Didactic genre: what is it, definition, characteristics and subgenres


What is the didactic genre?

It is one of the genres that are part of Literature as classifying axes of a series of works and texts whose purpose is the teaching or dissemination of ideas that are expressed from an elaborated language, in which in some cases the presence of philosophical resources is evident.

It is a genre subsequent to genres such as lyric, narrative, epic and dramatic, bringing together a wide variety of subgenres and works that share this purpose and that are still actively developed today, especially due to the evolution of the genre in the hands of authors from various disciplines around the world who cultivated the genre.

Definition of the didactic genre

It is possible to define the didactic genre as one of the most important genres of literature in which the objective is the dissemination of thoughts or teaching from a text format that is written with elaborated language.

History and origin: How did the didactic genre arise?

The origin of this genre is located in the development of works such as chronicles and codes, which were intended to disseminate and establish a series of rules that would dictate for coexistence among peoples. With the passage of time, the genre begins to develop in such a way that it will be formally taken as one of the mechanisms for the transmission of knowledge of a specialized nature, so that several subgenres begin to unfold from it whose objective remains the same from varied models of composition. It is important to remember that the didactic genre is later than the other literary genres (lyric genre, epic genre, dramatic genre and narrative genre).

What is the didactic genre

It is believed that the didactic genre shares several elements with the epic genre, which we have already discussed in another section. One of these elements has to do directly with its origin, however, little by little they begin to distinguish themselves radically, since the epic genre focused on the narration of adventures of heroes and myths, while the didactic genre begins to draw on areas such as science, politics and philosophy to generate teaching.

Such is the development of the genre that today it has achieved profound advances and is linked to textbooks that are used for various disciplines of educational training. Hence its appearance through the subgenres that we will see in a moment.

Subgenres of the didactic genre 

The subgenres of the didactic genre are: the essay, the epistle, the dialogue, the biography, the chronicle, the oratory, the biography, the autobiography, the diary, the apology, the sayings, the pamphlet, the prologue, the article, the news, the report, the memoirs, the dictionary, the encyclopedia and the treatise. It is important to point out that other subgenres that are also considered as part of the didactic genre, such as the fable, the novel and the poem, belong as long as their intention is didactic, that is to say, they have a teaching function. Thus they will be called respectively: didactic fable, didactic novel and didactic poem.


It is a narration of moral intention that can reach a short or medium length. Although it contains a similar structure to narrative, particularly to the story, it is usually distinguished by having purely human characters that go through situations that happen in real life, but all of them focused on generating an instruction in relation to an ethical principle that allows to stop and generate a reflection around a particular behavior.


It consists of a type of writing that appears in different media such as newspapers, websites, magazines, among others. It is characterized because it can have a personal position in relation to an event, topic or person, or it can address an objective purpose around the information or exposition of a specific topic. That is why the article takes place in different fields, since it has a series of fundamental components for the presentation of information with the presentation of an introduction, followed by a thesis and development of arguments, although this may vary depending on the writer’s intention.


It is a writing that focuses on narrating the life of a person, whose author is the one who is talked about in the work. In other words, it is a type of biography written by the person himself. One of the main peculiarities of this subgenre has to do with the fact that it is possible to approach it from different formats, either in the form of an epistle, through the writing of memoirs, diaries, among many others. It is one of the most developed subgenres worldwide.


In this case, we are talking about the writing of a specific person’s life, which in this case is not narrated by the person him/herself, but by another person who is in charge of gathering all the necessary information to write about him/her. It is possible to write about various well-known figures in different fields, whether it be literature, politics, history, etc. Most biographies tend to be written shortly after the death of the person and it is considered of great importance to make his or her work known.


It is a subgenre of didactics in which a series of events is written and organized following a chronological line. One of the fields where it is most frequently developed is journalism, although there it contains a series of particular aspects. The chronicle is a resource through which it is possible to narrate a fictitious or real story, although when it focuses on fantasy, it is usually based on a real-life event.


Consists of the exchange of information between two or more people, through which ideas, thoughts, feelings, opinions, evaluations, etc. are shared. On one side we find the sender and on the other, the receiver. This resource is one of the most important in the literary field and allows to account for the expression of two or more characters in a story or event. The main function is communication, where relevant information is presented in the development of the story within the literary work.


It is a type of personal writing in which the author narrates events, experiences, memories and all kinds of events of his intimacy. It is a personal element that concerns the author’s intimacy and his conversations with himself, which is why it is intended for the author’s own private reading. In general, a diary is a text that gathers a series of testimonial accounts, where events of different experiences will appear divided by dates.


It is one of the most important and widely spread texts around the world. It is a text in which all the terms of speech are found according to the language in which it is developed, while providing information about its meaning, writing and grammatical form, pronunciation, syllabic separation, among other distinctive elements depending on the type of dictionary. It is an element destined to the consultation of any term or word registered in a specific language, although it is also possible to find dictionaries that facilitate the consultation around the translation.


