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Literature broadly is any collection of
written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use of sufficien ...

written
work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...

art
form, especially
prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions ...

prose
fiction Fiction is any creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, writing (literature), filmm ...

fiction
,
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...

drama
, and
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poetry
. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to include
oral literature Oral literature or folk literature is a literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and ...
, much of which has been transcribed. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment, and can also have a social, psychological, spiritual, or political role. Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as
biography A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or c ...

biography
,
diariesDiaries may refer to: * the plural of diary *''Diaries: 1971-1976'', a 1981 documentary by Ed Pincus *''Diaries 1969–1979: The Python Years'', a 2006 book by Michael Palin *''OFW Diaries'', a public affairs television show in the Philippines See ...

diaries
,
memoir A memoir (; , ) is any nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act o ...
,
letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
, and the
essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument, but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a Letter (message), letter, a term paper, paper, an article (publishing), article, a pamphlet, and a short ...

essay
. Within its broad definition, literature includes non-fictional books, articles or other printed information on a particular subject.''OED''
Etymologically Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of words. By extension, t ...
, the term derives from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
''literatura/litteratura'' "learning, a writing, grammar," originally "writing formed with letters," from ''litera/littera'' "letter". In spite of this, the term has also been applied to spoken or sung texts. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, which now includes
electronic literature Electronic literature or digital literature is a genre of literature encompassing works created exclusively on and for digital devices, such as computers A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequen ...
. Literature is classified according to whether it is poetry, prose or drama, and such works are categorized according to historical periods, or their adherence to certain
aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aesthetics). It examines subjective and ...

aesthetic
features, or
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, ...

genre
.


Definitions

Definitions of literature have varied over time.Leitch ''et al.'', ''The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism'', 28 In
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
, prior to the 18th century, literature denoted all books and writing literature can be seen as returning to older, more inclusive notions, so that
cultural studies #REDIRECT Cultural studies #REDIRECT Cultural studies#REDIRECT Cultural studies Cultural studies is a field of theoretically, politically, and empirically engaged cultural analysis that concentrates upon the political dynamics of contemporary cul ...
, for instance, include, in addition to canonical works, popular and minority genres. The word is also used in reference non-written works: to "
oral literature Oral literature or folk literature is a literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and ...
" and "the literature of
preliterate Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of prima ...
culture". A
value judgment A value judgment (or value judgement) is a judgment Judgement (or US spelling judgment) is also known as ''adjudication Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides ov ...

value judgment
definition of literature considers it as consisting solely of high quality writing that forms part of the ''
belles-lettres ''Belles-lettres'' or ''belles lettres'' is a category of writing, originally meaning beautiful or fine writing. In the modern narrow sense, it is a label for literary works that do not fall into the major categories such as fiction, poetry, or dr ...
'' ("fine writing") tradition. An example of this in the (1910–11) ''Encyclopædia Britannica'' that classified literature as "the best expression of the best thought reduced to writing".Biswas, ''Critique of Poetics'', 538


History


Oral literature

The use of the term "literature" here is a little problematic because of its origins in the Latin ''littera'', “letter,” essentially writing. Alternatives such as "oral forms" and "oral genres" have been suggested but the word literature is widely used.
Oral literature Oral literature or folk literature is a literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and ...
is an ancient human tradition found in "all corners of the world". Modern archaeology has been unveiling evidence of the human efforts to preserve and transmit arts and knowledge that depended completely or partially on an oral tradition, across various cultures: The earliest
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poetry
is believed to have been recited or sung, employed as a way of remembering
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
,
genealogy Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "study of family trees") is the study of families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinit ...

