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written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.

"a great work of literature"
synonyms: written works, writings, writing, creative writing, literary texts, compositions;
"English literature"
books and writings published on a particular subject.
"the literature on environmental epidemiology"
publications, published writings, texts, reports, studies
"the literature on prototype theory"
leaflets and other printed matter used to advertise products or give advice.
synonyms printed
matter, brochures, leaflets, pamphlets, circulars, flyers, handouts, handbills,bulletins, f
act sheets, publicity, propaganda, notices
"election literature"
Definition: What is literature? Why do we read it? Why is literature important?
Literature is a term used to describe written and sometimes spoken material. Derived
from the Latinlitteratura meaning "writing formed with letters," literature most commonly
refers to works of the creative imagination, including poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction,
journalism, and in some instances, song.
Why do we read literature?
Simply put, literature represents the culture and tradition of a language or a people. It's
difficult to precisely define, though many have tried, but it's clear that the
accepted definition of literature is constantly changing and evolving.
For many, the word literature suggests a higher art form, merely putting words on a
page doesn't necessarily mean creating literature.
A canon is the accepted body of works for a given author. Some works of literature are
considered canonical, that is culturally representative of a particlar genre.
But what we consider to be literature can vary from one generation to the next. For
instance, Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby Dick was considered a failure by
contemporary reviewiers. However, it's since been recognized as a master work, and is
frequently cited as one of the best works of western literature for its thematic complexity
and use of symbolism to tell the story of Captain Ahab and the white whale. By reading

Moby Dick in the present day, we can gain a fuller understanding of literary traditions in
Melville's time.
In this way, literature is more than just a historical or cultural artifact, but can serve as
an introduction to a new world of experience.
Why is literature important?
Ultimately, we may discover meaning in literature by looking at what the author writes or
says, and how he or she says it. We may interpret and debate an author's message by
examining the words he or she chooses in a given novel or work, or observing which
character or voice serves as the connection to the reader.
In academia, this decoding of the text is often carried out through the use of literary
theory, using a mythological, sociological, psychological, historical, or other approach to
better understand the context and depth of a work.
Works of literature, at their best, provide a kind of blueprint of human civilization. From
the writings of ancient civilizations like Egypt, and China, to Greek philosophy and
poetry; from the epics of Homer to the plays of Shakespeare, from Jane Austen and
Charlotte Bronte to Maya Angelou, works of literature give insight and context to all the
world's societies.
Whatever critical paradigm we use to discuss and analyze it, literature is important to us
because it speaks to us, it is universal, and it affects us on a deeply personal level. Even
when it is ugly, literature is beautiful.
Also Known As: Classics, learning, erudition, belles-lettres, lit, literary works, written
work, writings, books.
Examples: "The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to
affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish." -- Robert Louis Stevenson
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be
intolerably stupid." -- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.
Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own
myth. -Rumi
Ill call for pen and ink and write my mind. -- William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

Two types of literature are written and oral. Oral literature includes ballads, folklore, jokes and
fables that are passed down by word of mouth. Written literature includes poetry and novels,
with subsections for fiction, prose, myth, short story and novel.

A folk ballad is usually impersonal. These stories are short narratives and are meant to
be sung. Love, death and the supernatural are popular themes. Incremental repetition
advances the action in small but significant ways. A ballad stanza contains four lines.
They present brief descriptions, use concise dialogue and end abruptly. A literary ballad,
however, purposefully imitates the form and spirit of a ballad but is longer and more
involved. An example of a literary ballad is Longfellow's "The Wreck of the Hesperus."
The two most general types of literature are fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is literature created
through the author's imagination, while nonfiction is literature based on fact. Within these two
categories, literature can be broken down into genres and sub-genres.

Fiction includes poems, stories, plays and novels. Common genres of fiction are
mystery, romance, fantasy and classic literature.
Nonfiction includes such types of literature as newspaper articles, editorials, textbooks
and legal documents. Readers will find many topics in the nonfiction section of a
bookstore or library including biography, business, cooking, self-help, health, pets,
crafts, home decorating, language, travel, religion, art, history and much more.

Literature, in its broadest sense, consists of any written productions. More restrictively, it refers to
those deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, or which deploy language in ways that differ from
ordinary usage. Its Latin root literatura/litteratura(derived itself from littera: letter or handwriting) was
used to refer to all written accounts, though contemporary definitions extend the term to include texts
that are spoken or sung (oral literature). Literature can be classified according to whether it
isfiction or non-fiction and whether it is poetry or prose; it can be further distinguished according to
major forms such as thenovel, short story or drama; and works are often categorized according to
historical periods or their adherence to certainaesthetic features or expectations (genre).
The concept has changed meaning over time: nowadays it can broaden to include non-written verbal
art forms, and thus it is difficult to agree on its origin, which can be paired with that of language or
writing itself. Developments in print technology have allowed an evergrowing distribution and
proliferation of written works, culminating in electronic literature.



Major forms




Short story













History and lists


Glossary of terms



Literary awards


Theory (critical theory)


Literature portal

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.


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

The value judgment definition of literature considers it to cover exclusively those writings that
possess high quality or distinction, forming part of the so-called belles-lettres ('fine writing') tradition.

This sort of definition is that used in the Encyclopdia BritannicaEleventh Edition (191011) when

it classifies literature as "the best expression of the best thought reduced to writing." [7] Problematic in
this view is 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 judgments 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 insentences, 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

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 history roughly during the eighteenth century.[28] Initially subject to much criticism,
the novel has acquired a dominant position amongst literary forms, both popularly and critically.

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".

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,

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

Main article: Drama
Drama is literature intended for performance.[43] The form is often combined with music and dance,
as in opera and musical theatre. A play is a subset of this form, referring to the written dramatic work
of a playwright that is intended for performance in a theatre; it comprises
chiefly dialogue between characters, and usually aims at dramatic or theatrical performance rather
than at reading. A closet drama, by contrast, refers to a play written to be read rather than to be
performed; hence, it is intended that the meaning of such a work can be realized fully on the page.

Nearly all drama took verse form until comparatively recently.

Greek drama exemplifies the earliest form of drama of which we have substantial
knowledge. Tragedy, as a dramatic genre, developed as a performance associated with religiousand
civic festivals, typically enacting or developing upon well-known historical or mythological themes.
Tragedies generally presented very serious themes. With the advent of newer technologies, scripts
written for non-stage media have been added to this form. War of the Worlds (radio) in 1938 saw the
advent of literature written for radio broadcast, and many works of Drama have been adapted for film
or television. Conversely, television, film, and radio literature have been adapted to printed or
electronic media.

Main articles: History of literature and History of modern literature

Egyptian hieroglyphs withcartouches for the name "Ramesses II", from the Luxor Temple, New Kingdom

History of literature
by era
Bronze Age


Ancient Egyptian










Early Medieval

Matter of Rome

Matter of France

Matter of Britain





Middle Persian


Old Bulgarian

Old English

Middle English









Old Irish




Nepal Bhasa




Early Modern


Modern by century




Literature portal

The history of literature follows closely the development of civilization. When defined exclusively as
written work, Ancient Egyptian literature,[45] along with Sumerian literature are considered the
world's oldest literatures.[46] The primary genres of the literature of Ancient Egyptdidactic texts,
hymns and prayers, and taleswere almost entirely written in verse;[47]while use of poetic devices is
clearly recognisable, the prosody of the verse is unknown.[48]
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
The roots of all our modern academic fields can be found within the pages of literature.



in all its forms can be seen as written records, whether the literature itself be factual or fictional, it is
still quite possible to decipher facts through things like characters actions and words or the authors
style of writing and the intent behind the words. The plot is for more than just entertainment
purposes; within it lies information about economics, psychology, science, religions, politics, cultures,
and social depth. Studying and analyzing literature becomes very important in terms of learning
about our history. Through the study of past literature we are able to learn about how society has
evolved and about the societal norms during each of the different periods all throughout history. This
can even help us to understand references made in more modern literature because authors often
make references to Greek mythology and other old religious texts or historical moments. Not only is
there literature written on each of the aforementioned topics themselves, and how they have evolved
throughout history (like a book about the history of economics or a book about evolution and
science, for example) but we can also learn about these things in fictional works. Authors often
include historical moments in their works, like when Lord Byron talks about the Spanish and the
French in Childe Harolds Pilgrimage: Canto I[50] and expresses his opinions through his character
Childe Harold. Through literature we are able to continuously uncover new information about history.
It is easy to see how all academic fields have roots in literature. [49] Information became easier to pass
down from generation to generation once we began to write it down. Eventually everything was
written down, from things like home remedies and cures for illness, or how to build shelter to
traditions and religious practices. From there people were able to study literature, improve on ideas,
further our knowledge, and academic fields such as the medical field or trades could be started. In

much the same way as the literature that we study today continue to be updated as we continue to
evolve and learn more and more.
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 andwoodblock printing,
produced the world's first print cultures.[51] 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.[52] 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 lyric 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, andEuripides. 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. [53]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,German writer and author of the Faustbooks

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 asProust, 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.

Types of Literature
There are many types, forms, genres, and ways to categorize literature. Here, we list the two
main types of literature along with their sub-categories.
TAGGED UNDER: Literature

"Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree."
Ezra Pound
Every language has its own literature. A majority of world's national literature can be broadly
classified into English, Greek, Latin, Roman, African, Indian, American, French, Irish, Spanish,
Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Sanskrit, Nepali, Russian, African-American, Canadian
literature, etc. Literature is a form of language that deeply influences the minds of people of all
ages. Moreover, literature is also studied as a scientific language for various aspects like
grammar, usage, lexis, semantics, pragmatics, etc.
Literature is the mirror of society. Thus a book written in a particular time defines people, their
thoughts, and the influences of that era. The works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci
depict the era of Italian Renaissance, whereas Greek literature mostly comprises the accounts
of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Romanticism is about nature and simplicity, while classicism
defines complexity. A classic example is that of William Wordsworth who romanticized the
Romantic era with his naturalistic writing.
As time changed, so did people and their work, and of course, literature. Today we're in the
post-modernism era, where literary works include a mix of critical and artificial tone of language.
Most of the skeptical elements like ambiguity, satire, parody, etc. are the most prominent
features found in the current era. These days some authors choose long composition methods
to interlink and present more than one story.
Forms of Literature
~ Fiction - Drama, novel, poetry, short story, and frame narrative.