It is a work intended for training and learning, since it gathers diverse content in which different concepts, knowledge and more are developed. It is usually organized in alphabetical order and includes universal information focused on a specific discipline or on several disciplines at the same time. Thus, it is possible to find encyclopedias that include information on biology, mathematics, physics, art, geography, etc. Encyclopedias are a reference text that can be used at different stages of academic training or for personal interest. It is a text that condenses knowledge in an organized way.


It is one of the most important text types within the didactic genre of literature, since it is one of the most used resources for the exposition of arguments and evaluations in academic life, mainly, although it is also possible to find it in other spaces. In the essay, the author presents a position based on an argued opinion in relation to a specific topic or situation, through which he exposes a series of arguments that serve to support his assessment. The length of this type of text may vary.


Also known as a letter, it consists of a piece of writing in which the sender, that is, the person who writes, expresses an opinion, information, idea, feeling or any type of written content to someone in particular, the sender or addressee. In reality, the subject matter or content may vary depending on the author’s intention. However, it is possible to write this type of text referring to two or more people, almost always identified. It is one of the most important and widespread communicative resources, and nowadays it is possible to find this type of text in different fields, not only at a personal level.


It is a type of writing in which the content can be oriented to different aspects. Its main characteristic has to do with objectivity, since through a report it is possible to give an account of aspects related to a specific event through which the information is presented to a person or group of people interested in the event. It uses a formal language and relies on different sources to provide real information, data and other content that nourishes the text to complement it correctly.


It is one of the most outstanding didactic subgenres, especially in the literary field. Memoirs are experiences and memories of a person, who can narrate directly or delegate someone else to do it. Memoirs can be based on characters from a literary work or on real characters through which they tell about their life at different moments, whether it is the fulfillment of a particular goal, the passing of an important obstacle, their evolution in their occupation, among others. They have a relatively formal structure, although the author decides whether to incorporate it or not.


It is a type of text that is frequently linked to the journalistic field, since it is in charge of the narration of an event or novelty in front of some developing event that is usually of great interest for most of the audience. In general, the news is a text in which events of public interest are presented and which is organized according to the basic questions that allow it to give a complete answer about what, who, when, how and why. It is possible to find a great variety of types of news depending on the subject matter and medium in which it is presented.


It is within the didactic genre due to the importance it has with respect to the listening audience, since it is an oral discourse in which the speaker is in charge of offering information to a specific audience. Public speaking is the art of speaking in public, a process that involves a written preparation that serves as the basis for the oral presentation about a particular topic, event or knowledge that is of interest to the people who are going to listen.


The pamphlet is one of the types of short and precise text through which information is expressed with the intention of influencing public opinion, since it usually makes known a position on a specific event, although it is also possible to find pamphlets that accuse or condemn something or an identified person. It is composed by a language that lacks technicalities or too complex terms, and structured in a simple way, which facilitates the understanding of the information in front of the public to which it is exposed, this also facilitates the dissemination of information.


Although it is a didactic subgenre, it has been recognized mainly in recent times as one of the most important sections inside a book or text of greater length. The prologue is a type of brief text that allows to present to the reader a kind of introduction about the work in which it is found, through which it enriches the information with the exposition of the qualities of the work and its author, in this way it configures a kind of invitation to its reading and enjoyment. The prologue can be the author of the work or an external writer.


It consists of a popular saying, since it comes from the oral tradition and is part, at the same time, of the types of oral literature that has been transmitted through the generations by means of the word. It constitutes a type of instructive message through which a teaching or moral is presented that induces the listener or reader to reflect on a specific behavior or situation he/she is facing. Because it is a popular expression, most sayings do not have a recognized author.


It is a type of text through which an idea or a set of ideas in relation to a specific situation is presented in a structured and objective way. The treatise can deal with different elements regarding a particular field, which is why it is possible to find treatises on philosophy, treatises on literary matters, treatises on biology, science, among many others. Through the treatise, the author can transmit a proposal supported by conclusions that arise from previous processes and studies and will be aimed at the public of interest.

Characteristics of the didactic genre 

According to the subgenre, many of the characteristics may vary, however, they are usually present to a greater or lesser extent according to the form of composition chosen.

Characteristics of the didactic genre 

Expression of ideas

One of the main characteristics and at the same time, intentions of the genre is the expression of ideas and thoughts that predominate within the works that are built in the genre, reason why this intention usually predominates and not fiction, given that the thought receives the greatest importance within the work.


The didactic genre uses, for its composition, a series of elements from the argumentative and expository practice of the use of language with the very purpose of transmitting and expressing thoughts and ideas through varied formats from the subgenres already mentioned.


Although it depends specifically on the subgenre of the didactic genre being worked on, many of them end with an established thesis or, in other cases, with a moral that summarizes the teaching that is intended to be left in the reader and that was worked on throughout the course of the text.