genealogy
, and
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
. In Asia, the transmission of folklore, mythologies as well as scriptures in ancient India, in different Indian religions, was by oral tradition, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. The early Buddhist texts are also generally believed to be of oral tradition, with the first by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek, Serbia and other cultures, then noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down. According to Goody, the Vedic texts likely involved both a written and oral tradition, calling it a "parallel products of a literate society".
Australian Aboriginal culture Australian Aboriginal culture includes a number of practices and ceremonies centered on a belief in the Dreamtime The Dreaming, also referred to as Dreamtime, is a term devised by early anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in t ...
has thrived on oral traditions and oral histories passed down through thousands of years. In a study published in February 2020, new evidence showed that both
Budj Bim Budj Bim, also known as Mount Eccles, is a dormant volcano A volcano is a rupture in the Crust (geology), crust of a Planet#Planetary-mass objects, planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and volcanic gas, ...
and
Tower Hill Tower Hill is infamous for the public execution of high status prisoners from the late 14th to the mid 18th century. The execution site on the higher ground north-west of the Tower of London The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty' ...
volcanoes erupted between 34,000 and 40,000 years ago. Significantly, this is a "minimum age constraint for human presence in
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
", and also could be interpreted as evidence for the oral histories of the
Gunditjmara The Gunditjmara or Gunditjamara, also known as Dhauwurd Wurrung, are an Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native peop ...
people, an
Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific ...
people of south-western Victoria, which tell of volcanic eruptions being some of the oldest oral traditions in existence. An axe found underneath
volcanic ash Volcanic ash consists of fragments of rock, mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure ...
in 1947 had already proven that humans inhabited the region before the eruption of Tower Hill. All ancient Greek literature was to some degree oral in nature, and the earliest literature was completely so.
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
's epic poetry, states Michael Gagarin, was largely composed, performed and transmitted orally. As folklores and legends were performed in front of distant audiences, the singers would substitute the names in the stories with local characters or rulers to give the stories a local flavor and thus connect with the audience, but making the historicity embedded in the oral tradition as unreliable. The lack of surviving texts about the Greek and Roman religious traditions have led scholars to presume that these were ritualistic and transmitted as oral traditions, but some scholars disagree that the complex rituals in the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations were an exclusive product of an oral tradition. Writing systems are not known to have existed among
Native North Americans The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who n ...
before contact with Europeans. Oral storytelling traditions flourished in a context without the use of writing to record and preserve history, scientific knowledge, and social practices. While some stories were told for amusement and leisure, most functioned as practical lessons from tribal experience applied to immediate moral, social, psychological, and environmental issues. Stories fuse fictional, supernatural, or otherwise exaggerated characters and circumstances with real emotions and morals as a means of teaching. Plots often reflect real life situations and may be aimed at particular people known by the story's audience. In this way, social pressure could be exerted without directly causing embarrassment or social exclusion. For example, rather than yelling,
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
parents might deter their children from wandering too close to the water's edge by telling a story about a sea monster with a pouch for children within its reach. See also African literature#Oral literature


Oratory

Oratory Oratory is a type of public speaking. Oratory may also refer to: * Eloquence, fluent, forcible, elegant, or persuasive speaking * Rhetoric, the art of discourse Places * Oratory (worship), a public or private place of divine worship, akin to a c ...
or the art of
public speaking Public speaking, also called oratory or oration, has traditionally meant the act of speaking face to face to a live audience. Today it includes any form of speaking (formally and informally) to an audience, including pre-recorded speech delivere ...

public speaking
"was for long considered a literary art". From
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
to the late 19th century,
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and ...
played a central role in Western education in training orators, lawyers, counsellors, historians, statesmen, and poets.


Writing

Around the 4th millennium BC, the complexity of trade and administration in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
outgrew human memory, and
writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...

writing
became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form. Though in both
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
and
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
, writing may have already emerged because of the need to record historical and environmental events. Subsequent innovations included more uniform, predictable,
legal systems The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law Religious law includes ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Different religio ...
,
sacred texts Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for c ...
, and the origins of modern practices of
scientific inquiry Models of scientific inquiry have two functions: first, to provide a descriptive account of ''how'' scientific inquiry is carried out in practice, and second, to provide an explanatory account of ''why'' scientific inquiry succeeds as well as it app ...
and , all largely reliant on portable and easily reproducible forms of writing.  