~ Non-Fiction - Autobiography, biography, essay, journal, diary, travel literature, literary criticism,
media, and outdoor literature.
Oral literature, epic and mock epic, proverbs, oral poetry, and folklore.
Types of Literature
Oral and written literature are the two major forms of literature. As we all know, almost all type of
literature is available in written form. A lot of oral literature too has been made available in the
form of books. We will now look into fiction and non-fiction literature as two major types of
literature, and also consider the various types of oral literature.
While prose and verse are the two forms of writings. Every piece of writing that has sentence
form or paragraphs is the prose, whereas verse is the poetic form of writing. Example of prose Drama, novel, newspapers, short story, biography, essay, journal, philosophy, travel literature,
children's literature, fantasy and scientific writings, historical writing, diary, etc. Example of Verse
- Poetry.
Thus we can conclude that fictional and non-fictional literature are mostly prose literature, except
for poetry. Interestingly, if you come across a verse form in a drama, it is termed as dramatic
poetry or verse drama!
Fiction Literature - Drama
Drama consists of theatrical dialogs performed on stage, it consists of 5 acts. A drama that has
just one act is a 'one-act play'. Flash play is the shortest 10-minute play. According to Aristotle,
there are six elements of drama plot, diction, character, thought, spectacle, and song.
A scene from Shakespeare's tragedy - 'King Lear'
It revolves around the main character, his life, struggle, misfortune and grief, or sometimes,
death of the dear ones or the main character. The monologue element is the easiest way in
which the misfortune of the main character is expressed, whereas prophecy by witch, ghost etc.
are the dark elements used to give tragedy a feel of horror.
Examples of tragedies are 'The Illiad' and 'The Odyssey' by Homer - the two famous Greek
tragedies. The four popular tragedies of William Shakespeare are - Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth,
and Othello.
A scene from Shakespeare's comedy - 'Much Ado About Nothing'
Comedy is full of laughter wherein incidents are handled very lightly. The elements used in

comedy are romanticism, exaggeration, surprise, and a comic view of a particular event. Farce,
comedy of manners are some of the sub-types of comedy. e.g. Ben Jonson's 'Comedy of
Humours', 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde, 'Much Ado About Nothing' by
William Shakespeare etc.
Comedy - Farce
The word origins from Latin word 'farcire' means 'to fill or stuff'. Thus, 'farce' is a light comic
event inserted in the middle of a play or movie to lighten the scene. It intends to make the
audience laugh for a while, when the plotline seems to be serious. It can be through humor,
nonsense, over exaggeration, or jokes. E.g. Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales', Oscar Wilde's
'The Importance of Being Earnest', Robin Hawdon's 'Perfect Wedding', etc.
Comedy - Comedy of Manners
When you laugh due to the class, fashion, or manners of stereotypical character, it's Comedy of
Manners. e.g. Richard Sheridan's 'The School for Scandal' (1777), Oliver Goldsmith's 'She
Stoops to Conquer (1773), Harold Pinter's 'The Homecoming' (1964), etc.
Comedy - Melodrama
Melodrama is a blend of two nouns - 'melody' and 'drama'. Currently the term is used for works
that lack sophistication, but in 1840s, it was used to denote a musical play. e.g. 'Uncle Tom's
Cabin' is one of the popular plays describing cruelty of labor life. It emphasizes sensationalism
and in the end, the play concludes with a 'happy ending.'
Comedy - Tragicomedy
The play that begins with serious mode, but has a happy ending is tragicomedy. e.g. 'The Visit'
by Friedrich Drrenmatt.
Fiction Literature - Novel
Novel is a simple narration of a story without any dialogs like drama. It can be comic, romantic,
criminal, detective, adventurous, or a political story, etc.
Novel - Allegory
The story revolves around more than one meaning. What the writer says directly is symbolic and
totally different from the meaning conveyed at the end. Political and historical allegory are two
forms of allegory. E.g. 'Tughlak' is a political allegory written by Girish Karnad, while John
Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' is a historical allegory.
Novel - Epistolary
Epistolary novels are a collection of letters and mails. Samuel Richardson's 'Pamela' and Henry
Fielding's 'Joseph Andrew' are a few notable examples of epistolary novels.
Novel - Feminist
Feminist novels are written by women around the world about women's issues in a maledominated society. Simone de Beauvoir ('She Came to Stay', 'The Mandarins,' and 'The Second
Sex'), Betty Friedan ('The Feminine Mystique') and Virginia Woolf ('A Room of one's Own') are a
few popular feminist novelists. You'll surprised to know that a few female writers used male

names as their pen names to hide their identity, because male author's works were supposed to
be taken seriously without any bias.
Novel - Gothic
Gothic fiction is a combination of both horror and romance. Melodrama and parody are the
elements of Gothic plays. e.g. 'The Castle of Otranto' (1764) by Horace Walpole is honored as
the first Gothic play in literature.
Novel - Ironic
Ironic novels are known for excessive use of narrative technique. It is a kind of satire on
contemporary society about their cultural, social, and political issues. e.g. Charles Dickens' 'A
Tale of Two Cities.'
Novel - Realism
The realistic novels are based on the truths of society and their problems. It focuses on the plot,
structure, and the characters of the novel. e.g. 'Pride and Prejudice' (1813) by Jane Austen.
Novel - Romance
Romantic novels favor love and relationship, the stories revolve around love affairs of main
characters. Some popular sub-categories of romantic novels are paranormal, erotic, suspense,
multicultural, and inspirational romance. e.g. 'Wuthering Heights' (1847) by Emily Bront and
'Portrait of a Lady' (1881) by Henry James.
Novel - Narration
In narrative style, the writer becomes a third-person narrator who narrates the whole story
around its characters. When you're reading narratives, you feel like you are witnessing a play.
As a reader, you get involved in the play and visualize it as if you were present there at that time.
Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights' is best narrative example of all time, wherein there are two
main narrators, Lockwood and Nelly Dean, while there are many characters in between the play.
Another example is 'Diary of Catherine' that highlights the life of a protagonist.
Novel - Naturalism
Naturalism is based on the theory of Darwin. The concept is as simple, natural, and real as the
word 'naturalism'! In a nutshell, environment has its impact on human beings. So naturalist
writers write about reality of life of a person or/and social issues like poverty, violence,
corruption, politics etc.
As opposed to romanticism, readers find naturalist plays pessimistic and their tone a bit
philosophical. E.g. Rebecca Harding Davis' 'Life in the Iron Mills (novella)', Kate Chopin's 'The
Awakening', Ernest Hemingway's 'Indian Camp', 'The Sun Also Rises'', and 'A Farewell to Arms'.
Novel - Picaresque
A scene from Dickens's 'David Copperfield', where young David is outside his aunt's house
Like naturalism, Picaresque is also quite contrasting to the concept of romanticism. It involves
ideals, themes, and principles that refuse the so-called prejudices of the society. In this type,

there is no plot, the main character is a poor, jobless, and always a social victim.
Few science fiction and fantasy novels have the style of picaresque novels. Besides adventure
as a prime characteristic, picaresque novel has first-person narration. E.g. Charles Dickens'
''Great Expectations'' and ''David Copperfield'', etc.
Novel - Psychological
These novel is lay greater emphasis on the psychological perspectives of characters. You must
have heard about stream of consciousness, flashback, soliloquies etc., these features reveal the
psychology of a person. e.g. Samuel Richardson's ''Pamela'', Henry James' ''The Portrait of a
Lady'', etc.
Novel - Satire
Though satire is a common form seen in comedy novels, this literary device tries to focus on
facts of the society and their issues. These novels criticize the contemporary society. e.g.
''Gulliver's Travels'' (1726), by Lemuel Gulliver, ''Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' (1884) by Mark
Twain, Kingsley Amis' ''Lucky Jim'' (1954), George Orwell's ''Animal Farm'' (1945), Randell
Jarrell's ''Pictures from an Institution'' (1954), etc.
Novel - Stream of Consciousness
Also known as 'interior monologues', stream of consciousness is all about the thoughts coming
up in the minds of the character. You will not find any sequential narration in such technique of
writing. The term has been coined by James Joyce, Dorthy Richardson, and Virginia Woolf.
James Joyce used this term in his book, 'The Principles of Psychology' (1890), wherein he
defined the concept as:
"Consciousness, then, does not appear to itself chopped up in bits. Such words as 'chain' or
'train' do not describe it fitly as it presents itself in the first instance. It is nothing jointed; it flows.
A 'river' or a 'stream' are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In talking of it
hereafter, let us call it the stream of thought, of consciousness, or of subjective life...."
Novel - Science Fiction
It's the most popular form. Everyone likes to dream, imagine life in space and to know about
aliens, robots, paranormal activities and what not. e.g. 'The Time Machine', 'Dune', 'Brave new
world', 'Harry Potter', 'Ringworld', 'Planet of Adventure', 'Level 7', 'Voyage', (the list goes on and
on...) etc.
A novel may also cover diverse categories on social and political aspects like proletarian,
protest, government, didactic, materialist, allegorical, Marxist, radical, revolutionary, anti-war,
utopian, futuristic, anarchist, social philosophy, speculative, problem play, and novel of ideas,
Fiction Literature - Poetry
Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion
recollected in tranquility. - William Wordsworth. How well these words explain the sentiment of
poetic composition! Free verse is generally found in Greek poetry, whereas rhyming pattern is

seen in Persian poems.

