fiction, prose, autobiography, Science Fiction.   That is perhaps only too obvious.  Next, it is wise to decide on the particular aspect of the form: ask whether the poem is an ode, a sonnet, an elegy, ballad (etc.), or whether a play is a tragedy, comedy, melodrama, etc..   You may not be able to answer such a question until you have considered the specific features of a text – and for this, you should consider Structure and Language.

See other literary terms


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