Early written literature

Ancient Egyptian literature Ancient Egyptian literature was written in the Egyptian language from ancient Egypt's History of ancient Egypt, pharaonic period until the end of Egypt (Roman province), Roman domination. It represents the oldest Text corpus, corpus of Literature ...
, along with
Sumerian literature Sumerian literature constitutes the earliest known corpus of recorded literature, including the religious writings and other traditional stories maintained by the Sumerian civilization and largely preserved by the later Akkadian and Babylonian empi ...
, are considered the world's oldest literatures.Black et al. ''The Literature of Ancient Sumer'', xix The primary
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, ...

genre
s of the literature of
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
didactic Didacticism is a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an ...
texts, hymns and prayers, and tales—were written almost entirely in verse; By the
Old Kingdom In ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associate ...
(26th century BC to 22nd century BC), literary works included funerary texts,
epistle An epistle (; el, ἐπιστολή, ''epistolē,'' "letter") is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic Didacticism is a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qual ...
s and letters,
hymns A hymn is a type of song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at melody, distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various song form, ...
and poems, and commemorative
autobiographical An autobiography (from the Greek language, Greek, αὐτός-''autos'' self + βίος-''bios'' life + γράφειν-''graphein'' to write; also informally called an autobio) is a self-written account of one's life. The word "autobiography" w ...
texts recounting the careers of prominent administrative officials. It was not until the early Middle Kingdom (21st century BC to 17th century BC) that a narrative Egyptian literature was created. Many works of early periods, even in narrative form, had a covert moral or didactic purpose, such as the Sanskrit ''
Panchatantra The ''Panchatantra'' (: Pañcatantra, : Pañcatantra, sa, पञ्चतन्त्र, "Five Treatises") is an ancient collection of interrelated s in verse and prose, arranged within a . Translator's introduction: "The ''Panchatantra'' is a ''niti-shastra'', or textbook of ''niti''. The word ''niti'' means roughly "the wise conduct of life." Western civilization must endure a certain shame in realizing that no precise equivalent of the term is found in English, French, Latin, or Greek. Many words are therefore necessary to explain what ''niti'' is, though the idea, once grasped, is clear, important, and satisfying."
Drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...

Drama
and
satire Satire is a of the , , and s, usually in the form of and less frequently , in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, often with the intent of shaming or exposing the perceived flaws of individuals, corpora ...
also developed as urban culture provided a larger public audience, and later readership, for literary production.
Lyric poetry Modern lyric poetry is a formal type of poetry which expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person. It is not equivalent to song lyrics, though song lyrics are often in the lyric mode, and it is also ''not'' equi ...
(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'' (1046–c.600 BC), . In
ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese h ...
, early literature was primarily focused on philosophy,
historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers how historians hav ...

historiography
,
military science Military science is the study of military processes, institutions, and behavior, along with the study of warfare, and the theory and application of organized coercive force. It is mainly focused on theory A theory is a rational Rational ...
, agriculture, and
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...
. China, the origin of modern paper making and
woodblock printing Woodblock printing or block printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of textile printing, printing on textiles and later paper. As a Woodbl ...
, produced the world's first
print culture Print culture embodies all forms of printed text and other printed forms of visual communication. One prominent scholar in the field is Elizabeth Eisenstein, who contrasted print culture, which appeared in Europe in the centuries after the advent ...
s. Much of Chinese literature originates with the
Hundred Schools of Thought The Hundred Schools of Thought () were philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century BC to 221 BC during the Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese histo ...
period that occurred during the
Eastern Zhou Dynasty The Eastern Zhou (; zh, c=, p=Dōngzhōu; 770–256 BC) was the second half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It was divided into two periods: the Spring and Autumn period, Spring and Autumn and the Warring States period, Warring States. H ...
(769‒269 BC). The most important of these include the Classics of
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC ...
, of
Daoism Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of c ...
, of
Mohism Mohism or Moism () was an ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characteri ...
, of Legalism, as well as works of military science (e.g.
Sun Tzu Sun Tzu ( ; zh, t=孫子, p=Sūnzǐ) was a Chinese general, military strategist A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially a ...
's ''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' () is an ancient List of Chinese military texts, Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Su ...
'', c.5th century BC)) and
Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