Sonnet is the short poem of 14 lines. E.g. 'To Fanny' by John Keats and Shakespeare's
collection of sonnets are a few famous examples. Sonnet 18 - 'Shall I compare thee to a
summer's day?' is the most popular sonnet that deserves a mention.
Sonnet 18 - Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Elegy is a mournful poem wherein the poet is lamenting for the dead person or his near ones.
e.g. 'Elegy Written in Country Churchyard' by Thomas Gray is one of the famous elegies marked
as the saddest poem of the ages.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Ode is the formal and long poem, serious in nature. It addresses a person, place, or thing.
Previously ode was composed along with music and dance due to its melody. When romantic
poets started using it to express their sentiments, it was constrained to the lyrical form. E.g.
"Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" by William Wordsworth
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight,
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night,

Are beautiful and fair;

The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.
Allegory has two symbolic meanings. One is the literal meaning and another is the
deep/symbolic meaning. E.g. 'The Faerie Queene' by Edmund Spenser is the longest poem
written in Spenserian stanza. You will be amazed to see the use of extended metaphor in the
It has Greek origin. Lyric is a short poem which has song-like quality. It is poet's appeal to his
readers about any incident or historical event. If you have read a lyric, you might know that the
form of Lyric is almost similar to odes or sonnets. E.g. Emily Dickinson's 'I Felt a Funeral in my
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to-and-fro,
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed,
That Sense was breaking through And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a,
Drum - Kept beating - beating - till I thought,
My Mind was going numb.
Fiction Literature - Short Story
Short Stories are wonderful tales of quests and fantasies. The small commercial fiction, true or
imaginary, smaller than a novel is known as short story. Short stories have a well-defined
structure - easy and no complexity in the beginning, concrete theme, some dialogs and end with
Short stories can be oral and short-lived tales. Flash fiction is a short story, less than 1000 word
count. e.g. Thomas Hardy's 'The Three Strangers', Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book', etc.
Fiction Literature - Frame Narrative
Here we find a story within the main story. You must be wondering why would a writer prefer a
story within a story and how does he present it? Well, it's one way to allow the reader to interpret
every character in detail. Like... the story about a particular character's nature, family, work, and
attitude etc. to make the character more lively.
There are lots of methods to write a frame narrative. Some writers use dream within a story,
some opt for series of stories in the main story, or they use imagery language to represent plots.
In an adventure story, the character narrates his own story (main story), within that he mentions
different places and people, and their stories etc. are the frame tales. Some of the popular

examples of frame narratives are Pegasus, Wuthering Heights, The Flying Horse, The Three
Pigs, A Time to keep and the Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays, etc.
Non-fictional Literature
Nonfiction literature is about real things and incidents, so they're informative and comprise
interesting facts, with a total amalgam of analysis and illustrations. The various types have been
explained below.
Autobiography and Biography
An autobiography is the story of the author's own life written by the author himself. For example,
'Family Life at the White House' by Bill Clinton is about his life and achievements. 'Wings of fire'
by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is the success story of a poor child, and how he became the
President of India.
'Mein kampf' by Adolph Hitler not only reveals Hilter's love for paintings and his career, but also
focuses on the history of second World War. Barack Obama's 'Dream From My Father' is one of
the best-selling books in the world.
When an author writes about another person's life story, it is a biography. For example,
Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives' written in the 1st century covers all famous Greek and Roman people
of that time. Also 'Steve Jobs' (2001) by Walter Isaacson, 'Unbroken' by Laura Hillenbrand
(about Louis Zamperini).
Generally, the authors' point of view about any particular topic explained in detail is called an
essay. Essay has a simple way of narrating the main subject. Therefore they are descriptive,
lengthy, subject-oriented, and comparative.
The different types of essays are classified as personal, expository, response, process,
persuasive, argumentative, critical, interview, reflective, evaluative, application, compare and
contrast essay, and narrative essay, etc.
Journals somewhat look like diaries, but they are different because they record infinite
information, analysis, thoughts, experiences, etc. A personal journal is for personal analysis,
where one can write his goal, daily thoughts, events, and situations.
Academic journals are for students who do research or dissertation on a particular subject.
Creative journals are the imaginative writing of a story, poem, or narrative. Trade journals are
used by industries where they dictate practical information.
Dialectical journals is used by students to write on a double-column notebook. The left side is for
resources, wherein quotations, references, examples, facts, experiments, and observation are
written. The right side can be a series of thoughts, following response, explanations and

Anne saying goodbye to her cat in 'Diary of a Young Girl'

Diaries are the incidents recorded by the author without any means of publishing them. It is the
rough work of one's daily routine, happenings, memorable days or events in their life. E.g. Anne
Frank's 'Diary of a Young Girl' was published by her father in 1940s; it's a story of a girl trapped
during German invade Amsterdam. Second example is 'The Paris Diary of Ned Rorem' by Ned
Diaries consist of business letters, newsletters, weather listing. Some profound forms of diaries
are online diary, travel, fictional, dream, and death diaries.
Remember that the terms diary, blog and journal mean different things, though they can be used
interchangeably. When you write something private it's a diary, when you go one step ahead and
add few event or business documents to it, then it becomes journal. Blogs can be in form of a
diary or journal, the only difference is that a blog is online. Blogs are digital, while the diary and
journal are handwritten.
Travel literature
It is the narration of any tour or foreign visit. Travel literature has details of events, dates, places,
languages, culture along with the author's views. As the author shares his experiences, such
piece of writing is also called itinerary or travelogue.
A few of sub-categories of travel literature include Travel guide, Travel journal, and Travel writing
for newspapers and magazines. For example, Francis Bacon's natural philosophies in the
middle of Seventeenth century is one of the famous examples of travel literature.
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the critical study of a piece of literature wherein critics apply different
theories, evaluations, discussions, and explanations to the text or essay. This way the work will
be studied, criticized, and judged by a set of critics. Plato, Aristotle (Poetics), T.S. Eliot,
Saussure and Frye were some of the famous critics.
There are lot of general theories, therefore it is a tough task for a critic to know which theory
goes along with the work while criticizing and analyzing it thoroughly. So there are fewer critics
than the authors. You will get books on literary criticism in series, or essays published in
Different categories under media
Media includes newspaper, magazine, movies, Internet, radios, etc. It is the newest and widely
acceptable type of literature. Everyone follows it due to its multiple objectives to learn, entertain
and promote. Newspapers are a collection of daily or weekly news of politics, sports, leisure,
fashion, movies, business etc.
Magazines are all about current affairs, events, interviews, and opinions on several issues. It
definitely won't be an exaggeration to say that movies, audio and video CDs that we see today

are also a form of digital literature. Have you heard about digital poetry, it is an upcoming trend
in poetry.
Outdoor literature
Outdoor literature is the literature of adventure devoted to the whole exploration of an event.
Writing about leisure time, or hobbies like horse riding, fishing, trekking can be a part of
literature. Some outdoor books are 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' by Mark Twain, 'Treasure
Island' by Robert Louis, 'Voyages' by Richard Hakluyt and 'A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush' by
Eric Newby.
Oral Literature
Oral Literature, also known as Orature includes folklore, joke, fable, parable, hearsay, and
legend etc. Folklore is a traditional story that has been generating interest since ancient times.
Now, almost all oral literature is available so far in written form, they are generally categorized
into fictional literature. Folklores are generally superstitious and religious stories. Every nation
has its own oral history in their respective languages like Chinese, African, Indian, American
folks, etc.
Epic and Mock Epic
Epic is the narrative poem that conveys moral and culture of that period. For example, "The
Odyssey" and "Iliad" are one of the largest philosophical epics written by Samuel Butler. If you're
fond of mock epic, read 'Rape of the Lock'. It's interesting to see how a minor incident of cutting
of curls can give birth to a great mock epic of 794 lines.
They are traditional sayings that influence the lifestyle of people through their culture. You must
have heard of these wisdom proverbs, 'All that glitters is not gold', 'Even a small star shines in
the darkness', 'The pen is mightier than the sword', etc. Proverbs are memorable sayings that
are passed from one generation to another.
Proverbs are thoughts of wisdom and experiences. You can relate proverbs with your real-life
experiences and take them as advice to overcome a situation. So it's an oral gift we have to
pass on to the next generation.
Oral poetry - Hymns
Poem that is written for praising god or some supernatural being is hymn. It can be in the form of
prayer, song, ode etc.
Oral poetry - Psalms
They are sacred songs used in worship of Christian and Jewish religions. E.g. The Bible "When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You Who know my way. In the path where I walk men
have hidden a snare for me." Psalm 142:3 (NIV)
Oral poetry - Ballad
Group of children singing ballads

Ballad is a narrative poem sung by the poet or group of singers. Its narrative style makes it more
lively as if the narrator is taking the listeners to that time and telling a story. Generally, ballads
are oral literature, but as we progress, it takes the form of written literature.
If Bishop Thomas Percy would have not published 'Reliques of Ancient English Poetry' (1765),
we would have been without the knowledge of this ancestral treasure of poetry. His collection of
popular ballads are the first written form of ballad. (Please note, some of the ballads in the book
are not written by him). An example of a ballad is 'Lord Lovel'.
'Lord Lovel was gone just a year and a day,
New countries for to see,
When languishing thoughts came over his mind,
Lady Nancy he must go see, see, see,
Lady Nancy he must go see.'
Folklore - Fairy tales
Hansel and Gretel looking at the gingerbread house
Any traditional stories, proverbs or songs are Folklore. Folklore studies culture, its rituals,
traditions, and artifacts. A popular type of folklore is a fairy tale. Fairy tales are not real and they
are told by someone with a starting phrase like, 'Once upon a time, there was-'. that takes you
back to your childhood days.
Popular fairy tales include Hansel and Gretel, Cindrella, Tom Thumb, etc. These tales have
fictional characters, dragons, witches, spirits, elves as well as supernatural elements like magic
and some far-reaching powers, etc.
Folklore - Tall Tales
Tall tales are those wherein you find the exaggeration, imaginary animals and humans
performing unbelievable things, and you will laugh at the end due to its humorous nature. While
some tall tales end with a moral. They are the basic element of American folk literature, like
'Callin' the Dog' from 'A Mississippi Tall Tale'.
"One man offered a hound dog pup to the person who could tell the biggest lie. Well, those
stories started rollin' in, each one bigger and harder to believe than the one before.
Now, the last man to talk knew he didn't have a chance of winnin' that there pup on account of
all them tall-tales the others told was so good. So he just said: "I never told a lie in my life."
"You get the pup!" Said the owner of the hound dog. And everyone else agreed with him.
Folklore - Parables
Parables are the religious or moral stories. They can be written or told in a prose or verse form,

they are always found in a narrative form. There are no animal characters (which show
emotions) like we have in Fables, and parables describe a universal truth. Bible is an example of
Folklore - Myth
Myths are sacred, so they've a deep meaning. These are the tales of origin of the world and
people. That's why you will find gods and goddesses in Greek mythology. You will find lots of
adventure, magic, supernatural elements (creatures, giants) in them although they lack scientific
Nature myth has stories of the stars and moon, weather, etc. e.g. Zeus is the god of thunder,
lightening. Do you believe in afterlife? Well Chinese, Greek, Roman cultures had myths on
rebirth, afterlife, and concepts of hell and heaven.
Other types of folklore include fables (stories with moral), cumulative, trickster (stories of god,
goddess, man, spirit, or animal who disobeys normal rules and behavior), beliefs (power that
controls human beings), ghost stories, and legends (collection of ancient religious stories of
origin and human civilization such as story of Robin Hood), etc.
The above article includes the many types of literature that are known in English literature. Also,
there are other types like comic books, cartoons, eBook, and online stories that are constantly
adding up to new forms of literature, with every passing day.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/types-of-literature.html

