This study is a historical analysis of genre theory in both western and eastern contexts, as an attempt to understand the relationship between literature and culture. Culture represents power, institutionalizes literary creativity, and determines what counts as literature and what cannot. The study attempts to answer a central question: Can literature survive outside genre theory? It divides Arab genre theory into two phases: first, the lyrical phase in which poetry alone dominated the cultural scene; and second the dialectical phase in which the status of poetry was challenged with the emergence of prose and the writer. The western context also went through two phases, the first one can call the orthodox phase which was marked with a clear and programmatic division into genres, starting with Aristotle's Poetics which divided literature into epic, tragedy and drama; and the second, the phase of the novel or the phase of revolution or inspiration by revolution.