Chinese history
(e.g.
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
's ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Western Han Dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'', c.94 BC). Ancient Chinese literature had a heavy emphasis on historiography, with often very detailed court records. An exemplary piece of
narrative history Narrative history is the practice of writing history in a story-based form. It tends to entail history-writing based on reconstructing series of short-term events, and ever since the influential work of Leopold von Ranke on professionalising histor ...
of ancient China was the ''
Zuo Zhuan The ''Zuo Zhuan'' (; ), generally translated ''The Zuo Tradition'' or ''The Commentary of Zuo'', is an ancient Chinese narrative history that is traditionally regarded as a commentary on the ancient Chinese chronicle ''Spring and Autumn Annals ...

Zuo Zhuan
'', which was compiled no later than 389 BC, and attributed to the blind 5th-century BC historian
Zuo Qiuming Zuo Qiuming, Zuoqiu Ming or Qiu Ming (556–451 BC) was a Chinese historian who was a contemporary of Confucius that lived in the Lu (state), State of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China. The influential ''Zuozhuan'' (''Com ...
. In
ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Quote: "Y-Chromosome and Mt-DNA data support the colonization of South Asia by mod ...
, literature originated from stories that were originally orally transmitted. Early genres included
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...
,
fables Fable is a literary genre: a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse (poetry), verse, that features animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature that are Anthropomorphism, anthropomorphized, and that illustrat ...
,
sutras Sutra ( sa, सूत्र, translit=sūtra, translit-std=IAST, translation=string, threadMonier Williams, ''Sanskrit English Dictionary'', Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The Pitt Build ...
and
epic poetry An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary people who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the mortal ...
.
Sanskrit literature Sanskrit literature broadly comprises texts composed in the earliest attested descendant of the Proto-Indo-Aryan language Proto-Indo-Aryan (sometimes Proto-Indic) is the Linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Aryan ...

Sanskrit literature
begins with the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
, dating back to 1500–1000 BC, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of
Iron Age India In the prehistory of the Indian subcontinent, an "Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the ...
. The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The Samhitas (vedic collections) date to roughly 1500–1000 BC, and the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the
redaction Redaction is a form of editing in which multiple sources of texts are combined and altered slightly to make a single document. Often this is a method of collecting a series of writings on a similar theme and creating a definitive and coherent wor ...
of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000‒500 BC, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid-2nd to mid 1st millennium BC, or the
Late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
and the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
.
Gavin Flood__NOTOC__ Gavin Dennis Flood (born 1954) is a British scholar of comparative religion Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices, themes and impacts (i ...
sums up mainstream estimates, according to which the Rigveda was compiled from as early as 1500 BC over a period of several centuries.
The period between approximately the 6th to 1st centuries BC saw the composition and redaction of the two most influential Indian epics, the ''
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan langua ...

Mahabharata
'' and the ''
Ramayana ''Rāmāyana'' (; sa, रामायणम्, ) is one of the two major Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit Indian epic poetry, epics of ancient India and important text of Hinduism, the other being the ''Mahabharata, Mahābhārata''. The epi ...

Ramayana
'', with subsequent redaction progressing down to the 4th century AD. Other major literary works are
Ramcharitmanas ''Ramcharitmanas'' ( deva, श्रीरामचरितमानस, Rāmacaritamānasa), is an epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doi ...