Rgis guy is the shakespeare of

phillipinesFrancisco Baltazar (popularly known as
Francisco Balagtas) was born on April 2, 1788 in
Bigaa, Bulacan. He learned how to write poetry
from another famous Filipino poet, Jos de la
Cruz. Because ofhim, Balagtas was constantly
pushed to develop and progress his writing.
Considered the Filipino version of William

Shakespeare, most of his early workswere, like

Shakespeare, comedies. Also like Shakespeare,
his work graduallymatured over time; Balagtas'
masterpiece entitled Florante at Laura is an
epicwritten when he was imprisoned during the
19thcentury.This high regard given toBalagtas is
the reason why the poetic form, balagtasan, is
given its name. AsBalagtas is the reason why the
poetic form, balagtasan, is given its name.
Asstated before, the name of the form itself was
coined outside the range of ourresearch; however
the turmoil happening from the early 1900's were
influentialin creating the literary form as it is today.
Balagtasan came about, at least politically, as the
manifestation of Filipino sentiment in that a sense
of selfand identity was lost due to American rule. It
strives to declare independencefrom America by
highlighting Filipino culture such as their old
customs andtraditions.

William Shakespeare (/ekspr/;[1] 26 April 1564 (baptised) 23 April 1616)[nb 1] was an

English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English
language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.[2] He is often called England'snational poet, and the
"Bard of Avon".[3][nb 2] His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 38 plays,[nb

154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His

plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than
those of any other playwright.[4]
Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he
married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith.
Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and
part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as theKing's Men.
He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, at age 49, where he died three years later. Few
records of Shakespeare's private life survive, which has stimulated considerable speculation about
such matters as his physical appearance,sexuality, and religious beliefs, and whether the works
attributed to him were written by others.[5]
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. [6][nb 4] His early plays were
primarily comedies and histories, and these are regarded as some of the best work ever produced in
these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear,
and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language.[2] In his last phase, he
wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In
1623, however, John Heminges andHenry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare,
published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of his
dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. [7] It was
prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age,
but for all time".[7] In the 20th and 21st centuries, his works have been repeatedly adapted and
rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular,
and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts
throughout the world.

Early life
William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover
originally from Snitterfield, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer.[8] He was
born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains
unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day.[9] This date, which can be

traced back to an 18th-century scholar's mistake, has proved appealing to biographers, since
Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616.[10] He was the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son.[11]
Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare
was probably educated at the King's New School in Stratford,[12] a free school chartered in 1553,

about a quarter-mile (400 m) from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the

Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were largely similar: the basic Latin text was
standardised by royal decree,[14] and the school would have provided an intensive education in
grammar based upon Latin classical authors.[15]

John Shakespeare's house, believed to be Shakespeare's birthplace, in Stratford-upon-Avon

At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of
the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582. The next day, two of
Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage.

The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste, since the Worcester chancellor allowed

the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times,[17] and six months after the
marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, baptised 26 May 1583.[18] Twins, son Hamnet and
daughter Judith, followed almost two years later and were baptised 2 February 1585.[19] Hamnet died
of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596.[20]

Shakespeare's coat of arms, as it appears on the rough draft of the application to grant a coat-of-arms to John
Shakespeare. It features a spear as a pun on the family name.[nb 5]

After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the
London theatre scene in 1592. The exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill"
of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9
October 1589.[21] Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".

Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported

many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford
legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the
estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is also supposed to have taken his revenge on
Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him.[23] Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting
his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. [24]John Aubrey reported that
Shakespeare had been a country schoolmaster.[25] Some 20th-century scholars have suggested that
Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a
Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. [26] Little evidence
substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, and Shakeshafte was a
common name in the Lancashire area.[27]

London and theatrical career

"All the world's a stage,
and all the men and women merely players:
they have their exits and their entrances;
and one man in his time plays many parts ..."
As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7, 13942[28]

It is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records
of performances show that several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592. [29] By then, he
was sufficiently known in London to be attacked in print by the playwrightRobert Greene in
his Groats-Worth of Wit:
... there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a
Player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and
being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country.[30]
Scholars differ on the exact meaning of Greene's words,[31] but most agree that Greene is accusing
Shakespeare of reaching above his rank in trying to match such university-educated writers
as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe and Greene himself (the so-called"university wits").[32] The
italicised phrase parodying the line "Oh, tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide" from

Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3, along with the pun "Shake-scene", clearly identify Shakespeare as
Greene's target. As used here, Johannes Factotum ("Jack of all trades") refers to a second-rate
tinkerer with the work of others, rather than the more common "universal genius". [31][33]
Greene's attack is the earliest surviving mention of Shakespeare's work in the theatre. Biographers
suggest that his career may have begun any time from the mid-1580s, to just before Greene's
remarks.[34] After 1594, Shakespeare's plays were performed only by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a
company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare, that soon became the
leading playing company in London.[35] After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the company was
awarded a royal patent by the new King James I, and changed its name to the King's Men.[36]
In 1599, a partnership of members of the company built their own theatre on the south bank of
the River Thames, which they named the Globe. In 1608, the partnership also took over
the Blackfriars indoor theatre. Extant records of Shakespeare's property purchases and investments
indicate that his association with the company made him a wealthy man, [37] and in 1597 he bought
the second-largest house in Stratford, New Place, and in 1605, invested in a share of the
parish tithes in Stratford.[38]
Some of Shakespeare's plays were published in quarto editions beginning in 1594, and by 1598, his
name had become a selling point and began to appear on the title pages.[39]Shakespeare continued
to act in his own and other plays after his success as a playwright. The 1616 edition of Ben
Jonson's Works names him on the cast lists for Every Man in His Humour (1598) and Sejanus His
Fall (1603).[40] The absence of his name from the 1605 cast list for Jonson's Volpone is taken by
some scholars as a sign that his acting career was nearing its end.[41] The First Folio of 1623,
however, lists Shakespeare as one of "the Principal Actors in all these Plays", some of which were
first staged after Volpone, although we cannot know for certain which roles he played. [42] In
1610, John Davies of Hereford wrote that "good Will" played "kingly" roles.[43] In 1709, Rowe passed
down a tradition that Shakespeare played the ghost of Hamlet's father.[44] Later traditions maintain
that he also played Adam in As You Like It, and the Chorus in Henry V,[45] though scholars doubt the
sources of that information.[46]
Throughout his career, Shakespeare divided his time between London and Stratford. In 1596, the
year before he bought New Place as his family home in Stratford, Shakespeare was living in the
parish of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, north of the River Thames.[47][48] He moved across the river
to Southwark by 1599, the same year his company constructed the Globe Theatre there. [47][49] By
1604, he had moved north of the river again, to an area north of St Paul's Cathedral with many fine
houses. There he rented rooms from a FrenchHuguenot named Christopher Mountjoy, a maker of
ladies' wigs and other headgear.[50]

Later years and death

Rowe was the first biographer to record the tradition, repeated by Johnson, that Shakespeare retired
to Stratford "some years before his death".[51][52] He was still working as an actor in London in 1608; in
an answer to the sharers' petition in 1635 Cuthbert Burbage stated that after purchasing the lease of
the Blackfriars Theatre in 1608 from Henry Evans, the King's Men "placed men players" there,
"which were Heminges, Condell, Shakespeare, etc.".[53] However it is perhaps relevant that
the bubonic plague raged in London throughout 1609.[54][55] The London public playhouses were
repeatedly closed during extended outbreaks of the plague (a total of over 60 months closure
between May 1603 and February 1610),[56] which meant there was often no acting work. Retirement
from all work was uncommon at that time.[57] Shakespeare continued to visit London during the years
16111614.[51] In 1612, he was called as a witness in Bellott v. Mountjoy, a court case concerning the
marriage settlement of Mountjoy's daughter, Mary.[58] In March 1613 he bought a gatehouse in the
former Blackfriars priory;[59] and from November 1614 he was in London for several weeks with his
son-in-law, John Hall.[60] After 1610, Shakespeare wrote fewer plays, and none are attributed to him
after 1613.[61] His last three plays were collaborations, probably with John Fletcher,[62] who succeeded
him as the house playwright of the King's Men. [63]

Shakespeare's funerary monument in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616, at the age of 52. [64] He died within a month of signing his will, a
document which he begins by describing himself as being in "perfect health". No extant
contemporary source explains how or why he died. Half a century later, John Ward, the vicar of
Stratford, wrote in his notebook: "Shakespeare, Drayton and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and,
it seems, drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted", [65][66] not an impossible
scenario, since Shakespeare knew Jonson and Drayton. Of the tributes from fellow authors, one
refers to his relatively sudden death: "We wondered, Shakespeare, that thou went'st so soon/From
the world's stage to the grave's tiring room."[67]
He was survived by his wife and two daughters. Susanna had married a physician, John Hall, in
1607,[68] and Judith had married Thomas Quiney, avintner, two months before Shakespeare's death.

