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Literature, in its broadest sense, is any written work; etymologically the term derives from Latin

literatura/litteratura "writing formed with letters", although some definitions include spoken or sung texts.
More restrictively, it is writing that possesses literary merit, and language that foregrounds literariness, as
opposed to ordinary language. Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction and
whether it is poetry or prose; it can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short
story or drama; and works are often categorised according to historical periods or their adherence to certain
aesthetic features or expectations (genre).
Taken to mean only written works, literature was first produced by some of the world's earliest civilizations
those of Ancient Egypt and Sumeriaas early as the 4th millennium BC; taken to include spoken or sung texts,
it originated even earlier, and some of the first written works may have been based on an already-existing oral
tradition. As urban cultures and societies developed, there was a proliferation in the forms of literature.
Developments in print technology allowed for literature to be distributed and experienced on an
unprecedented scale, which has culminated in the twenty-first century in electronic literature.

There have been various attempts to define "literature".[1] Simon and Delyse Ryan begin their attempt to
answer the question "What is Literature?" with the observation:
The quest to discover a definition for "literature" is a road that is much travelled, though the point of arrival, if
ever reached, is seldom satisfactory. Most attempted definitions are broad and vague, and they inevitably
change over time. In fact, the only thing that is certain about defining literature is that the definition will
change. Concepts of what is literature change over time as well.[2]
Definitions of literature have varied over time; it is a "culturally relative definition".[3] In Western Europe prior
to the eighteenth century, literature as a term indicated all books and writing. [3] A more restricted sense of the
term emerged during the Romantic period, in which it began to demarcate "imaginative" literature.[4][5]
Contemporary debates over what constitutes literature can be seen as returning to the older, more inclusive
notion of what constitutes literature. Cultural studies, for instance, takes as its subject of analysis both popular
and minority genres, in addition to canonical works.[3]
The value judgement definition of literature considers it to exclusively include writing that possesses a literary
quality or distinction, forming part of the so-called belles-lettres ('fine writing') tradition.[6] This is the definition
used in the Encyclopdia Britannica Eleventh Edition (191011) when it classifies literature as "the best
expression of the best thought reduced to writing."[7] However, this has the result that there is no objective
definition of what constitutes "literature"; anything can be literature, and anything which is universally
regarded as literature has the potential to be excluded, since value-judgements can change over time.[6]
The formalist definition is that the history of "literature" foregrounds poetic effects; it is the "literariness" or
"poeticity" of literature that distinguishes it from ordinary speech or other kinds of writing (e.g. journalism).[8][9]
Jim Meyer considers this a useful characteristic in explaining the use of the term to mean published material in
a particular field (e.g. "Scientific literature"), as such writing must use language according to particular
standards.[1] The problem with the formalist definition is that in order to say that literature deviates from
ordinary uses of language, those uses must first be identified; this is difficult because "ordinary language" is an
unstable category, differing according to social categories and across history.[10]

Etymologically, the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "learning, a writing, grammar," originally
"writing formed with letters," from litera/littera "letter".[11] In spite of this, the term has also been applied to
spoken or sung texts.[1][12]

Major forms[edit]
Main article: Poetry
A calligram by Guillaume Apollinaire. These are a type of poem in which the written words are arranged in
such a way to produce a visual image.
Poetry is a form of literary art which uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meanings in
addition to, or in place of, prosaic ostensible meaning.[13] Poetry has traditionally been distinguished from
prose by its being set in verse;[a] prose is cast in sentences, poetry in lines; the syntax of prose is dictated by
meaning, whereas that of poetry is held across metre or the visual aspects of the poem. [18] Prior to the
nineteenth century, poetry was commonly understood to be something set in metrical lines; accordingly, in
1658 a definition of poetry is "any kind of subject consisting of Rythm or Verses". [13] Possibly as a result of
Aristotle's influence (his Poetics), "poetry" before the nineteenth century was usually less a technical
designation for verse than a normative category of fictive or rhetorical art.[19] As a form it may pre-date
literacy, with the earliest works being composed within and sustained by an oral tradition;[20][21] hence it
constitutes the earliest example of literature.