Ramcharitmanas
Lutgendorf 1991, p. 1. & Krishnacharitmanas. The earliest known Greek writings are Mycenaean (c.1600–1100 BC), written in the
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The tradition ...
syllabary on clay tablets. These documents contain prosaic records largely concerned with trade (lists, inventories, receipts, etc.); no real literature has been discovered.
Michael Ventris Michael George Francis Ventris, (; 12 July 1922 – 6 September 1956) was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in ...
and
John Chadwick John Chadwick, (21 May 1920 – 24 November 1998) was an English linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestu ...
, the original decipherers of Linear B, state that literature almost certainly existed in
Mycenaean Greece Mycenaean Greece (or the Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1750 to 1050 BC.. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland ...
, but it was either not written down or, if it was, it was on parchment or wooden tablets, which did not survive the .
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
's,
epic poems This is a list of epic poems. Ancient epics (to 500) Before the 8th century BC *''Epic of Gilgamesh'' (Mesopotamian mythology) *Epic of Lugalbanda (including ''Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave'' and ''Lugalbanda and the Anzud Bird'', Mesopotamia ...
the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
'' and the ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí ...
'', are central works of
ancient Greek literature Ancient Greek literature is written in the language from the earliest texts until the time of the . The earliest surviving works of ancient Greek literature, dating back to the early , are the two epic poems the ' and the ', set in an ideali ...
. It is generally accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary. Most researchers believe that the poems were originally Oral tradition, transmitted orally. From Classical antiquity, antiquity until the present day, the influence of Homeric epic on Western culture, Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music, art and film. The Homeric epics were the greatest influence on ancient Greek culture and education; to Plato, Homer was simply the one who "has taught Greece" – ''ten Hellada pepaideuken''. Hesiod's Works and Days (c.700 BC) and Theogony, are some of the earliest, and most influential, of ancient Greek literature. Classical Greek genres included philosophy,
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poetry
, historiography, comedies and
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...

drama
s. Plato (428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) and Aristotle (384–322 BC) authored philosophical texts that are the foundation of Western philosophy, Sappho (c. 630 – c. 570 BC) and Pindar were influential lyric poetry, lyric poets, and Herodotus (c. 484 – c. 425 BC) ) and Thucydides were early Greek historians. Although drama was popular in ancient Greece, of the hundreds of tragedy, tragedies written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of plays by three authors still exist: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The plays of Aristophanes (c. 446 – c. 386 BC) provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Ancient Greek comedy, Old Comedy, the earliest form of Greek Comedy, and are in fact used to define the genre. The Hebrew religious text, the Torah, is widely seen as a product of the Persian period (539–333 BC, probably 450–350 BC). This consensus echoes a traditional Jewish view which gives Ezra, the leader of the Jewish community on its return from Babylon, a pivotal role in its promulgation. This represents a major source of Christianity's Bible, which has been a major influence on Western literature. The beginning of Roman literature dates to 240 BC, when a Roman audience saw a Latin version of a Greek play. Literature in latin would flourish for the next six centuries, and includes essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings. The Qur'an (610 AD to 632 AD) ), the main Religious text, holy book of Islam, had a significant influence on the Arab language, and marked the beginning of Islamic literature. Muslims believe it was transcribed in the Arabic dialect of the Quraysh, the tribe of Muhammad. As Islam spread, the Quran had the effect of unifying and standardizing Arabic. Theological works in Latin were the dominant form of Mediaeval literature#Types of writing, literature in Europe typically found in libraries during the Middle Ages. Western culture, Western Vernacular literature includes the Poetic Edda and the sagas, or heroic epics, of Iceland, the Anglo-Saxon ''Beowulf'', and the German ''Song of Hildebrandt''. A later form of Mediaeval literature, medieval fiction was the Romance (heroic literature), romance, an adventurous and sometimes magical narrative with strong popular appeal. Controversial, religious, political and instructional literature proliferated during the European Renaissance as a result of the Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press around 1440, while the Medieval romance developed into the novel,Margaret Anne Doody
''The True Story of the Novel''
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996, rept. 1997, p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2020.


Publishing

Publishing became possible with the history of writing, invention of writing, but became more practical with the History of printing, invention of printing. Prior to printing, distributed works were copied manually, by scribes. The Chinese inventor Bi Sheng made movable type of earthenware c. 1045. Then c.1450, separately Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in Europe. This invention gradually made books less expensive to produce and more widely available. Early printed books, single sheets and images which were created before 1501 in Europe are known as incunables or ''incunabula''. "A man born in 1453, the year of the fall of Constantinople, could look back from his fiftieth year on a lifetime in which about eight million books had been printed, more perhaps than all the scribes of Europe had produced since Constantine founded his city in A.D. 330." Eventually, printing enabled other forms of publishing besides books. The History of newspaper publishing, history of modern newspaper publishing started in Germany in 1609, with magazine#History, publishing of magazines following in 1663.


