My only point of contention with your characterization is that, while great "genre" transcends that easy categorization to become literature, I still feel it retains a link to it's genre origins and would not have it stand entirely out of it if I had to judge where it should be placed according to traditional literary taxonomy. To make it clear to anyone else reading, an easy way to distinguish genre from literature is that genre gives the reader what he wants, using the common archetypes of it's sub-category as a conduct to an expected end. I think you're conflating 'genre fiction' and literary genres. The former is a bit of a misnomer and generally refers to what you're calling 'genre'. I'm using the term 'genre' in the taxonomical sense i.e. to refer to the varies methods of classifying literature based on their attributes. In essence, we're using different terms to discuss the same thing. I understand what you're saying and agree. 'Horror', at least as I would likely define it, is at the bottom of a gradated scale. Some books have evil and twisted characters and motifs, yet don't continually play a droning note of dread. These better books seem to be able to lift themselves out of that scale entirely and their only connections to airport novellas are details of little overall importance. For example, in Dracula, in Jonathan Harker's letters the climbing crescendo of dread, incomplete glances of Dracula's peculiarities, and changing tone in his letters are Stoker's best writing. By the last letter, the reader is still unaware of what Dracula is, but is trapped with Harker in the count's castle and can only piece together a picture of Dracula through the fragments of epistles. It's a mixed feeling of fear begotten of strangeness and intrigue common to most horror stories, but the intrigue and fear never overshadow one another and alter intensities between letters. And really what supports these scenes are Stoker's writing -- Harker himself can never fully see or understand what is happening, and the reader can see even less through the letters. The incomplete images are, paradoxially, vivid and Harker's changing moods can be felt through the changes in the tone of his letters. These are the elements of literature albeit surrounded by old castles and coffins. ...then the reader is rescued by a diary entry and Van Helsing holds a press conference and saves the world. The end. I'm going to re-read the first part of Dracula now.