A Beginner's Guide to Literature

Introduction

Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially fiction, drama, and poetry. Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as biography, diaries, memoir, letters, and the essay. Within its broad definition, literature includes non-fictional books, articles or other printed information on a particular subject. Literature is classified according to whether it is poetry, prose or drama, and such works are categorised according to historical periods, or their adherence to certain aesthetic features, or genre.

EARLY STORYTELLING

Myth

Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

Prior to writing, oral, mythical histories were passed down from generation to generation, bringing about a bonding experience as the first human societies huddled around fires in caves. The world was much more dangerous than it is now, and elements of magic were entwined into accounts of how natural phenomena evolved. Ancient religions were built upon these myths, and each culture has its own variation of a world-building story. These myths put forth a society's norms and values, giving meaning to rituals, and upholding desirable behaviour. In Mesopotamia,

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Epics

Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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Key texts: Beowulf


Tragedy

Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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Key authors: M

Key texts: Oedipus Rex


English Tales

Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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Key texts: The Canterbury Tales


RENAISSANCE

Shakespeare

Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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Spenser and Milton

Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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NEOCLASSICAL

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Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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ROMANTIC

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Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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VICTORIAN

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Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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EDWARDIAN

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Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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GEORGIAN

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Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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MODERN

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Worldwide

- 3400 BCE

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Key authors: M

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