University discipline


In England

In England in the late 1820s, growing political and social awareness, "particularly among the utilitarians and Jeremy Bentham, Benthamites, promoted the possibility of including courses in English literary study in the newly formed London University". This further developed into the idea of the study of literature being "the ideal carrier for the propagation of the humanist cultural myth of a welleducated, culturally harmonious nation".


America

American Literature (academic discipline)


Women and literature

The widespread education of women was not common until the nineteenth century, and because of this literature until recently was mostly Western canon#Historical exclusion of women, male dominated. There are few women poets writing in English, whose names are remembered, until the twentieth century. In the English poetry#Victorian poetry, nineteenth century some names that stand out are Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Emily Dickinson (see American poetry). But while generally women are absent from the European cannon of Romantic poetry, Romantic literature, there is one notable exception, the French novelist and memoirist Amantine Dupin (1804 – 1876) best known by her pen name George Sand. One of the more popular writers in Europe in her lifetime, being more renowned than both Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac in England in the 1830s and 1840s, Sand is recognised as one of the most notable writers of the European Romantic era. Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) is the first major English woman novelist, while Aphra Behn is an early female dramatist. Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded between 1901 and 2020 to 117 individuals: 101 men and 16 women. Selma Lagerlöf (1858 – 1940) was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, which she was awarded in 1909. Additionally, she was the first woman to be granted a membership in The Swedish Academy in 1914. Feminism, Feminist scholars have since the twentieth century sought Women's writing (literary category)#Rediscovering ignored works from the past, expand the literary canon to include more women writers.


Children's literature

A separate genre of children's literature only began to emerge in the eighteenth century, with the development of the concept of childhood. The earliest of these books were educational books, books on conduct, and simple ABCs—often decorated with animals, plants, and anthropomorphic letters.


Aesthetics


Literary theory

A fundamental question of literary theory is "what is literature?" – although many contemporary theorists and literary scholars believe either that "literature" cannot be defined or that it can refer to any use of language.


Literary fiction

Literary fiction is a term used to describe
fiction Fiction is any creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, writing (literature), filmm ...

fiction
that explores any facet of the human condition, and may involve social commentary. It is often regarded as having more artistic merit than genre fiction, especially the most commercially oriented types, but this has been contested in recent years, with the serious study of genre fiction within universities. The following, by the award-winning British author William Boyd (writer), William Boyd on the short story, might be applied to all prose fiction:
[short stories] seem to answer something very deep in our nature as if, for the duration of its telling, something special has been created, some essence of our experience extrapolated, some temporary sense has been made of our common, turbulent journey towards the grave and oblivion.
The very best in literature is annually recognized by the Nobel Prize in Literature, which is awarded to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction" (original Swedish: ''den som inom litteraturen har producerat det mest framstående verket i en idealisk riktning'').


The value of imaginative literature

Some researchers suggest that literary fiction can play a role in an individual's psychological development. Psychologists have also been using literature as a therapeutic tool. Psychologist Hogan argues for the value of the time and emotion that a person devotes to understanding a character's situation in literature; that it can unite a large community by provoking universal emotions, as well as allowing readers access to different cultures, and new emotional experiences. One study, for example, suggested that the presence of familiar cultural values in literary texts played an important impact on the performance of minority students. Psychologist Abraham Maslow, Maslow's ideas help literary critics understand how characters in literature reflect their personal culture and the history. The theory suggests that literature helps an individual's struggle for self-fulfilment.


The influence of religious texts

Religion has had a major influence on literature, through works like the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
, Torah, Bible, and Qur'an. The King James Version of the Bible has been called "the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what is now its most influential language", "the most important book in English religion and culture", and "the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world". Prominent Atheism, atheist figures such as the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have praised the King James Version as being "a giant step in the maturing of English literature" and "a great work of literature", respectively, with Dawkins then adding, "A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian".


