The exact definition of literature varies from one reader or critic to the next, but most agree that it is any writing with some degree of merit and language that serves as a gateway to the literary world. The word "literature" comes from the Latin word "literatura," which means "writing formed with letters." Whether someone writes fiction or nonfiction, or prose or poetry, it is possible to write literature. In modern times, a series of genres has arisen to take on the question of defining the field of study.Continue Reading
Literature is one of the oldest human inventions still in use. Ancient Sumeria and Egypt produced literature as early as 4000 B.C., both in the form of lyricism and written texts. However, it has an origin that is even older, and some of the earliest written works likely come from an oral tradition, making them far older.
The definition for "literature" has changed over time. In Western Europe, before the 1700s, literature referred to all writing and all books, but the Romantic period brought a more limited definition, applying it to the "imaginative nature" of literature. Contemporary conversations about a definition of literature are moving toward the older, more inclusive meaning.Learn more about Literature
The ancient Greek, or Hellenistic, world after Alexander the Great — comprising regions as diverse as the Middle East (Syria and Persia), North Africa (Egypt), Greece and Macedonia — was broadly unified by its language, art, literature, religion and philosophy. Cultural ties, particularly between ancient Macedonia and Asia, are believed to have been cultivated by Alexander as part of his strategy of "homonoia" — human unity or fusion — to "hellenize" the lands he conquered.Full Answer >
African literature can be divided into three distinct categories: precolonial, colonial and postcolonial. Precolonial literature often takes the form of oral narratives that are sometimes accompanied by music and center around the trickster figure. Colonial literature examines the horrors of slavery and the slave trade, revolting against colonialism and drawing inspiration from Africa's past. Postcolonial literature focuses on the clash between indigenous and colonial cultures, expressing hope for Africa's future.Full Answer >
The historical approach to literature uses the social implications, cultural events and intellectual levels that produced a work in an attempt to understand it. Often, this requires the critic to know the biography and education level of the author. The main goal of this approach is to comprehend how the original readers of the work understood and intended it.Full Answer >
According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippine literature was influenced during the American regime in two developments, including culture and education. The first was the introduction of a free type of public instruction that was for all children of school going age. The second was the utilization of the English language in all public schools.Full Answer >