Aural and musical: derives from oral culture—songs, hymns, ballads, recitations, public readings, private family readings; music as popularly experienced in parlor performances and church singing.

Lines and stanzas are arranged in a series of repeats and variations / alternations of stressed and unstressed syllables and passages

Pictorial—word painting, imagery, influenced by Romantics, Pre-Raphaelites


Colorful and detailed descriptions—age of realism, photography, tendency to see beauty in exactitute and detail (age of scientific advances)

Receptive to features also found in other genres—novels, serial fiction, fairy tales, drama, newspapers, argumentative or meditative essays


Embedded in issues of time--women’s sexuality, double gender standard, poverty, war, class inequities, issues of meaning and spirituality, scientific ideas, technology

Circulated in many forms, more available as century progressed—broadsides, cheap reprints, periodicals, books; the latter were often illustrated and given as gift books on special occasions

Intended to amuse, please, entertain, and prompt reflection