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The article notes that in the practice of school teaching, sometimes incompetent University learning, and even more so in criticism and blogging, all large forms of novel prose are called epic in «the old-fashioned way». However, this erroneous appellation contains a small share of objective truth – a number of common features. In this regard, it will be necessary to recall that the features of a particular type are related to the themes and problems of works and can be common to many genres, and therefore it is essential to compare their paradigms. The authors reveal the key importance of the genre for understanding of the essence of works, because its precise definition allows us to perceive the writer's idea in the right way and to identify new facets of his creation. And on the basis of many examples, the authors were able to prove that it is difficult to distinguish genres, as it is invisible matter woven from the author's intentions in their practical implementation. In connection with the theoretical component of the question, errors in the exact differentiation of genres can be excluded only by highlighting the constitutive genre features and comparing their matrices with this particular work. In this regard, it is proposed to be guided by the presence of attributive (leading) genre features, or genre features of the first level, that are visible even with a superficial acquaintance with the work. But if you confine them, the probability of error will be large. Therefore, the authors introduce the so-called additional genre features, or genre features of the second level, which together with the first will allow to distinguish genres as accurately as possible. On the example of numerous precedents from the world literature of the last 500 years the similarities and differences of novels-epics, novels-rivers and family Chronicles are shown.


Genre differentiation, novel, novel-epic, novel-the river, a family history, collectivism, individualism, panoramizm, type of hero, romantic hero, axiology, poetics