Definition of Literature Cited from Wikipedia

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LITERATURE:

Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letter) is the art of written work and can, in some circumstances, refer exclusively to published sources. The word literatureliterally means "things made from letters" and the pars pro toto term "letters" is sometimes used to signify "literature," as in the figures of speech "arts and letters" and "man of letters." Literature is commonly classified as having two major forms—fiction and non-fiction—and two major techniques—poetry and prose. Literature may consist of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), as well as on original imagination, such as polemical works as well asautobiography, and reflective essays as well as belles-lettres. Literature can be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. The concept of genre, which earlier was limited, has broadened over the centuries. A genre consists of artistic works which fall within a certain central theme, and examples of genre include romance, mystery, crime, fantasy, erotica, and adventure, among others. Important historical periods in English literature include Old English, Middle English, the Renaissance, the 17th Century Shakespearean and Elizabethan times, the 18th Century Restoration, 19th Century Victorian, and 20th Century Modernism. Important intellectual movements that have influenced the study of literature include feminism, post-colonialism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, post-modernism, romanticism, and Marxism. Contents

1 History
2 Poetry
3 Essays
4 Other prose literature
o4.1 Natural science
o4.2 Philosophy
o4.3 History
o4.4 Law
5 Drama
6 Oral literature
7 Other narrative forms
8 Genres of literature
9 Literary techniques
10 Legal status
o10.1 UK

History
Main article: History of literature

Old book bindings at the Merton College, Oxford library
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest known literary works. This Babylonian epic poem arises from stories in the Sumerian language. Although the Sumerian stories are older (probably dating to at least 2100 B.C.), it was probably composed around 1900 BC. The epic deals with themes of heroism, friendship, loss, and the quest for eternal life. Different historical periods are reflected in literature. National and tribal sagas, accounts of the origin of the world and of customs, and myths which sometimes carry moral or spiritual messages predominate in the preurban eras. The epics of Homer, dating from the early to middle Iron age, and the great Indian epics of a slightly later period, have more evidence of deliberate literary authorship, surviving like the older myths through oral tradition for long periods before being written down. As a more urban culture developed, academies provided a means of transmission for speculative and philosophical literature in early civilizations, resulting in the prevalence of literature in Ancient China, Ancient India, Persia and Ancient Greece and Rome. Many works of earlier periods, even in narrative form, had a covert moral or didactic purpose, such as the Sanskrit Panchatantra or the Metamorphoses of Ovid. Drama and satire also developed as urban culture provided a larger public audience, and later readership, for literary production. Lyric poetry (as opposed to epic poetry) was often the speciality of courts and aristocratic circles, particularly in East Asia where songs were collected by the Chinese aristocracy as poems, the most notable being the Shijing or Book of Songs. Over a long period, the poetry of popular pre-literate balladry and song interpenetrated and eventually influenced poetry in the literary medium. In ancient China, early literature was primarily focused on philosophy, historiography, military science, agriculture, and poetry. China, the origin of modern paper making and woodblock printing, produced one of the world's first print cultures.[1] Much of Chinese literature originates with the...
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