Types of literature


Poetry

Poetry has traditionally been distinguished from
prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions ...

prose
by its greater use of the
aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aesthetics). It examines subjective and ...

aesthetic
qualities of language, including musical devices such as assonance, alliteration, rhyme, and rhythm, and by being set in Line (poetry), lines and Verse (poetry), verses rather than paragraphs, and more recently its use of other Typography, typographical elements. This distinction is complicated by various hybrid forms such as sound poetry, concrete poetry and prose poem, and more generally by the fact that prose possesses rhythm. Abram Lipsky refers to it as an "open secret" that "prose is not distinguished from poetry by lack of rhythm". Prior to the 19th century, poetry was commonly understood to be something set in metrical lines: "any kind of subject consisting of or Verses". Possibly as a result of Aristotle's influence (his ''Poetics (Aristotle), Poetics''), "poetry" before the 19th century was usually less a technical designation for verse than a normative category of fictive or rhetorical art.Ross, "The Emergence of 'Literature': Making and Reading the English Canon in the Eighteenth Century", 398 As a form it may pre-date literacy, with the earliest works being composed within and sustained by an oral tradition; hence it constitutes the earliest example of literature.


Prose

As noted above,
prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions ...

prose
generally makes far less use of the aesthetic qualities of language than poetry. However, developments in modern literature, including free verse and prose poetry have tended to blur the differences, and American poet T.S. Eliot suggested that while: "the distinction between Verse (poetry), verse and prose is clear, the distinction between
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poetry
and prose is obscure". There are verse novels, a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose. ''Eugene Onegin'' (1831) by Alexander Pushkin is the most famous example. 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 antiquity, classical period". Latin was a major influence on the development of prose in many European countries. Especially important was the great Roman orator Cicero. It was the ''lingua franca'' among literate Europeans until quite recent times, and the great works of Descartes (1596 – 1650), Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626), and Baruch Spinoza (1632 – 1677) were published in Latin. Among the last important books written primarily in Latin prose were the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedenborg (d. 1772), Carl Linnaeus, Linnaeus (d. 1778), Leonhard Euler, Euler (d. 1783), Carl Friedrich Gauss, Gauss (d. 1855), and Isaac Newton (d. 1727).


Novel

A novel is a long fictional prose narrative. In English, the term emerged from the Romance languages in the late 15th century, with the meaning of "news"; it came to indicate something new, without a distinction between fact or fiction. The romance is a closely related long prose narrative. Walter Scott defined it as "a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents", whereas in the novel "the events are accommodated to the ordinary train of human events and the modern state of society". Other European languages do not distinguish between romance and novel: "a novel is ''le roman'', ''der Roman'', ''il romanzo''",Doody (1996), p. 15. indicates the proximity of the forms. Although there are many historical prototypes, so-called "novels before the novel", the modern novel form emerges late in cultural history—roughly during the eighteenth century. Initially subject to much criticism, the novel has acquired a dominant position amongst literary forms, both popularly and critically.


Novella

The publisher Melville House Publishing, Melville House classifies the novella as "too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story". Publishers and literary award societies typically consider a novella to be between 17,000 and 40,000 words.


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 and its contested origin, that include the Bible, and Edgar Allan Poe.


Graphic novel

Graphic novels and comic books present stories told in a combination of artwork, dialogue, and text.


Electronic literature

Electronic literature is a literary genre consisting of digital works


Nonfiction

Common literary examples of nonfiction include, the
essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument, but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a Letter (message), letter, a term paper, paper, an article (publishing), article, a pamphlet, and a short ...

essay
; travel literature and nature writing;
biography A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or c ...

biography
, autobiography and
memoir A memoir (; , ) is any nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act o ...
; journalism; Letter (message), letters; Diary, journals; history, Philosophy and literature#Philosophical writing as literature, philosophy, economics; scientific writing, scientific, and technical writing, technical writings. Nonfiction can fall within the broad category of literature as "any collection of written work", but some works fall within the narrower definition "by virtue of the excellence of their writing, their originality and their general aesthetic and artistic merits".