Shakespeare signed his last will and testament on 25 March 1616; the following day his new son-

in-law, Thomas Quiney was found guilty of fathering an illegitimate son by Margaret Wheeler, who
had died during childbirth. Thomas was ordered by the church court to do public penance, which
would have caused much shame and embarrassment for the Shakespeare family.[70]
Shakespeare bequeathed the bulk of his large estate to his elder daughter Susanna [71] under
stipulations that she pass it down intact to "the first son of her body". [72] The Quineys had three
children, all of whom died without marrying.[73] The Halls had one child, Elizabeth, who married twice
but died without children in 1670, ending Shakespeare's direct line. [74] Shakespeare's will scarcely
mentions his wife, Anne, who was probably entitled to one third of his estate automatically.[75] He did
make a point, however, of leaving her "my second best bed", a bequest that has led to much
speculation.[76] Some scholars see the bequest as an insult to Anne, whereas others believe that the
second-best bed would have been the matrimonial bed and therefore rich in significance. [77]
Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church two days after his death.[78] The
epitaph carved into the stone slab covering his grave includes a curse against moving his bones,
which was carefully avoided during restoration of the church in 2008: [79]

Shakespeare's grave, next to those of Anne Shakespeare, his wife, andThomas Nash, the husband of his

Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,

To digg the dvst encloased heare.
Bleste be


And cvrst be he

spares thes stones,

moves my bones.[80][nb 6]

(Modern spelling: Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear, / To dig the dust enclosed here. / Blessed be
the man that spares these stones, / And cursed be he that moves my bones.)
Sometime before 1623, a funerary monument was erected in his memory on the north wall, with a
half-effigy of him in the act of writing. Its plaque compares him to Nestor, Socrates, and Virgil.[81] In
1623, in conjunction with the publication of the First Folio, the Droeshout engraving was published.[82]
Shakespeare has been commemorated in many statues and memorials around the world, including
funeral monuments in Southwark Cathedral and Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.[83][84]


Procession of Characters from Shakespeare's Plays by an unknown 19th-century artist

Main articles: Shakespeare's plays and William Shakespeare's collaborations

Most playwrights of the period typically collaborated with others at some point, and critics agree that
Shakespeare did the same, mostly early and late in his career.[85] Some attributions, such as Titus
Andronicus and the early history plays, remain controversial, while The Two Noble Kinsmen and the
lost Cardenio have well-attested contemporary documentation. Textual evidence also supports the
view that several of the plays were revised by other writers after their original composition.
The first recorded works of Shakespeare are Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI, written in
the early 1590s during a vogue for historical drama. Shakespeare's plays are difficult to date,
however,[86] and studies of the texts suggest that Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The
Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona may also belong to Shakespeare's earliest
period.[87] His first histories, which draw heavily on the 1587 edition of Raphael

Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland,[88]dramatise the destructive results of weak
or corrupt rule and have been interpreted as a justification for the origins of the Tudor dynasty.[89] The
early plays were influenced by the works of other Elizabethan dramatists, especially Thomas
Kyd and Christopher Marlowe, by the traditions of medieval drama, and by the plays of Seneca.

The Comedy of Errors was also based on classical models, but no source for The Taming of the

Shrew has been found, though it is related to a separate play of the same name and may have
derived from a folk story.[91] Like The Two Gentlemen of Verona, in which two friends appear to
approve of rape,[92] the Shrew's story of the taming of a woman's independent spirit by a man
sometimes troubles modern critics and directors.[93]

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing. By William Blake, c. 1786. Tate Britain.

Shakespeare's early classical and Italianate comedies, containing tight double plots and precise
comic sequences, give way in the mid-1590s to the romantic atmosphere of his most acclaimed
comedies.[94] A Midsummer Night's Dream is a witty mixture of romance, fairy magic, and comic
lowlife scenes.[95] Shakespeare's next comedy, the equally romantic Merchant of Venice, contains a
portrayal of the vengeful Jewish moneylender Shylock, which reflects Elizabethan views but may
appear derogatory to modern audiences.[96] The wit and wordplay of Much Ado About Nothing,[97] the
charming rural setting of As You Like It, and the lively merrymaking of Twelfth Night complete
Shakespeare's sequence of great comedies.[98] After the lyrical Richard II, written almost entirely in
verse, Shakespeare introduced prose comedy into the histories of the late 1590s, Henry IV, parts
1 and 2, and Henry V. His characters become more complex and tender as he switches deftly
between comic and serious scenes, prose and poetry, and achieves the narrative variety of his
mature work.[99] This period begins and ends with two tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, the famous
romantic tragedy of sexually charged adolescence, love, and death;[100]and Julius Caesarbased on
Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation of Plutarch's Parallel Liveswhich introduced a new kind of
drama.[101]According to Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro, in Julius Caesar "the various strands
of politics, character, inwardness, contemporary events, even Shakespeare's own reflections on the
act of writing, began to infuse each other".[102]

Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus, and the Ghost of Hamlet's Father. Henry Fuseli, 17805. Kunsthaus Zrich.

In the early 17th century, Shakespeare wrote the so-called "problem plays" Measure for
Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and All's Well That Ends Well and a number of his best
known tragedies.[103] Many critics believe that Shakespeare's greatest tragedies represent the peak of
his art. The titular hero of one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, Hamlet, has probably been
discussed more than any other Shakespearean character, especially for his famous soliloquy which
begins "To be or not to be; that is the question".[104] Unlike the introverted Hamlet, whose fatal flaw is
hesitation, the heroes of the tragedies that followed, Othello and King Lear, are undone by hasty
errors of judgement.[105] The plots of Shakespeare's tragedies often hinge on such fatal errors or
flaws, which overturn order and destroy the hero and those he loves. [106] In Othello, the
villain Iago stokes Othello's sexual jealousy to the point where he murders the innocent wife who
loves him.[107] In King Lear, the old king commits the tragic error of giving up his powers, initiating the
events which lead to the torture and blinding of the Earl of Gloucester and the murder of Lear's
youngest daughter Cordelia. According to the critic Frank Kermode, "the play-offers neither its good
characters nor its audience any relief from its cruelty".[108] In Macbeth, the shortest and most
compressed of Shakespeare's tragedies,[109] uncontrollable ambition incites Macbeth and his
wife, Lady Macbeth, to murder the rightful king and usurp the throne, until their own guilt destroys
them in turn.[110] In this play, Shakespeare adds a supernatural element to the tragic structure. His last
major tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, contain some of Shakespeare's finest poetry
and were considered his most successful tragedies by the poet and critic T. S. Eliot.[111]
In his final period, Shakespeare turned to romance or tragicomedy and completed three more major
plays: Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest, as well as the collaboration, Pericles, Prince
of Tyre. Less bleak than the tragedies, these four plays are graver in tone than the comedies of the
1590s, but they end with reconciliation and the forgiveness of potentially tragic errors. [112] Some
commentators have seen this change in mood as evidence of a more serene view of life on
Shakespeare's part, but it may merely reflect the theatrical fashion of the day.[113] Shakespeare
collaborated on two further surviving plays, Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen, probably
with John Fletcher.[114]

Main article: Shakespeare in performance
It is not clear for which companies Shakespeare wrote his early plays. The title page of the 1594
edition of Titus Andronicus reveals that the play had been acted by three different troupes.[115] After
the plagues of 15923, Shakespeare's plays were performed by his own company at The
Theatre and the Curtain in Shoreditch, north of the Thames.[116]Londoners flocked there to see the
first part of Henry IV, Leonard Digges recording, "Let but Falstaff come, Hal, Poins, the rest ... and
you scarce shall have a room".[117] When the company found themselves in dispute with their
landlord, they pulled The Theatre down and used the timbers to construct the Globe Theatre, the first
playhouse built by actors for actors, on the south bank of the Thames at Southwark.[118] The Globe
opened in autumn 1599, with Julius Caesar one of the first plays staged. Most of Shakespeare's
greatest post-1599 plays were written for the Globe, including Hamlet, Othello and King Lear.[119]

The reconstructed Globe Theatre, London.

After the Lord Chamberlain's Men were renamed the King's Men in 1603, they entered a special
relationship with the new King James. Although the performance records are patchy, the King's Men
performed seven of Shakespeare's plays at court between 1 November 1604 and 31 October 1605,
including two performances of The Merchant of Venice.[120] After 1608, they performed at the
indoor Blackfriars Theatre during the winter and the Globe during the summer.[121] The indoor setting,
combined with the Jacobean fashion for lavishly staged masques, allowed Shakespeare to introduce
more elaborate stage devices. In Cymbeline, for example, Jupiter descends "in thunder and
lightning, sitting upon an eagle: he throws a thunderbolt. The ghosts fall on their knees." [122]
The actors in Shakespeare's company included the famous Richard Burbage, William Kempe, Henry
Condell and John Heminges. Burbage played the leading role in the first performances of many of
Shakespeare's plays, including Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear.[123]The popular comic
actor Will Kempe played the servant Peter in Romeo and Juliet and Dogberry in Much Ado About
Nothing, among other characters.[124] He was replaced around 1600 by Robert Armin, who played

roles such as Touchstone in As You Like It and the fool in King Lear.[125] In 1613, Sir Henry
Wotton recorded that Henry VIII "was set forth with many extraordinary circumstances of pomp and
ceremony".[126] On 29 June, however, a cannon set fire to the thatch of the Globe and burned the
theatre to the ground, an event which pinpoints the date of a Shakespeare play with rare precision.

Textual sources

Title page of the First Folio, 1623. Copper engraving of Shakespeare byMartin Droeshout.

