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Literature

Definition :

The word "literature" has different meanings depending on who is using it. It could be
applied broadly to mean any symbolic record, encompassing everything from images and
sculptures to letters. In a more narrow sense the term could mean only text composed of
letters, or other examples of symbolic written language (Egyptian hieroglyphs, for
example). An even more narrow interpretation is that text have a physical form, such as
on paper or some other portable form, to the exclusion of inscriptions or digital media.
The Muslim scholar and philosopher Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (702-765 AD) defined
"literature" as follows: "Literature is the garment which one puts on what he says or
writes so that it may appear more attractive."[1] added that literature is a slice of life that
has been given direction and meaning, an artistic interpretation of the world according to
the percipient's point of views. Frequently, the texts that make up literature crossed over
these boundaries. Russian Formalist Roman Jakobson defines literature as "organized
violence committed on ordinary speech", highlighting literature's deviation from the day-
to-day and conversational structure of words. Illustrated stories, hypertexts, cave
paintings and inscribed monuments have all at one time or another pushed the boundaries
of "literature."

People may perceive a difference between "literature" and some popular forms of written
work. The terms "literary fiction" and "literary merit" often serve to distinguish between
individual works. For example, almost all literate people perceive the works of Charles
Dickens as "literature," whereas some critics[citation needed] look down on the works of Jeffrey
Archer as unworthy of inclusion under the general heading of "English literature." Critics
may exclude works from the classification "literature," for example, on the grounds of a
poor standard of grammar and syntax, of an unbelievable or disjointed story-line, or of
inconsistent or unconvincing characters. Genre fiction (for example: romance, crime, or
science fiction) may also become excluded from consideration as "literature."

Major forms:

Novel
Poem
Drama
Short story
Novella
A novel (from the Italian novella, Spanish novela, French nouvelle for "new", "news", or
"short story of something new") is today a long narrative in literary prose, a genre with
historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the
tradition of the novella, that supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century.

The criteria one can give beyond these – the claim of specific artistic merits, fictionality
of content, a design to create an epic totality of life, a focus on history and the individual
– have historically served to raise two specific discussions: The one brings the novel on
one level with public and private histories. The memoir and the autobiography are
neighboring genres here. The other leads into the contrary direction of establishing the
novel in a field of art, requiring its own evaluations, its own historical perspective and its
own sensitivity on the side of the reader to be fully understood and properly appreciated.

Poetry (from the Greek "ποίησις", poiesis, a "making") is a form of literary art in which
language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its
apparent meaning. Poetry may be written independently, as discrete poems, or may occur
in conjunction with other arts, as in poetic drama, hymns or lyrics.

Poetry, and discussions of it, have a long history. Early attempts to define poetry, such as
Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song and comedy.[1]
Later attempts concentrated on features such as repetition, verse form and rhyme, and
emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from prose.[2] From the mid-20th
century, poetry has sometimes been more loosely defined as a fundamental creative act
using language.[3]

Poetry often uses particular forms and conventions to suggest at alternative meanings in
the words, or to evoke emotional or sensual responses. Devices such as assonance,
alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or
incantatory effects. The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony and other stylistic elements
of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly,
metaphor, simile and metonymy[4] create a resonance between otherwise disparate images
—a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. Kindred forms
of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm.

Some forms of poetry are specific to particular cultures and genres, responding to the
characteristics of the language in which the poet writes. While readers accustomed to
identifying poetry with Dante, Goethe, Mickiewicz and Rumi may think of it as being
written in rhyming lines and regular meter, there are traditions, such as those of Du Fu
and Beowulf, that use other approaches to achieve rhythm and euphony. Much of modern
British and American poetry is to some extent a critique of poetic tradition[5], playing with
and testing (among other things) the principle of euphony itself, to the extent that
sometimes it deliberately does not rhyme or keep to set rhythms at all.[6][7][8] In today's
globalized world, poets often borrow styles, techniques and forms from diverse cultures
and languages.
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance.[1] The term comes
from a Greek word meaning "action" (Classical Greek: δράμα, dráma), which is derived
from "to do" (Classical Greek: δράω, dráō). The enactment of drama in theatre,
performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of
production and a collective form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts, unlike
other forms of literature, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and
collective reception.[2] The early modern tragedy Hamlet (1601) by Shakespeare and the
classical Athenian tragedy Oedipus the King (c. 429 BCE) by Sophocles are among the
supreme masterpieces of the art of drama.[3]

