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AN INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE— Pawners Paper

AN INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE: ORIGIN, HISTORY, LITERATURE AS AN ART, GENRES, IMPORTANCE, ELEMENTS AND FATHERS OF LITERATURE— Pawners Paper

INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE: Learning About Literature In 2021

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Literature?

Literature, in general term refers to any literary or written work i.e it deals with writing things down. It is  a writing that possess literary merit.
 
Literature is life.  It is often defined as life because of it's influence and it's immense human creativity through the knowledge of literature. 

Etymologically, the term derives from Latin litaritura/litteratura which means “writing formed with letters,” although some definitions of literature in wider perspectives include spoken or sung texts(folktales etc.). However, not all writings can be referred to as literature  recorded materials, such as compilations of data or textbooks on different areas of discipline e.g Physics and Chemistry textbooks, are not considered literature.

Definitions of literature have varied over time.  In Western Europe prior to the eighteenth century, literature as a term indicated all books and writing. However,  A more restricted sense of the term emerged during the Romantic period, in which it began to demarcate “imaginative” literature.

According to Merribean Dictionary, Literature is,


Literature encompasses forms such as poetry, drama, prose, folklore, epic tale, personal narrative, history, biography, satire, philosophical dialogues, essays, legends and myths, among others.

Learning about literature also entails learning about the history and origin in literature and its effect in the modern literary society till 2021.

Contents
  • Origins And History Of Literature
  • The First Author Of Literature
  • Father Of African Literature
  • Father Of English Literature
  • Literature As An Art
  • Forms/Genres Of Literature
  • The Importance Of Literature To Students And The Society
  • Elements Of Literature
  • Founding Fathers Of Literature
  • Recommended Books
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ORIGINS / HISTORY OF LITERAURE

The history or origin of literature is the historical development of writings in prose or poetry and other literary genres that attempt to provide entertainment, enlightenment , or instruction to the reader, listener or audience, as well as the development of the literary techniques used in the communication of these pieces. 

 Sangam Literature , Sumerian Literature , Ancient Egyptian Literature, and Babylonian Literature:

Literature and writing, though connected, are not synonymous. The very first writings from ancient Sumer by any reasonable definition do not constitute literature—the same is true of some of the early Egyptian hieroglyphics or the thousands of logs from ancient Chinese regimes. Scholars have often argued on when written records actually constituted Literature in the history, many debates and argument have been proposed but their proposition still aren't  infalliable as the literature across the world didn't emerge or develop at the same even pace. 

The problems of creating a uniform global history of literature are compounded by the fact that many texts have been lost over the millennia, either deliberately, by accident, or by the total disappearance of the originating culture. Much has been written, for example, about the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in the 1st century BC, and the innumerable key texts which are believed to have been lost forever to the flames. The deliberate suppression of texts (and often their authors ) by organisations of either a spiritual or a temporal nature further shrouds the subject.
A stone tablet containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh

Certain primary texts, however, may be isolated which have a qualifying role as literature's first stirrings. Very early examples include Epic of Gilgamesh , in its Sumerian version predating 2000 BC, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead written down in the Papyrus of Ani in approximately 1250 BC but probably dates from about the 18th century BC. 

Ancient Egyptian literature was not included in early studies of the history of literature because the writings of Ancient Egypt were not translated into European languages until the 19th century when the Rosetta stone was deciphered.

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Many texts handed down by oral tradition over several centuries before they were fixed in written form are difficult or impossible to date. The core of the Rigveda may date to the mid 2nd millennium BC. The Pentateuch is traditionally dated to the 15th century BC, although modern scholarship estimates its oldest part to date to the 10th century BC at the earliest.

Homer 's Iliad and Odyssey date to the 8th century BC and mark the beginning of Classical Antiquity . ahmanas), as well as the Hebrew Tanakh and the mystical collection of poems attributed  also stand in an oral tradition that stretches back to the late Bronze Age.
Indian śruti texts post-dating the Rigveda (such as the Yajurveda , the Atharvaveda and the Brahmanas), as well as the Hebrew Tanakh and the mystical collection of poems attributed to Lao Tze, the Tao te Ching , date to the Iron Age, but their dating is difficult and controversial. The great Hindu epics were also transmitted orally, likely predating the Maurya period.

CHINESE ANCIENT LITERATURE( Chinese classics and Classical Chinese poetry)

The Classic of Poetry (or Shijing ) is the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry, comprisingahmanas), as well as the Hebrew Tanakh and the mystical collection of poems attributed 5 works by anonymous authors dating from the 11th to 7th centuries BC. The Chu Ci anthology (or Songs of Chu ) is a volume of poems attributed to or considered to be inspired by Qu Yuan 's verse writing. Qu Yuan is the first author of verse in China to have his name associated to his work and is also regarded as one of the most prominent figures of Romanticism in Chinese classical literature.

