prose

prose

[prohz]
prose [Lat. prosa oratio=straightforward, or direct, speech], meaningful and grammatical written or spoken language that does not utilize the metrical structure, word transposition, or rhyme characteristic of poetry or verse; it is, however, raised above the level of lifeless composition or commonplace conversation by the use of balance, rhythm, repetition, and antithesis. In literature, prose is the usual mode of expression in such forms as the novel, short story, essay, letter (epistle), history, biography, sermon, and oration. The earliest European prose extant is that of Herodotus (5th cent. B.C.).

Work in prose that has some of the technical or literary qualities of poetry (such as regular rhythm, definitely patterned structure, or emotional or imaginative heightening) but that is set on a page as prose. The form took its name from Charles Baudelaire's Little Poems in Prose (1869). Other writers of prose poems include, in the 19th century, Stéphane Mallarmé, Arthur Rimbaud, Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, and Rainer Maria Rilke, and in the 20th, Amy Lowell (in her “polyphonic prose”) and such contemporary poets as John Ashbery.

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contains five or more sentences in passages. Prose is writing that resembles everyday speech. The word "prose" is derived from the Latin prosa, which literally translates to "straightforward". Prose is an unpretentious form of writing; it is adopted for the discussion of facts and topical news. Prose is often articulated in free form writing style. Thus, it may be used for books, newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcast media, films, letters, history, philosophy, biography, linguistic geography, and many other forms of communication.

Prose generally lacks the formal structure of meter or rhyme that is often found in poetry. Although some works of prose may happen to contain traces of metrical structure or versification, a conscious blend of the two forms of literature is known as a prose poem. Similarly, poetry with less of the common rules and limitations of verse is known as free verse. Poetry is considered to be artificially developed ("The best words in the best order"), whereas prose is thought to be less constructed and more reflective of ordinary speech. Pierre de Ronsard, the French poet, said that his training as a poet had proved to him that prose and poetry were mortal enemies. In Molière's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain asks something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master says to him, "Sir, there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse". Jourdain replies, "By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that."

Styles

Prose varies considerably depending on the purpose of the writing. As prose is often considered to be representative of the patterns of normal speech , many rhetorical devices are used in prose to emphasize points and enliven the writing. Prose aims to be informative and accurate, such as history or journalism, usually striving to use the simplest language possible to express its points. Facts are often repeated and reiterated in various ways so that they are understood by a reader, but excessive use of this technique can make a serious piece of writing seem pedantic.

In fiction, prose can take on many forms. Skilled authors can alter how they use prose throughout a book to suggest different moods and ideas. A thriller often consists of short, "punchy" sentences made up of equally short words, suggesting very rapid actions to heighten the effect of a very fast-moving plot. Conversely, longer sentences can be used to slow down the action of a novel.

Also, it can be expressed in a combination of prose and poetry in a style called prosetry. A good example of this is in Elie Weisel's book Night.

Speech/Debate

The event 'Prose' in Speech/Debate is in which one person reads a selection from a published book, play, etc., and interprets the piece for the judging audience.

See also

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