What Are the Different Types of Literary Discourse?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
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The different types of literary discourse are transactional, expressive, and poetic. Discourse refers to the way language is manipulated to communicate a certain effect or elicit a specific response. Most fictional forms of literature use poetic discourse, although they may also incorporate the use of expressive discourse in a experiential fashion. Transactional discourse is primarily used in business communication, such as advertising or correspondence.

Expressive literary discourse typically consists of creative non-fiction prose. Examples of expressive discourse include letters, diary entries, and stream of consciousness writing. This type of discourse highlights an individual's ability to express his personal point of view. In the digital publishing era, online blogs have become a popular form of expressive discourse.

One of the most prominent and well-known forms of literary discourse is poetic. This type of written communication includes most creative works, including fictional novels, poetry, fictional short story collections, and screenplays. Within poetic discourse are many different types of genres or styles of writing. Fictional discourse tends to focus on how language is formed and used to communicate various abstract themes, philosophical ideologies, settings and imagery. This type of literary discourse also deals with the resolution of emotional questions through character development.


The other main type of literary discourse is transactional. Most of this communication focuses on establishing some degree of interaction with the reader. It is the most common form of discourse used in business correspondence, advertising, instruction manuals, and editorial articles. In most cases, it tends to propel the reader into action, such as purchasing a product or asking for more information.

Literary discourse is usually analyzed in literature, creative writing, and English composition courses. Discourse analysis can be used to teach proper language structure, develop vocabulary, and increase an individual's ability to communicate effectively. In advanced literature courses, traditional and experiential forms are analyzed according to their effectiveness and intended meaning. Technique choices, such as point of view, scene transition, and descriptive language are typically discussed.

Likewise, expressive discourse has become a studied art form in the majority of advanced creative writing programs. This type of written communication is usually categorized as creative non-fiction and is represented by memoir-style works, collections of prose and commentary. Academic essays are a form of expressive discourse, which are assigned to students in college level English courses to help them develop their writing skills. The essay form accomplishes this by having students focus on paragraph and sentence structure, in addition to demonstrating the ability to support or disagree with a particular argument.


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Post 2

@sunnySkys - Blogs are great examples of the good and bad of modern writing, I think. I've seen some great blogs, but also some not so great blogs too.

I actually think some blogs are written in transactional discourse though. For example, I've seen some blogs by authors that are clearly meant to keep their fans buying more of their stuff. They write about their daily lives, but they also talk about when their new work is coming out and how to buy it. I've seen music artists do the same thing too.

Those blogs are definitely a mix of expressive and transactional discourse.

Post 1

I'm not really surprised that a blog would count as literary discourse. Although some people don't accept writing online as "real" writing, online writing is just as valid as any other kind of writing.

And a blog is definitely expressive! I find that a lot of blogs are almost like diaries that are meant to be read by others, if that makes any sense. Most people write about their personal experiences on their blogs, although a lot of blogs do have themes.

For example, I follow a popular knitting blog. The writing does write about her family and personal life, but the main focus is on knitting.

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