I am categorizing ebooks and audio books of fiction and non_fiction works. For this I have created folders named:

  • audio_fiction
  • audio_non_fiction
  • prose_fiction
  • prose_non_fiction

Does it makes sense to call fiction prose?

  • 4
    Most fiction is prose, but most audio fiction is also prose. "Printed" might be more useful if you want to distinguish it from "audio".
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:26
  • 6
    The usual interpretation is that "prose" is any writing that is not poetry, so "prose fiction" is not self-contradictory. But note that "prose" is not the opposite of "audio".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:27
  • 5
    "Text" might be a better term for the categories. Or "written".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:28
  • 1
    These categories are somewhat misguided, IMO. The medium (print [paper, ebook], audio) is not the genre. They should be separate attributes of the entity. The same title might be available in audio and print formats.
    – TRomano
    Jan 5, 2015 at 13:07
  • 1
    What has "prose" to do with "audio"? Audio can also be prose or verse. You obviously mean to distinguish between audio and text (written) material instead.
    – Kris
    Jan 5, 2015 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


Literature may be classified according to format (prose, poetry etc.) or according to content (fiction, non-fiction, drama, mystery etc.) or physical format (hardcover, paperback etc.). If you are willing to combine content type with physical format, then it is advisable to use audio, paperback or hardcover.

As these three are separate classification methods; it is proper to classify them accordingly. A work of audio_fiction or audio_nonfiction may well be prose or poetry; similarly it is possible for prose_fiction or prose_nonfiction to be audio or paperback.

  • 3
    Hmm are there "cetera"? Besides prose and verse, I mean. Jan 5, 2015 at 14:23
  • Oh wait, the OP's "classification" needs a rethink.
    – Kris
    Jan 5, 2015 at 14:32
  • @Cerberus Not considering 'worse,' of course.
    – Kris
    Jan 5, 2015 at 14:32
  • I was not sure. What about graphic novels/comic books can they be classified separately?
    – Vik
    Jan 5, 2015 at 15:50

Prose is usually used to distinguish it from poetry, like fiction is differentiated from non-fiction.

If I have trucks and buses, and they come in white or black, fiction prose may be a white bus. There is no reason why a bus could not be white, or why I should not call it that.

Actual, the only combination that seems a bit strange (although certainly not impossible!) would be non-fictional poetry. But fictional poetry, fictional prose and non-fictional prose are certainly common and I would see no reason not to name them aptly.

However, since you seem to be looking for an antonym of audio, you may have misunderstood the meaning and usage of prose. As some people have suggested in the comments, you might want to consider written, text or printed.

  • 3
    "The Charge of the Light Brigade" could be considered to be non-fiction poetry. As would be "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" (though it turns out that much of the "history" of that event is fiction).
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:34
  • @HotLicks: that is why I said it was certainly not impossible. There are also many sacred texts that are written in verse that are considered non-fiction by the adherents of those texts.
    – oerkelens
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:35
  • 2
    Why is "non-fictional poetry" so strange? I could give you endless lists of such works in Greek or Latin or Dutch, like Hesiod, Lucretius, Virgil, Kaandorp... Jan 5, 2015 at 14:27
  • 3
    @Cerberus: because fiction is in the eye of the beholder. You are entitled to your opinion that Virgil wrote non-fiction, but don't be too shocked when you discover libraries that put it on the fiction shelf. I dare say that of the four possible combinations it is the least common. For any item on your list I can give you several examples of fictional poetry, fictional prose and non-fictional prose. Any newspaper archive will take care of that last part, anyway. I didn't say it was so strange by the way, just a bit :)
    – oerkelens
    Jan 5, 2015 at 14:33
  • 1
    @oerkelens: You seem to be talking about the Aeneid, but this is the Georgics. Just because a writer writes fiction, doesn't mean he can't also write non-fiction. Another example that comes to mind: the Wilhelmus is not properly classified as fiction. Jan 5, 2015 at 15:31

Prose encompasses Fiction. T.S. Eliot called Percy Wyndham Lewis "the greatest prose writer of my generation". Wyndham Lewis wrote critical essays, satirical essays, satirical novels, and autobiographies. All were "prose". Only the novels were "fiction". The others were "non-fiction".

   Fiction (novels, novellas, collections of short stories)  
        Autobiography, Travel, Cookbooks, Essays, How-To Manuals, etc


Where to put so-called "Graphic Novels" --stories told in brief snippets of prose with an illustration for each event in the manner of "comic books"?

  • Are you implying that poetry can not be fiction or non-fiction? Is poetry in a meta-state of truth?
    – oerkelens
    Jan 5, 2015 at 14:36
  • 1
    Poetry, in the practical taxonomies of bookstores and academic course catalogs, is typically not considered Fiction; but that is a genre distinction relating to the way language is used; the distinction has nothing to do with the verity of the indited tale.
    – TRomano
    Jan 5, 2015 at 14:55

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