From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In genre theory and narratology body genres refer to genres that have an effect on the audience's body. These genres produce a physical effect, catching the body in the grip of an intense sensation or emotion, making the body display a physical reaction. The term was first brought forward by film scholar Carol J. Clover who included horror and pornography. Linda Williams expanded the definition to include melodrama. J. W. Geerinck later included laughter to the definition.
The physical reactions in body genres are:
- comedy and humour: the physical reaction is laughter
- melodrama: the physical reaction is crying which produces tears, the genre is also called a "tearjerker".
- horror (and thriller): the fear causes the physical reaction of trembling produced by adrenaline, of sweating and possibly goose bumps
- erotica and pornography: the physical reaction is sexual arousal, tumescence, vaginal lubrication and orgasm
Similarly, in music, a distinction can be made between mind and body genres. The example of a musical genre with a focus towards the body is dance music.