This is a collection in translation of recent essays by Tzvetan Todorov, one of the most eminent of today's literary critics. The essays concentrate on the idea of genre, literary or otherwise, and ask such questions as: What is literature? What is genre? Which are the major literary genres? In the first section, Todorov proposes definitions for the notions of literature, discourse, and genre. Following is a general discussion of the two principal literary genres, fiction and poetry. In the final section, Todorov examines individual authors as case studies: among them Poe, Dostoyevsky, Baudelaire, Conrad, and James.