Main article: Prose
Prose is a form of language that possesses ordinary syntax and natural speech rather than rhythmic structure;
in which regard, along with its measurement in sentences rather than lines, it differs from poetry. [18][22] On the
historical development of prose, Richard Graff notes that "[In the case of Ancient Greece] recent scholarship
has emphasized the fact that formal prose was a comparatively late development, an "invention" properly
associated with the classical period".[23]

Novel: a long fictional prose narrative. It was the form's close relation to real life that differentiated it
from the chivalric romance;[24][25] in most European languages the equivalent term is roman, indicating
the proximity of the forms.[25] In English, the term emerged from the Romance languages in the late
fifteenth century, with the meaning of "news"; it came to indicate something new, without a
distinction between fact or fiction.[26] Although there are many historical prototypes, so-called "novels
before the novel",[27] the modern novel form emerges late in cultural historyroughly during the
eighteenth century.[28] Initially subject to much criticism, the novel has acquired a dominant position
amongst literary forms, both popularly and critically.[25][29][30]
Novella: in purely quantitative terms, the novella exists between the novel and short story; the
publisher Melville House classifies it as "Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story". [31] There
is no precise definition in terms of word or page count.[32] Literary prizes and publishing houses often
have their own arbitrary limits,[33] which vary according to their particular intentions. Summarising the
variable definitions of the novella, William Giraldi concludes "[it is a form] whose identity seems
destined to be disputed into perpetuity".[34] It has been suggested that the size restriction of the form

produces various stylistic results, both some that are shared with the novel or short story, [35][36] and
others unique to the form.[37]
Short story: a dilemma in defining the "short story" as a literary form is how to, or whether one should,
distinguish it from any short narrative; hence it also has a contested origin, [38] variably suggested as the
earliest short narratives (e.g. the Bible), early short story writers (e.g. Edgar Allan Poe), or the clearly
modern short story writers (e.g. Anton Chekhov).[39] Apart from its distinct size, various theorists have
suggested that the short story has a characteristic subject matter or structure; [40][41] these discussions
often position the form in some relation to the novel.[42]

The history of literature follows closely the development of civilization. When defined exclusively as written
work, Ancient Egyptian literature,[43] along with Sumerian literature are considered the world's oldest
literatures.[44] The primary genres of the literature of Ancient Egyptdidactic texts, hymns and prayers, and
taleswere almost entirely written in verse;[45] while use of poetic devices is clearly recognisable, the prosody
of the verse is unknown.[46]
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.[47] Much of Chinese literature originates with the Hundred Schools of Thought
period that occurred during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (769-269 BCE). The most important of these include the
Classics of Confucianism, of Daoism, of Mohism, of Legalism, as well as works of military science (e.g. Sun Tzu's
The Art of War) and Chinese history (e.g. Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian). Ancient Chinese
literature had a heavy emphasis on historiography, with often very detailed court records. An exemplary piece
of narrative history of ancient China was the Zuo Zhuan, which was compiled no later than 389 BCE, and
attributed to the blind 5th century BCE historian Zuo Qiuming.
In ancient India, literature originated from stories that were originally orally transmitted. Early genres included
drama, fables, sutras and epic poetry. Sanskrit literature begins with the Vedas, dating back to 15001000
BCE, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India. The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The
Samhitas (vedic collections) date to roughly 15001000 BCE, and the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the
redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000-500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid

1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.[48] The period between approximately the 6th to
1st centuries BC saw the composition and redaction of the two most influential Indian epics, the Mahabharata
and the Ramayana, with subsequent redaction progressing down to the 4th century AD.
In ancient Greece, the epics of Homer, who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, and Hesiod, who wrote Works
and Days and Theogony, are some of the earliest, and most influential, of Ancient Greek literature. Classical
Greek genres included philosophy, poetry, historiography, comedies and dramas. Plato and Aristotle authored
philosophical texts that are the foundation of Western philosophy, Sappho and Pindar were influential lyrical
poets, and Herodotus and Thucydides were early Greek historians. Although drama was popular in Ancient
Greece, of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of
plays by three authors still exist: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The plays of Aristophanes provide the
only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, the earliest form of Greek Comedy, and
are in fact used to define the genre.[49]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and author of the Faust books
Roman histories and biographies anticipated the extensive mediaeval literature of lives of saints and
miraculous chronicles, but the most characteristic form of the Middle Ages was the romance, an adventurous
and sometimes magical narrative with strong popular appeal. Controversial, religious, political and
instructional literature proliferated during the Renaissance as a result of the invention of printing, while the
mediaeval romance developed into a more character-based and psychological form of narrative, the novel, of
which early and important examples are the Chinese Monkey and the German Faust books.
In the Age of Reason philosophical tracts and speculations on history and human nature integrated literature
with social and political developments. The inevitable reaction was the explosion of Romanticism in the later
18th century which reclaimed the imaginative and fantastical bias of old romances and folk-literature and
asserted the primacy of individual experience and emotion. But as the 19th-century went on, European fiction
evolved towards realism and naturalism, the meticulous documentation of real life and social trends. Much of
the output of naturalism was implicitly polemical, and influenced social and political change, but 20th century
fiction and drama moved back towards the subjective, emphasising unconscious motivations and social and
environmental pressures on the individual. Writers such as Proust, Eliot, Joyce, Kafka and Pirandello exemplify
the trend of documenting internal rather than external realities.
Genre fiction also showed it could question reality in its 20th century forms, in spite of its fixed formulas,
through the enquiries of the skeptical detective and the alternative realities of science fiction. The separation
of "mainstream" and "genre" forms (including journalism) continued to blur during the period up to our own
times. William Burroughs, in his early works, and Hunter S. Thompson expanded documentary reporting into
strong subjective statements after the second World War, and post-modern critics have disparaged the idea of
objective realism in general.

Main article: List of literary awards
There are numerous awards recognising achievement and contribution in literature. Given the diversity of the
field, awards are typically limited in scope, usually on: form, genre, language, nationality and output (e.g. for
first-time writers or debut novels).[50]

The Nobel Prize in Literature was one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895,[51]
and is awarded to an author on the basis of their body of work, rather than to, or for, a particular work itself. [b]
Other literary prizes for which all nationalities are eligible include: the Neustadt International Prize for
Literature, the Man Booker International Prize and the Franz Kafka Prize.



Philippine Literature is a diverse and rich group of works that has evolved side-by-side with
the countrys history. Literature had started with fables and legends made by the ancient
Filipinos long before the arrival of Spanish influence. The main themes of Philippine literature
focus on the countrys pre-colonial cultural traditions and the socio-political histories of its
colonial and contemporary traditions.

It is not a secret that many Filipinos are unfamiliar with much of the country's literary
heritage, especially those that were written long before the Spaniards arrived in our
country. This is due to the fact that the stories of ancient time were not written, but
rather passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth. Only during
1521 did the early Filipinos became acquainted with literature due to the influence of
the Spaniards on us. But the literature that the Filipinos became acquainted with are not
Philippine-made, rather, they were works of Spanish authors.

So successful were the efforts of colonists to blot out the memory of the country's
largely oral past that present-day Filipino writers, artists and journalists are trying to
correct this inequity by recognizing the country's wealth of ethnic traditions and
disseminating them in schools through mass media.

The rise of nationalistic pride in the 1960s and 1970s also helped bring about this
change of attitude among a new breed of Filipinos concerned about the "Filipino

native Philippine Languages.


in Spanish, English, Tagalog,

and/or other

Why do we need to study Philippine Literature?

Whatever nationality you are it is always very important to study the literature of
your country. In doing so you are not only learning about the historical aspects of your

land, but you are also keeping alive the thoughts, beliefs and cultural variations of your
ancestors that differentiate your country from the rest of the world.
A country's literature also tells us about its civilization in a form other than straight fact.
Literature is usually one person's description of a situation told through their own
personal feelings; eyewitness testimony to historical events that we were
not present at. Writers have a talent for bringing the past back to life with emotive
language and metaphor, helping us to imagine scenarios that may have happened
decades, or even centuries, ago.