Drama

Drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...

Drama
is literature intended for performance. The form is combined with music and dance in opera and musical theatre (see libretto). A Play (theatre), play is a written dramatic work by a playwright that is intended for performance in a theatre; it comprises chiefly dialogue between Fictional character, characters. A closet drama, by contrast, is written to be read rather than to be performed; the meaning of which can be realized fully on the page. Nearly all drama took verse form until comparatively recently. The earliest form of which there exists substantial knowledge is Greek theatre, Greek drama. This developed as a performance associated with religion, religious and civic festivals, typically enacting or developing upon well-known history, historical, or mythology, mythological themes, In the twentieth century Screenplay, scripts written for non-stage media have been added to this form, including radio drama, radio, television and film.


Law


Law and literature

The law and literature movement focuses on the interdisciplinary connection between law and literature.


Copyright

Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work, but not the idea itself.


United Kingdom

Literary works have been protected by copyright law from unauthorized reproduction since at least 1710. Literary works are defined by copyright law to mean "any work, other than a dramatic or musical work, which is written, spoken or sung, and accordingly includes (a) a table or compilation (other than a database), (b) a computer program, (c) preparatory design material for a computer program, and (d) a database." Literary works are all works of literature; that is all works expressed in print or writing (other than dramatic or musical works).


United States

The copyright law of the United States has a long and complicated history, dating back to colonial times. It was established as federal law with the Copyright Act of 1790. This act was updated many times, including a Copyright Act of 1976, major revision in 1976.


European Union

The copyright law of the European Union is the copyright law applicable within the European Union. Copyright law is largely harmonized in the Union, although country to country differences exist. The body of law was implemented in the EU through a number of Directive (European Union), directives, which the member states need to enact into their national law. The main copyright directives are the Copyright Term Directive, the Information Society Directive and the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Copyright in the Union is furthermore dependent on international conventions to which the European Union is a member (such as the TRIPS Agreement and conventions to which all Member States are parties (such as the Berne Convention)).


Copyright in communist countries


Copyright in Japan

Copyright in Japan, Japan was a party to the original Berne convention in 1899, so its copyright law is in sync with most international regulations. The convention protected copyrighted works for 50 years after the author's death (or 50 years after publication for unknown authors and corporations). However, in 2004 Japan extended the copyright term to 70 years for cinematographic works. At the end of 2018, as a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, the 70 year term was applied to all works. This new term is not applied retroactively; works that had entered the public domain between 1999 and 2018 by expiration would remain in the public domain.


Censorship

Is a means employed by states, religious organizations, educational institutions, etc, to control what can be portrayed, spoken, performed, or written. Generally such bodies attempt to ban works for sedition, political reasons, or because they deal with other controversial matters such as race, or obscenity, sex. A notorious example of censorship is James Joyce's novel Ulysses (novel), Ulysses, which has been described by Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov as a "divine work of art" and the greatest masterpiece of 20th century prose. It was Obscenity trial of Ulysses in The Little Review, banned in the United States from 1921 until 1933 on the grounds of obscenity. Nowadays it is a central literary text in English literature courses, throughout the world.


Awards

There are numerous Literary award, awards recognizing achievement and contribution in literature. Given the diversity of the field, awards are typically limited in scope, usually on: form,
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, ...

genre
, language, nationality and output (e.g. for first-time writers or debut novels). The Nobel Prize in Literature was one of the six Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, and is awarded to an author on the basis of their body of work, rather than to, or for, a particular work itself. Other literary prizes for which all nationalities are eligible include: the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Man Booker International Prize, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Pulitzer Prize, Hugo Award for Best Novel, Hugo Award, Guardian First Book Award and the Franz Kafka Prize.


See also


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* An overview of several hundred short stories. * * Brief summary of major periods in literary history of the Western tradition.


External links


Project Gutenberg Online Library

Internet Book List
similar to Internet Movie Database, IMDb but for books
Internet Archive Digital eBook Collection
{{Authority control Literature,