A More General Overview of Content Genre in Literary Annuals

        The short stories in only two literary annuals are insufficient evidence to illustrate the diversity of the contents of literary annuals in general; hence, Table 4-3 was generated from a subjective evaluation by the author of genre for prose contents in the thirty-one literary annuals indicated in the
Table 4-3.  The genre descriptors differ slightly from the previous study because they were coupled with the study of poem genre shown in Table 3-4. The differentiation between Romance and Romantic classifications is that the latter includes a love interest that is happily consummated.  The application of these descriptors is necessarily subjective; however, the evaluation supports general critical opinion that the predominant prose genres in the literary annuals are sentimental, romantic, memorial, and religious.  It is interesting to note that the gender participation in writing romantic, romance, and morality stories is fairly well balanced, but male writers dominate in historical, didactic, and travel prose.  This is probably due to greater education and travel opportunities for men.  There are twice as many female as male writers of sentimental stories.  This sample of 479 prose selections constitute only 17 percent of 2,760 prose pieces in the Index; however, the literary annuals surveyed were selected to represent the most popular and long-lived annuals.  Figure 4-1 shows different gender contributions over the lifetime of the annuals.  Male contributions decrease with timewhere female contributions remained fairly consistent to the end of annual publication.  There is potential for more interesting work to be done in researching the development of prose in annuals.