Cebuano literature
Hiligaynon literature
Ilokano literature
Tagalog literature
Waray literature
Philippine Poetry
Philippine Literature in English
Philippine Literature in Filipino
Philippine Literature in Spanish
Jose Rizal
Marcelo H. Del Pilar
Carlos P. Romulo
Francisco Balagtas
Amado V. Hernandez
Carlos Bulosan
Teodoro M. Locsin
Claro M. Recto

Noli Me Tangere
El Filibusterismo
Biag ni Lam-ang
Ibong Adarna
Florante at Laura
Doctrina Christiana
Genres of literature are important to learn about. The two main categories separating the
different genres of literature are fiction and nonfiction. There are several genres of literature
that fall under the nonfiction category. Nonfiction sits in direct opposition to fiction. Examples
from both the fiction and nonfiction genres of literature are explained in detail below.
Types of Nonfiction:

Narrative Nonfiction is information based on fact that is presented in a format which

tells a story.
Essays are a short literary composition that reflects the authors outlook or point. A
short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and
generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.
A Biography is a written account of another persons life.
An Autobiography gives the history of a persons life, written or told by that person.
Often written in Narrative form of their persons life.

Speech is the faculty or power of speaking; oral communication; ability to express ones
thoughts and emotions by speech, sounds, and gesture. Generally delivered in the form
of an address or discourse.

Genres of Fiction:

Drama is the genre of literature thats subject for compositions is dramatic art in the
way it is represented. This genre is stories composed in verse or prose, usually for
theatrical performance, where conflicts and emotion are expressed through dialogue
and action.
Poetry is verse and rhythmic writing with imagery that evokes an emotional response
from the reader. The art of poetry is rhythmical in composition, written or spoken. This
genre of literature is for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated
Fantasy is the forming of mental images with strange or other worldly settings or
characters; fiction which invites suspension of reality.
Humor is the faculty of perceiving what is amusing or comical. Fiction full of fun, fancy,
and excitement which meant to entertain. This genre of literature can actually be seen
and contained within all genres.
A Fable is a story about supernatural or extraordinary people Usually in the form of
narration that demonstrates a useful truth. In Fables, animals often speak as humans
that are legendary and supernatural tales.
Fairy Tales or wonder tales are a kind of folktale or fable. Sometimes the stories are
about fairies or other magical creatures, usually for children
Science Fiction is a story based on impact of potential science, either actual or
imagined. Science fiction is one of the genres of literature that is set in the future or on
other planets.
Short Story is fiction of such briefness that is not able to support any subplots.
Realistic Fiction is a story that can actually happen and is true to real life.
Folklore are songs, stories, myths, and proverbs of a person of folk that was handed
down by word of mouth. Folklore is a genre of literature that is widely held, but false
and based on unsubstantiated beliefs.
Historical Fiction is a story with fictional characters and events in a historical setting.

Horror is an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by literature that is frightfully

shocking, terrifying, or revolting. Fiction in which events evoke a feeling of dread in both
the characters and the reader.
A Tall Tale is a humorous story with blatant exaggerations, swaggering heroes who do
the impossible with an here of nonchalance.
Legend is a story that sometimes of a national or folk hero. Legend is based on fact but
also includes imaginative material.
Mystery is a genre of fiction that deals with the solution of a crime or the unraveling of
secrets. Anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown.
Mythology is a type of legend or traditional narrative. This is often based in part on
historical events, that reveals human behavior and natural phenomena by its
symbolism; often pertaining to the actions of the gods. A body of myths, as that of a
particular people or that relating to a particular person.
Fiction in Verse is full-length novels with plot, subplots, themes, with major and minor
characters. Fiction of verse is one of the genres of literature in which the narrative is
usually presented in blank verse form.

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