In 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two of Shakespeare's friends from the King's Men,
published the First Folio, a collected edition of Shakespeare's plays. It contained 36 texts, including
18 printed for the first time.[127] Many of the plays had already appeared in quartoversionsflimsy
books made from sheets of paper folded twice to make four leaves.[128] No evidence suggests that
Shakespeare approved these editions, which the First Folio describes as "stol'n and surreptitious
copies".[129] Nor did Shakespeare plan or expect his works to survive in any form at all; those works
likely would have faded into oblivion but for his friends' spontaneous idea, after his death, to create
and publish the First Folio.[130]
Alfred Pollard termed some of the pre-1623 versions as "bad quartos" because of their adapted,
paraphrased or garbled texts, which may in places have been reconstructed from memory.[131] Where
several versions of a play survive, each differs from the other. The differences may stem from
copying or printing errors, from notes by actors or audience members, or from Shakespeare's

own papers.[132] In some cases, for example Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida and Othello, Shakespeare
could have revised the texts between the quarto and folio editions. In the case of King Lear,
however, while most modern editions do conflate them, the 1623 folio version is so different from the
1608 quarto that the Oxford Shakespeare prints them both, arguing that they cannot be conflated
without confusion.[133]

In 1593 and 1594, when the theatres were closed because of plague, Shakespeare published two
narrative poems on erotic themes,Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He dedicated them
to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. In Venus and Adonis, an innocent Adonis rejects the
sexual advances of Venus; while in The Rape of Lucrece, the virtuous wife Lucrece is raped by the
lustfulTarquin.[134] Influenced by Ovid's Metamorphoses,[135] the poems show the guilt and moral
confusion that result from uncontrolled lust.[136]Both proved popular and were often reprinted during
Shakespeare's lifetime. A third narrative poem, A Lover's Complaint, in which a young woman
laments her seduction by a persuasive suitor, was printed in the first edition of the Sonnets in 1609.
Most scholars now accept that Shakespeare wrote A Lover's Complaint. Critics consider that its fine
qualities are marred by leaden effects.[137] The Phoenix and the Turtle, printed in Robert Chester's
1601 Love's Martyr, mourns the deaths of the legendary phoenix and his lover, the faithful turtle
dove. In 1599, two early drafts of sonnets 138 and 144 appeared in The Passionate Pilgrim,
published under Shakespeare's name but without his permission.[138]

Main article: Shakespeare's sonnets

Title page from 1609 edition of Shake-Speares Sonnets.

Published in 1609, the Sonnets were the last of Shakespeare's non-dramatic works to be printed.
Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that
Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership. [139] Even before the two
unauthorised sonnets appeared in The Passionate Pilgrim in 1599, Francis Meres had referred in
1598 to Shakespeare's "sugred Sonnets among his private friends". [140] Few analysts believe that the
published collection follows Shakespeare's intended sequence. [141] He seems to have planned two
contrasting series: one about uncontrollable lust for a married woman of dark complexion (the "dark
lady"), and one about conflicted love for a fair young man (the "fair youth"). It remains unclear if
these figures represent real individuals, or if the authorial "I" who addresses them represents
Shakespeare himself, though Wordsworth believed that with the sonnets "Shakespeare unlocked his
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate ..."
Lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 18.[143]

The 1609 edition was dedicated to a "Mr. W.H.", credited as "the only begetter" of the poems. It is
not known whether this was written by Shakespeare himself or by the publisher, Thomas Thorpe,
whose initials appear at the foot of the dedication page; nor is it known who Mr. W.H. was, despite
numerous theories, or whether Shakespeare even authorised the publication. [144] Critics praise
the Sonnets as a profound meditation on the nature of love, sexual passion, procreation, death, and

Main article: Shakespeare's style
Shakespeare's first plays were written in the conventional style of the day. He wrote them in a
stylised language that does not always spring naturally from the needs of the characters or the
drama.[146] The poetry depends on extended, sometimes elaborate metaphors and conceits, and the
language is often rhetoricalwritten for actors to declaim rather than speak. The grand speeches
in Titus Andronicus, in the view of some critics, often hold up the action, for example; and the verse
in The Two Gentlemen of Verona has been described as stilted.[147]
Soon, however, Shakespeare began to adapt the traditional styles to his own purposes. The
opening soliloquy of Richard III has its roots in the self-declaration of Vice in medieval drama. At the
same time, Richard's vivid self-awareness looks forward to the soliloquies of Shakespeare's mature
plays.[148] No single play marks a change from the traditional to the freer style. Shakespeare
combined the two throughout his career, with Romeo and Juliet perhaps the best example of the
mixing of the styles.[149] By the time of Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, and A Midsummer Night's

Dream in the mid-1590s, Shakespeare had begun to write a more natural poetry. He increasingly
tuned his metaphors and images to the needs of the drama itself.

Pity by William Blake, 1795, Tate Britain, is an illustration of two similes in Macbeth:
"And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors'd
Upon the sightless couriers of the air."[150]

Shakespeare's standard poetic form was blank verse, composed in iambic pentameter. In practice,
this meant that his verse was usually unrhymed and consisted of ten syllables to a line, spoken with
a stress on every second syllable. The blank verse of his early plays is quite different from that of his
later ones. It is often beautiful, but its sentences tend to start, pause, and finish at the end of lines,
with the risk of monotony.[151] Once Shakespeare mastered traditional blank verse, he began to
interrupt and vary its flow. This technique releases the new power and flexibility of the poetry in plays
such as Julius Caesar and Hamlet. Shakespeare uses it, for example, to convey the turmoil in
Hamlet's mind:[152]
Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly
And prais'd be rashness for itlet us know
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well ...
Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2, 48[152]
After Hamlet, Shakespeare varied his poetic style further, particularly in the more emotional
passages of the late tragedies. The literary critic A. C. Bradley described this style as "more

concentrated, rapid, varied, and, in construction, less regular, not seldom twisted or elliptical". [153] In
the last phase of his career, Shakespeare adopted many techniques to achieve these effects. These
included run-on lines, irregular pauses and stops, and extreme variations in sentence structure and
length.[154] In Macbeth, for example, the language darts from one unrelated metaphor or simile to
another: "was the hope drunk/ Wherein you dressed yourself?" (1.7.3538); "... pity, like a naked
new-born babe/ Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors'd/ Upon the sightless couriers of the
air ..." (1.7.2125). The listener is challenged to complete the sense. [154] The late romances, with their
shifts in time and surprising turns of plot, inspired a last poetic style in which long and short
sentences are set against one another, clauses are piled up, subject and object are reversed, and
words are omitted, creating an effect of spontaneity.[155]
Shakespeare combined poetic genius with a practical sense of the theatre. [156] Like all playwrights of
the time, he dramatised stories from sources such as Plutarch andHolinshed.[157] He reshaped each
plot to create several centres of interest and to show as many sides of a narrative to the audience as
possible. This strength of design ensures that a Shakespeare play can survive translation, cutting
and wide interpretation without loss to its core drama.[158] As Shakespeare's mastery grew, he gave
his characters clearer and more varied motivations and distinctive patterns of speech. He preserved
aspects of his earlier style in the later plays, however. In Shakespeare's late romances, he
deliberately returned to a more artificial style, which emphasised the illusion of theatre. [159]

Main article: Shakespeare's influence

Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Head. By Henry Fuseli, 179394. Folger Shakespeare Library,

Shakespeare's work has made a lasting impression on later theatre and literature. In particular, he
expanded the dramatic potential ofcharacterisation, plot, language, and genre.[160] Until Romeo and
Juliet, for example, romance had not been viewed as a worthy topic for tragedy.[161] Soliloquies had
been used mainly to convey information about characters or events; but Shakespeare used them to
explore characters' minds.[162] His work heavily influenced later poetry. The Romantic poets attempted
to revive Shakespearean verse drama, though with little success. Critic George Steiner described all
English verse dramas from Coleridge to Tennyson as "feeble variations on Shakespearean
Shakespeare influenced novelists such as Thomas Hardy, William Faulkner, and Charles Dickens.
The American novelist Herman Melville's soliloquies owe much to Shakespeare; his Captain Ahab
in Moby-Dick is a classic tragic hero, inspired by King Lear.[164] Scholars have identified 20,000 pieces
of music linked to Shakespeare's works. These include two operas by Giuseppe
Verdi, Otello and Falstaff, whose critical standing compares with that of the source plays.

Shakespeare has also inspired many painters, including the Romantics and thePre-Raphaelites.

The Swiss Romantic artist Henry Fuseli, a friend of William Blake, even translated Macbeth into
German.[166] Thepsychoanalyst Sigmund Freud drew on Shakespearean psychology, in particular that
of Hamlet, for his theories of human nature.[167]
In Shakespeare's day, English grammar, spelling and pronunciation were less standardised than
they are now,[168] and his use of language helped shape modern English. [169] Samuel Johnson quoted
him more often than any other author in his A Dictionary of the English Language, the first serious
work of its type.[170] Expressions such as "with bated breath" (Merchant of Venice) and "a foregone
conclusion" (Othello) have found their way into everyday English speech. [171]

Critical reputation
Main articles: Shakespeare's reputation and Timeline of Shakespeare criticism
"He was not of an age, but for all time."
Ben Jonson[172]

Shakespeare was not revered in his lifetime, but he received a large amount of praise. [173] In 1598,
the cleric and author Francis Meressingled him out from a group of English writers as "the most
excellent" in both comedy and tragedy.[174] The authors of the Parnassus plays at St John's College,
Cambridge numbered him with Chaucer, Gower and Spenser.[175] In the First Folio, Ben
Jonson called Shakespeare the "Soul of the age, the applause, delight, the wonder of our stage",
though he had remarked elsewhere that "Shakespeare wanted art".[176]

A recently garlanded statue of William Shakespeare in Lincoln Park, Chicago, typical of many created in the
19th and early 20th century.

