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    Literature


    • Literature, in its broadest sense, is any single body of written works. More restrictively, it is writing considered as an art form, or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying 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 is fiction or non-fiction and whether it is poetry or prose; it can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short story or drama; and works are often categorized according to historical periods or their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre).

      The concept has changed meaning over time: nowadays it can broaden to have 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.

      There have been various attempts to define "literature". 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". In Western Europe prior to the eighteenth century, literature as a term indicated all books and writing. A more restricted sense of the term emerged during the Romantic period, in which it began to demarcate "imaginative" literature. Contemporary debates over what constitutes literature can be seen as returning to the older, more inclusive notion of what constitutes literature. Cultural studies, for instance, takes as its subject of analysis both popular and minority genres, in addition to canonical works.



      Lists
      Related topics
      Bonheim, Helmut (1982). The Narrative Modes: Techniques of the Short Story. Cambridge: Brewer.  An overview of several hundred short stories.
      Gillespie, Gerald (January 1967). "Novella, nouvelle, novella, short novel? — A review of terms". Neophilologus. 51 (1): 117–127. doi:10.1007/BF01511303.  (subscription required)
      Bonheim, Helmut (1982). The Narrative Modes: Techniques of the Short Story. Cambridge: Brewer.  An overview of several hundred short stories.
      Gillespie, Gerald (January 1967). "Novella, nouvelle, novella, short novel? — A review of terms". Neophilologus. 51 (1): 117–127. doi:10.1007/BF01511303.  (subscription required)
      Wheeler, L. Kip. "Periods of Literary History" (PDF). Carson-Newman University.  Brief summary of major periods in literary history of the Western tradition.
      Wheeler, L. Kip. "Periods of Literary History" (PDF). Carson-Newman University.  Brief summary of major periods in literary history of the Western tradition.
      • Novel: a long fictional prose narrative. It was the form's close relation to real life that differentiated it from the chivalric romance; in most European languages the equivalent term is roman, indicating the proximity of the forms. 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. 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: 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.Literary prizes and publishing houses often have their own arbitrary limits, 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". 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, and others unique to the form.
      • 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). Apart from its distinct size, various theorists have suggested that the short story has a characteristic subject matter or structure; these discussions often position the form in some relation to the novel.
      • Electronic literature is a literary genre consisting of works that originate in digital environments.
      • Films, videos and broadcast soap operas have carved out a niche which often parallels the functionality of prose fiction.
      • Graphic novels and comic books present stories told in a combination of sequential artwork, dialogue and text.
      • Abacci – Project Gutenberg texts matched with Amazon reviews
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