The two masks associated with drama represent the traditional generic division between
comedy and tragedy. They are symbols of the ancient Greek Muses, Thalia and
Melpomene. Thalia was the Muse of comedy (the laughing face), while Melpomene was
the Muse of tragedy (the weeping face). Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the
dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical modes ever since
Aristotle's Poetics (c. 335 BCE)—the earliest work of dramatic theory.[4]

The use of "drama" in the narrow sense to designate a specific type of play dates from the
19th century. Drama in this sense refers to a play that is neither a comedy nor a tragedy--
for example, Zola's Thérèse Raquin (1873) or Chekhov's Ivanov (1887). It is this narrow
sense that the film and television industry and film studies adopted to describe "drama" as
a genre within their respective media.[5] "Radio drama" has been used in both senses--
originally transmitted in a live performance, it has also been used to describe the more
high-brow and serious end of the dramatic output of radio.[6]

Drama is often combined with music and dance: the drama in opera is sung throughout;
musicals include spoken dialogue and songs; and some forms of drama have regular
musical accompaniment (melodrama and Japanese Nō, for example).[7] In certain periods
of history (the ancient Roman and modern Romantic) dramas have been written to be
read rather than performed.[8] In improvisation, the drama does not pre-exist the moment
of performance; performers devise a dramatic script spontaneously before an audience.[9]
The short story refers to a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, usually in
narrative format. This format or medium tends to be more pointed than longer works of
fiction, such as novellas (in the 20th and 21st century sense) and novels or books. Short
story definitions based upon length differ somewhat even among professional writers,
due somewhat in part to the fragmentation of the medium into genres. Since the short
story format includes a wide range of genres and styles, the actual length is mitigated
somewhere between the individual author's preference (or the story's actual needs in
terms of creative trajectory or story arc) and the submission guidelines relevant to the
story's actual market. Guidelines vary greatly among publishers.

Many short story writers define their work through a combination of creative, personal
expression and artistic integrity. As a result, many attempt to resist categorization by
genre as well as definition by numbers, finding such approaches limiting and counter-
intuitive to artistic form and reasoning. As a result, definitions of the short story based
upon length splinter even more when the writing process is taken into consideration.

A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a
novel. While there is disagreement as to what length defines a novella, the Science
Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the
novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000.[1]

Although the novella is a common literary genre in several European languages, it is less
common in English. English-speaking readers may be most familiar with the novellas of
John Steinbeck, particularly Of Mice and Men and The Pearl, Herman Melville's Billy
Budd, Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and In the Penal Colony, George Orwell's
Animal Farm, Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man
and the Sea, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Thomas Mann's Death in
Venice, Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Jack
Kerouac has written many novellas such as Pic, Tristessa, The Subterraneans, and Satori
in Paris. Most of the best-known works of H. P. Lovecraft are novellas, including The
Shadow out of Time, The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

Like the English word "novel", the English word "novella" is derived from the Italian
word "novella" (plural: "novelle"), for a tale, a piece of news. As the etymology suggests,
novellas originally were news of town and country life worth repeating for amusement
and edification.
Genres:

Lyric poetry

Romance

Tragicomedy

Comedy

Satire

Epic

tragedy

Lyric poetry refers to a usually short poem that expresses personal feelings, which may
or may not be set to music.[1] Aristotle, in Poetics, contrasted lyric poetry with drama and
epic poetry. An example would be a poem that expresses feelings and may be a song that
could be performed to an audience.

As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance refers to a style of


heroic prose and verse narrative that was particularly current in aristocratic literature of
Medieval and Early Modern Europe, that narrated fantastic stories about the marvellous
adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight, often of super-human ability, who goes on a
quest. Popular literature also drew on themes of romance, but with ironic, satiric or
burlesque intent. Romances often reworked legends and fairy tales and traditional tales
about Charlemagne and Roland or King Arthur. A related tradition existed in Northern
Europe, and comes down to us in the form of epics, such as Beowulf, which were deeply
imbued with dreamlike and magical elements foreign to the classical epics.