Between the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the end of the 17th century, classical ideas
were in vogue. As a result, critics of the time mostly rated Shakespeare below John Fletcher and
Ben Jonson.[177] Thomas Rymer, for example, condemned Shakespeare for mixing the comic with the
tragic. Nevertheless, poet and critic John Dryden rated Shakespeare highly, saying of Jonson, "I
admire him, but I love Shakespeare".[178] For several decades, Rymer's view held sway; but during
the 18th century, critics began to respond to Shakespeare on his own terms and acclaim what they
termed his natural genius. A series of scholarly editions of his work, notably those of Samuel
Johnson in 1765 and Edmond Malone in 1790, added to his growing reputation.[179] By 1800, he was
firmly enshrined as the national poet.[180] In the 18th and 19th centuries, his reputation also spread
abroad. Among those who championed him were the writers Voltaire, Goethe, Stendhal andVictor
During the Romantic era, Shakespeare was praised by the poet and literary philosopher Samuel
Taylor Coleridge; and the critic August Wilhelm Schlegel translated his plays in the spirit of German
Romanticism.[182] In the 19th century, critical admiration for Shakespeare's genius often bordered on
adulation.[183] "That King Shakespeare," the essayist Thomas Carlyle wrote in 1840, "does not he
shine, in crowned sovereignty, over us all, as the noblest, gentlest, yet strongest of rallying signs;
indestructible".[184] The Victorians produced his plays as lavish spectacles on a grand scale. [185] The

playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw mocked the cult of Shakespeare worship as "bardolatry",
claiming that the new naturalism of Ibsen's plays had made Shakespeare obsolete.[186]
The modernist revolution in the arts during the early 20th century, far from discarding Shakespeare,
eagerly enlisted his work in the service of the avant-garde. The Expressionists in Germany and
the Futurists in Moscow mounted productions of his plays. Marxist playwright and director Bertolt
Brecht devised an epic theatre under the influence of Shakespeare. The poet and critic T.S.
Eliot argued against Shaw that Shakespeare's "primitiveness" in fact made him truly modern. [187] Eliot,
along with G. Wilson Knight and the school of New Criticism, led a movement towards a closer
reading of Shakespeare's imagery. In the 1950s, a wave of new critical approaches replaced
modernism and paved the way for "post-modern" studies of Shakespeare.[188] By the 1980s,
Shakespeare studies were open to movements such asstructuralism, feminism, New
Historicism, African-American studies, and queer studies.[189][190] In a comprehensive reading of
Shakespeare's works and comparing Shakespeare literary accomplishments to accomplishments
among leading figures in philosophy and theology as well, Harold Bloom has commented that,
"Shakespeare was larger than Plato and than St. Augustine. He encloses us, because we see with
his fundamental perceptions."[191]

Further information: Shakespeare bibliography and Chronology of Shakespeare's plays

Classification of the plays

The Plays of William Shakespeare. By Sir John Gilbert, 1849.

Shakespeare's works include the 36 plays printed in the First Folio of 1623, listed according to their
folio classification as comedies,histories and tragedies.[192] Two plays not included in the First
Folio, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Pericles, Prince of Tyre, are now accepted as part of the canon,
with today's scholars agreeing that Shakespeare made major contributions to the writing of both.

No Shakespearean poems were included in the First Folio.

In the late 19th century, Edward Dowden classified four of the late comedies as romances, and
though many scholars prefer to call themtragicomedies, Dowden's term is often used.[194] In
1896, Frederick S. Boas coined the term "problem plays" to describe four plays: All's Well That Ends
Well, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida and Hamlet.[195] "Dramas as singular in theme and
temper cannot be strictly called comedies or tragedies", he wrote. "We may therefore borrow a
convenient phrase from the theatre of today and class them together as Shakespeare's problem
plays."[196] The term, much debated and sometimes applied to other plays, remains in use,
thoughHamlet is definitively classed as a tragedy.[197]

Speculation about Shakespeare

Main article: Shakespeare authorship question
Around 230 years after Shakespeare's death, doubts began to be expressed about the authorship of
the works attributed to him.[198] Proposed alternative candidates includeFrancis Bacon, Christopher
Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.[199] Several "group theories" have also been
proposed.[200] Only a small minority of academics believe there is reason to question the traditional
attribution,[201] but interest in the subject, particularly the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship,
continues into the 21st century.[202]

Main article: Religious views of William Shakespeare
Some scholars claim that members of Shakespeare's family were Catholics, at a time when
practicing Catholicism in England was against the law.[203] Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden,
certainly came from a pious Catholic family. The strongest evidence might be a Catholic statement of
faith signed by his father, John Shakespeare, found in 1757 in the rafters of his former house in
Henley Street. The document is now lost, however, and scholars differ as to its authenticity.[204] In
1591 the authorities reported that John Shakespeare had missed church "for fear of process for
debt", a common Catholic excuse.[205] In 1606, the name of William's daughter Susanna appears on a
list of those who failed to attend Easter communion in Stratford.[205] As several scholars have noted,
whatever his private views, Shakespeare "conformed to the official state religion", as Park Honan put
it.[206][207] Also, Shakespeare's will uses a Protestant formula, and he was a confirmed member of
the Church of England, where he was married, his children were baptized, and where he is buried.
Other authors argue that there is a lack of evidence about Shakespeare's religious beliefs. Scholars

find evidence both for and against Shakespeare's Catholicism, Protestantism, or lack of belief in his
plays, but the truth may be impossible to prove.[208]

Main article: Sexuality of William Shakespeare
Few details of Shakespeare's sexuality are known. At 18, he married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway,
who was pregnant. Susanna, the first of their three children, was born six months later on 26 May
1583. Over the centuries, some readers have posited that Shakespeare's sonnets are
autobiographical,[209] and point to them as evidence of his love for a young man. Others read the
same passages as the expression of intense friendship rather than romantic love. [210] The 26 socalled "Dark Lady" sonnets, addressed to a married woman, are taken as evidence of heterosexual

Main article: Portraits of Shakespeare
No written contemporary description of Shakespeare's physical appearance survives, and no
evidence suggests that he ever commissioned a portrait, so the Droeshout engraving, which Ben
Jonson approved of as a good likeness,[212] and his Stratford monument provide perhaps the best
evidence of his appearance. From the 18th century, the desire for authentic Shakespeare portraits
fuelled claims that various surviving pictures depicted Shakespeare. That demand also led to the
production of several fake portraits, as well as mis-attributions, repaintings and relabelling of
portraits of other people.[213]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the form of poetry. For other uses, see Sonnet (disambiguation).


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A sonnet is a poetic form which originated in Italy; Giacomo Da Lentini is credited with its invention.
The term sonnet is derived from the Italian word sonetto (from Old Provenal sonet a little poem,
from son song, from Latin sonus a sound). By the thirteenth century it signified a poem of fourteen
lines that follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. Conventions associated with the
sonnet have evolved over its history. Writers of sonnets are sometimes called "sonneteers", although
the term can be used derisively.

The Sonnet
by Melissa J. Sites

A sonnet is a one-stanza poem of fourteen lines, written in iambic pentameter. One

way to describe a verse line is to talk about how many stressed and unstressed
syllables are in the line. A simple grouping of syllables, some stressed, some
unstressed, is called a foot. The iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a
stressed syllable.Pentameter means there are five feet in the line. "Iambic
Pentameter," then, means a line of ten syllables, which alternates unstressed and
stressed syllables according to the iambic rhythm.

The rhyme scheme of a sonnet refers to the pattern formed by the rhyming words at
the end of each line. Each end-rhyme is assigned a letter, and the fourteen letters
assigned to the sonnet describe the rhyme scheme. Different kinds of sonnets have
different rhyme schemes.
The Petrarchan or Italian sonnet, named after the fourteenth century Italian poet
Petrarch, has the rhyme scheme ABBAABBA CDECDE. [You might imagine the endrhymes represented by the letters to be something like cat log hog bat, rat bog tog fat,
long neck noose, song heck loose]. The first eight lines, which all end in either rhyme
A [at] or B [og], form the octave. The last six lines, which end in C [ong], D [eck], or
E [oose], form the sestet. Variant rhyme schemes for the sestet also include CDCDCD
and CDEDCE. There is usually a pause or break in thought between the octave and
sestet called the volta, or turn. Traditionally, one main thought or problem is set out in
the octave and brought to a resolution in the sestet.
The Shakespearean or English sonnet was actually developed in the sixteenth century
by the Earl of Surrey, but is named after Shakespeare because of his great sonnet
sequence (a series of sonnets all exploring the same theme) printed in 1609 . The
Shakespearean sonnet has the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, forming
threequatrains (four lines in a group) and a closing couplet (two rhymed lines). The
problem is usually developed in the first three quatrains, each quatrain with a new
idea growing out of the previous one. Sometimes the first two quatrains are devoted to
the same thought, resembling the octave of the Petrarchan sonnet, and followed by a
similar volta. Most strikingly unlike the Petrarchan version, the Shakespearean sonnet
is brought to a punchy resolution in the epigrammatic final couplet.
The Spenserian sonnet is a variation of the English sonnet with the rhyme scheme
ABAB BCBC CDCD EE, in which the quatrains are linked by a continuation of one
end-rhyme from the previous quatrain. The Miltonic sonnet is a Petrarchan sonnet
which omits the volta. Wordsworth often used the Petrarchan form, but changed the
octave to ABBA ACCA because it is harder to find rhyming words in English than in
The traditional subject of the sonnet has primarily been Love. Petrarch wrote his great
sonnet sequence to his beloved, Laura. Many of Shakespeare's sonnets are also about
Love, but Shakespeare mocked the standard worshipful attitude of the Petrarchan
sonnet in his famous "My Mistress's eyes are nothing like the sun." Development of
the English sonnet led to consideration of other topics, including mortality, mutability,
politics, and writing itself. Donne turned from the secular subject of Love to

consideration of sacred themes in a group of nineteen Holy Sonnets. Milton, instead

of writing a sequence about Love, wrote individual sonnets about serious ideas,
political themes, or public occasions. After Milton the sonnet declined in popularity-until it was taken up again with fervor during the Romantic period.

What is a Sonnet Poem?

A Sonnet is a poem of an expressive thought or idea made up of 14 lines, each being
10 syllableslong. Its rhymes are arranged according to one of the schemes Italian, where eight
lines called an octave consisting of two quatrains which normally open the poem as the question are
followed by six lines called a sestet that are the answer, or the more common English which is three
quatrains followed by a rhyming couplet.

Shakespeares sonnets are written in a strict poetic form that was very popular during
his lifetime. Broadly speaking, each sonnet engages images and sounds to present an
argument to the reader.

Sonnet Characteristics
A sonnet is simply a poem written in a certain format. You can identify a sonnet if the
poem has the following characteristics:

14 lines. All sonnets have 14 lines which can be broken down into four sections
called quatrains.

