Literature and Poetry

Topics: Literature, Poetry, Epic poetry Pages: 6 (1847 words) Published: February 9, 2014
Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letter) is the art of written work. The word literature literally means: "things made from 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), a category that may also include polemical works, biographies, and reflective essays, or it may consist of texts based on imagination (such as fiction, poetry, or drama). Literature written in poetry emphasizes the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as sound, symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, ordinary meanings, while literature written in prose applies ordinary grammatical structure and the natural flow of speech. Literature can also be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. While the concept of genre has broadened over the centuries, in general, a genre consists of artistic works that fall within a certain central theme; 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 Elizabethan era of the 16th century (which includes the Shakespearean era), the 17th Century Restoration period, the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, the Romanticism of the early 19th century, the later 19th Century Victorian, and 20th Century Modernism and Post-modernism. Important intellectual movements that have influenced the study of literature include feminism, post-colonialism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, post-modernism, romanticism, and Marxism. Contents [hide]

1 History
2 Poetry
3 Essays
4 Other prose literature
4.1 Natural science
4.2 Philosophy
4.3 History
4.4 Law
5 Drama
6 Oral literature
7 Other narrative forms
8 Genres of literature
9 Literary techniques
10 Legal status
10.1 UK
11 See also
12 Notes
13 External links
History[edit]

Main article: History of literature
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 most likely 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 pre-urban 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,...
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