Originally, romance literature was written in Old French, Anglo-Norman and Occitan,
later, in English and German. During the early 13th century romances were increasingly
written as prose. In later romances, particularly those of French origin, there is a marked
tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love, such as faithfulness in adversity. From ca.
1800 the connotations of "romance" moved from the magical and fantastic to somewhat
eerie "Gothic" adventure narratives.
Tragicomedy is fictional work that blend aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In
English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy
referred to a serious play with a happy ending. Tragedy (Ancient Greek: τραγῳδία,
tragōidia, "goat-song") is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience
pleasure.[1] While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical
response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and
important role historically in the history of Western civilization.[2] That tradition has been
multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect
of cultural identity and historical continuity--"the Greeks and the Elizabethans, in one
cultural form; Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity," as Raymond Williams puts
it.[3] From its obscure origins in the theatres of Athens 2500 years ago, from which there
survives only a fraction of the work of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, through its
singular articulations in the works of Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine, or Schiller, to
the more recent naturalistic tragedy of Strindberg, Beckett's modernist meditations on
death, loss and suffering, or Müller's postmodernist reworkings of the tragic canon,
tragedy has remained an important site of cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle,
and change.[4] A long line of philosophers--which includes Plato, Aristotle, Saint
Augustine, Diderot, Voltaire, Hume, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard,
Freud, Benjamin and Deleuze--have analysed, speculated upon and criticised the tragic
form.[5] In the wake of Aristotle's Poetics (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make
genre distinctions, whether at the scale of poetry in general, where the tragic divides
against epic and lyric, or at the scale of the drama, where tragedy is opposed to comedy.
In the modern era, tragedy has also been defined against drama, melodrama, the
tragicomic and epic theatre.[6]

The word "comedy" is derived from the Classical Greek κωμῳδία, which is a compound
either of κῶμος (revel) or κώμη (village) and ᾠδή (singing): it is possible that κῶμος
itself is derived from κώμη, and originally meant a village revel. The adjective "comic"
(Greek κωμικός), which strictly means that which relates to comedy is, in modern usage,
generally confined to the sense of "laughter-provoking".[1] The word came into modern
usage through the Latin comoedia and Italian commedia and has, over time, passed
through various shades of meaning.[2]

Greeks and Romans confined the word "comedy" to descriptions of stage-plays with
happy endings. In the middle ages, the term expanded to include narrative poems with
happy endings and a lighter tone. In this sense Dante used the term in the title of his
poem, La Divina Commedia. As time progressed, the word came more and more to be
associated with any sort of performance intended to cause laughter.[2]
Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although, in practice, it is also
found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, human or individual vices, follies,
abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque,
irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement.[1] Although
satire is usually meant to be funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humour in itself
so much as an attack on something of which the author strongly disapproves, using the
weapon of wit.

A very common, almost defining feature of satire is its strong vein of irony or sarcasm,
but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double
entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. The essential point,
however, is that "in satire, irony is militant".[2] This "militant irony" (or sarcasm) often
professes to approve the very things the satirist actually wishes to attack

An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing


details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation.[1] Oral poetry may
qualify as an epic, although even the works of such great poets as Homer, Vyasa, Virgil,
Dante Alighieri and John Milton would be unlikely to have survived without being
written down. The first epics are known as primary, or original, epics. Epics that attempt
to imitate these like Virgil's The Aeneid and John Milton's Paradise Lost are known as
literary, or secondary, epics. One such epic is the Anglo-Saxon story Beowulf.[2] Another
type of epic poetry is epyllion (plural: epyllia) which is a brief narrative poem with a
romantic or mythological theme. The term, which means 'little epic', came in use in the
Nineteenth century. It refers primarily to the type of erotic and mythological long elegy
of which Ovid remains the master; to a lesser degree, the term includes some poems of
the English Renaissance, particularly those influenced by Ovid. One suggested example
of classical epyllion may be seen in the story of Nisus and Euryalus in Book IX of The
Aeneid.
Tragedy (Ancient Greek: τραγῳδία, tragōidia, "goat-song") is a form of art based on
human suffering that offers its audience pleasure.[1] While most cultures have developed
forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of
drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the history of Western
civilization.[2] That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often
been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity and historical continuity--"the
Greeks and the Elizabethans, in one cultural form; Hellenes and Christians, in a common
activity," as Raymond Williams puts it.[3] From its obscure origins in the theatres of
Athens 2500 years ago, from which there survives only a fraction of the work of
Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, through its singular articulations in the works of
Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine, or Schiller, to the more recent naturalistic tragedy of
Strindberg, Beckett's modernist meditations on death, loss and suffering, or Müller's
postmodernist reworkings of the tragic canon, tragedy has remained an important site of
cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change.[4] A long line of
philosophers--which includes Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Diderot, Voltaire, Hume,
Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Freud, Benjamin and Deleuze--have
analysed, speculated upon and criticised the tragic form.[5] In the wake of Aristotle's
Poetics (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make genre distinctions, whether at the
scale of poetry in general, where the tragic divides against epic and lyric, or at the scale
of the drama, where tragedy is opposed to comedy. In the modern era, tragedy has also
been defined against drama, melodrama, the tragicomic and epic theatre