Written in iambic Pentameter. Sonnets are written in iambic pentameter, a

poetic meter with 10 beats per line made up of alternating unstressed and stressed
A sonnet can be broken down into four sections called quatrains. The first three
quatrains contain four lines each and use an alternating rhyme scheme. The final
quatrain consists of just two lines which both rhyme.
Each quatrain should progress the poem as follows:


First quatrain: This should establish the subject of the sonnet.

Number of lines: 4. Rhyme Scheme: ABAB


Second quatrain: This should develop the sonnets theme.

Number of lines: 4. Rhyme Scheme: CDCD


Third quatrain: This should round off the sonnets theme.

Number of lines: 4. Rhyme Scheme: EFEF


Fourth quatrain: This should act as a conclusion to the sonnet.

Number of lines: 2. Rhyme Scheme: GG
a poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically
having ten syllables per line.

A biography is the story of a person's life in the words of another person, while an
autobiography is the story of a person's life in his own words. A biography is typically
written in third person, while an autobiography is typically written in first person.


While an autobiography is usually written by the subject instead of another writer, some
individuals hire a writer to assist with the document. Usually, this results in a dual by-line
that includes both names.
Some of the most famous autobiographies include "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne
Frank, "Night" by Ellie Wiesel and "Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela. Famous
biographies include "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, "John Adams" by David
McCullough and "Team of Rivals: The Political Genious of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris
Kearns Goodwin.

An autobiography is the story describing a person's life that is told by

the individual himself. Sometimes, an autobiography can be written
with the help of a co-author, as long as the story remains in firstperson.


An Autobiography is a story about a person written by the same person.
It is a first-person account and sometimes the story can be highly personalized. It
may include photos about the person's events or newspaper articles showing what
the person accomplished and what were the news about him/her.
A Biography is the story of someone's life but it is written by someone else that
studied that person's life. This stories normally have accurate history about the
person's life and makes reflection about the time and place in which the person's
events happened. It is also written in chronological time.
One similarity between an Autobiography and a Biography is that they both write
about a person's life. Also, the historical facts in the person's life have to be
accurate and they are normally written in chronological time.
The main differences between an autobiography and a biography are, first of all,
biography is written by a person that studied a lot about another and a
autobiography is written by himself/herself.Another main difference is that in a
biography the author has to strictly study the persons life while in a autobiography
the person enjoys more the writing.
Similarites and differences between Autobiography and Biography
For example: in a book called "Who Was Dr. Seuss?", someone called Janet Pascal,
wrote the story. Unlike an autobiography, Nelson Mandela wrote the book, "Nelson
Mandela", by himself. Even though, autobiographies and biographies seem similar,
there are main differences that make them different types of writing.

Barnes and Nobles BarnesandNobles.com 27 August 2013


Routman, Reggie. Genre Characteristics ux1.eiu.edu 27 August 2013

http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/ ~cfder/GenreCharacteristicsChart.pdf

By: Alejandro Char
Jorge Dangond
Alejandro Char
Jorge Dangond

It was the day; the 27 of July, 2001. At 8:38 pm, at the city of Miami in the Jackson
Hospital, one mom was giving birth to a wonderful child. My name: Alejandro Char,
son of Alejandro Char and Katia Nule. I was born in the city of Miami, but at one
week I was back at Colombia to visit my dad and all of my family. Since the day I
visited Colombia, my life began and I got educated since then. Even though I had
another sister, I enjoyed my only child life until my sister was born one year and a
half later, on a 3rd of December, 2002.
Before I entered school, I went to other Kindergartens called Baby Gym and
Caritas Alegres. When I entered school, I was 3 years old and it was when I met
most of my friends. As I grew, I started to feel passion for sports, for example,
soccer and tennis were the ones I played more as a child. When I was in pre-school,
the only thing I did in all the day was kick soccer balls all the day, in the school and
in my house too. When I entered elementary, things in school got harder because I
had to study in school two more hours. But, I felt the same passion for sports.
Always, my favorite soccer team has been Junior, the Barranquilla team. It has won
seven championships and is looking for more. Talking about teams and players, I got
interested in tennis because of a great all-time player called Roger Federer. He
inspired me to start playing tennis in second grade, and thats where my tennis
carrier begins. I practiced both, soccer and tennis in the country club, during third
grade. Two days I had soccer practice, and the other two days I practiced tennis.
But, after that, I went to practice at, La Liga De Tenis del Atlantico, where tennis
practices were more intense. Since that moment, I felt more passion in tennis than
soccer. So, by the start of fourth grade, I practiced tennis six hours a week.
I did all of fourth grade playing tennis intensely, while soccer was only one day a
week. When I got to fifth grade I made a decision that, in my opinion, changed a lot
in my life: I decided to just focus on playing tennis and taking no more soccer

practices. So, since that moment, I only practiced tennis and started playing
national tennis tournaments. During fifth grade period I got to some semifinals and
doubles finals. But, when I entered sixth grade, I started playing bigger, better,
stronger, and with more power. And after that Ive won 5 double championships and
I have reached 3 singles finals. This, for me, is a great achievement, but I have the
rest of my life to play.
So, my life has only been lived 12 years, and I have much more to live during my
life. And the last thing Ive done, was telling you my story in Mrs. Van Loos class.
Alejandro Char

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Difference between Biography and Autobiography

November 1, 2014 By Surbhi S Leave a Comment

two traditional forms of literature that describe the character sketch and course
of the life of a person are biography and autobiography. Both of these two
presents the view of, what happened in the past where the author lived. These are
non-fiction books, written in chronological order, tells a story about the person
who made a significant contribution in a specific field. The noticeable difference
between a biography and autobiography is that while the former is the life history
of an individual, written by someone else, the latter is an expression of a persons

life, written by self. This article presents you the important differences between
these two subjects, have a look.

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Content: Biography Vs Autobiography


Comparison Chart




Key Differences


Comparison Chart




Biography refers to an account that tells someone else's life story.


Can be written, with or without the authorization of the subject.

Written in

Third person


To inform


Based on facts collected by the author.

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Definition of Biography

A biography also referred as bio is a detailed account of a persons life written or

produced by another person. It gives an elaborate information regarding the
birth-place, educational background, work, relationships and demise of the
person concerned. It presents the subjects intimate details about life, focusing on
the highs and lows and analyzing their whole personality. A biography is usually
in the written form but can also be made in other forms of a music composition
or literature to film interpretation.
It is the recreation of the life of an individual composed of words by another
person. The author collects every single detail about the subject and presents
those facts in the biography, which are relevant and interesting, to engross the
readers in the story.
Definition of Autobiography

An autobiography is the life sketch of a person written by that person himself or

herself. The word auto means self. Therefore, autobiography contains all the
elements of a biography but composed or narrated by the author himself. He/She
may write on their own or may hire ghostwriters to write for them.
An autobiography presents the narrators character sketch, the place where he is
born and brought up, his education, work, life experiences, challenges, and
achievements. This may include events and stories of his childhood, teenage, and

Key Differences Between Biography and Autobiography

The difference between biography and autobiography are discussed in detail in
the following points:


Biography is a detailed account of a persons life written by someone else,

while autobiography is written by the subject themselves.


Biography can be written with (authorized) or without permission

(unauthorized) from the person/heirs concerned. Therefore, there are chances of
factual mistakes in the information. On the other hand, autobiographies are selfwritten and therefore doesnt require any authorization.


Biographies contain information that is collected over a period of time

from different sources and thus, it projects a different outlook to the readers. On
the other hand, autobiographies are written by the subject themselves, therefore,
the writer presents the facts and his thinking in his own way, thus providing an
overall narrow and biased perspective to the readers.


In an Autobiography, the author uses the first narrative like I, me, we, he,
she, etc. This, in turn, makes an intimate connection between the author and the
reader since the reader experience various aspects as if he/she is in that time
period. As opposed a biography is from a third persons view and is much less


The purpose of writing a biography is to introduce and inform the readers

about the person and his life whereas an autobiography is written in order to
express, the life experiences and achievements of the narrator.

There are several autobiographies which are worth mentioning like The Story of
My Life by Helen Keller, An Autobiography by Jawaharlal Nehru, The Diary of
a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Memoirs of the Second World War by Winston
Churchill, Wings of Fire by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and many more.
Examples of some famous biographies are- Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund
Bartlett, His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis, Einstein: The Life
and Times by Ronald William Clark, Biography of Walt Disney: The Inspirational

Life Story of Walt Disney The Man Behind Disneyland by Steve Walters,
Princess Diana- A Biography Of The Princess Of Wales by Drew L. Crichton.

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Difference Between
Autobiography and
Categorized under Language,Miscellaneous | Difference Between
Autobiography and Biography

Autobiography and biography are both account

of a particular individuals life. The factuality of either one is not
necessarily relevant in these terms, though generally it is distinguished
in the description of most autobiographical and biographical works.
There are also a number of subtleties to consider in the distinguishing
between these.
An autobiography is technically a work that describes a life that is
created by that individual. In general this refers to a book that is
written by the individual about their life. Autobiographies can vary in

their artistic and reporting approach. Some may be intentionally

entertaining and other intentionally informative. Typically they are
intended to be fairly accurate regarding hard facts. Something that is
common among some autobiographies is the work of a ghost-writer. A
ghost writer may have a varying role in different projects. For example
in one work they may simply create an outline or edit a work. In
others, they may actually help in the writing of the text. Usually if a
ghost-writer writes the entire book you would expect the work to be
labeled a biography.
A biography is also a work that describes a life. These works however
are created by an individual other than the individual that the work is
about. Biographies are typically considered to be accurate in regard to
hard facts also. These works however are instances where differences
even in the reporting of hard facts become evident. Some biographies,
especially when written about living individuals can be the cause of
controversy and the terming unauthorized biography has become
rather common. These distinctions and the greater possibility of
revealing unwanted information attract a number of individuals to
biographies for reading. Biographies can be written by anyone and
about anyone. As a result it is less common that ghost-writers work on
biographies, but it isnt unheard of.
Autobiographies and biographies can provide information that is
collected through time consuming research. It can inform an audience
and bring them closer to the people they want to know. Many however,

shouldnt be considered the same types of reference works as

encyclopedias and dictionaries.

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Difference Between | Autobiography vs