The first great author on military tactics and strategy was Sun Tzu , whose The Art of War remains on the shelves of many modern military officers (and its advice has been applied to the corporate world as well). Philosophy developed far differently in China than in Greece—rather than presenting extended dialogues, the Analects of Confucius and Lao Zi 's Tao Te Ching presented sayings and proverbs more directly and didactically. The Zhuangzi is composed of a large collection of creative anecdotes, allegories, parables, and fables; a masterpiece of both philosophical and literary skill, it has significantly influenced writers and poets for more than 2000 years from the Han dynasty to the present.

Among the earliest Chinese works of narrative history, Zuo Zhuan is a gem of classical Chinese prose. This work and the Shiji or Records of the Grand Historian , were regarded as the ultimate models by many generations of prose stylists in ancient China.

HEBREW LITERATURE

The books that constitute the Hebrew Bible developed over roughly a millennium. The oldest texts seem to come from the eleventh or tenth centuries BCE, whilst most of the other texts are somewhat later. They are edited works, being collections of various sources intricately and carefully woven together.

The Old Testament was compiled and edited by various men  over a period of centuries, with many scholars concluding that the Hebrew canon was solidified by about the 3rd century BC.  The works have been subject to various literary evaluations (both secular and religious). Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “In the Jewish Old Testament, there are men, things and speeches in so grand a style that Greek and Indian literature have nothing to compare to it. One stands with awe and reverence before these tremendous remnants of what man once was... The taste for the Old Testament is a touchstone of 'greatness' and 'smallness'.” 


ANCIENT GREEK LITERATURE

Ancient Greek society placed considerable emphasis upon literature. Many authors consider the western literary tradition to have begun with the epic poems " The Iliad and The Odyssey" , which remain giants in the literary canon for their skillful and vivid depictions of war and peace, honor and disgrace, love and hatred. Notable among later Greek poets was Sappho, who defined, in many ways, lyric poetry as a genre.

A playwright named Aeschylus changed Western literature forever when he introduced the ideas of dialogue and interacting characters to playwriting. In doing so, he essentially invented "drama": his Oresteia trilogy of plays is seen as his crowning achievement. Other refiners of playwriting were Sophocles and Euripides . Sophocles is credited with skillfully developing irony as a literary technique, most famously in his play Oedipus Rex . Euripedes, conversely, used plays to challenge societal norms and mores—a hallmark of much of Western literature for the next 2,300 years and beyond—and his works such as "Medea , The Bacchae and The Trojan Women" are still notable for their ability to challenge our perceptions of propriety, gender, and war. Aristophanes , a comic playwright, defines and shapes the idea of comedy almost as Aeschylus had shaped tragedy as an art form—Aristophanes' most famous plays include the Lysistrata and The Frogs.

Philosophy entered literature in the dialogues of Plato , who converted the give and take of Socratic questioning into written form. Aristotle, Plato's student, wrote dozens of works on many scientific disciplines, but his greatest contribution to literature was likely his Poetics , which lays out his understanding of drama, and thereby establishes the first criteria for literary criticism.

The New Testament is an unusual collection of texts-- John 's Book of Revelation , though not the first of its kind, essentially defines apocalypse as a literary genre.

LATIN LITERATURE

In many respects, the writers of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire chose to avoid innovation in favor of imitating the great Greek authors. Virgil 's Aeneid , in many ways, emulated Homer's Iliad ; Plautus , a comic playwright, followed in the footsteps of Aristophanes;
Tacitus ' Annals and Germania follow essentially the same historical approaches that Thucydides devised (the Christian historian Eusebius does also, although far more influenced by his religion than either Tacitus or Thucydides had been by Greek and Roman polytheism); Ovid and his
Metamorphoses explore the same Greek myths again in new ways. It can be argued, and has been, that the Roman authors, far from being mindless copycats , improved on the genres already established by their Greek predecessors. For example, Ovid's Metamorphoses creates a form which is a clear predecessor of the stream of consciousness genre. What is undeniable is that the Romans, in comparison with the Greeks, innovate relatively few literary styles of their own.

Satire is one of the few Roman additions to literature— Horace was the first to use satire extensively as a tool for argument, and Juvenal made it into a weapon.

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Augustine of Hippo and his The City of God do for religious literature essentially what Plato had done for philosophy, but Augustine's approach was far less conversational and more didactive. His Confessions is perhaps the first true autobiography , and it gave rise to the genre of confessional literature which is now more popular than ever.


ANCIENT INDIAN LITERATURE : Tamil literature , Indian literature , Kannada literature , and Sanskrit literature

Knowledge traditions in India handed down philosophical gleanings and theological concepts through the two traditions of Shruti and Smriti , meaning that which is learnt and that which is experienced , which included the Vedas . It is generally believed that the Puranas are the earliest philosophical writings in Indian history, although linguistic works on Sanskrit existed earlier than 1000 BC. Puranic works such as the Indian epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata , have influenced countless other works, including Balinese Kecak and other performances such as shadow puppetry ( wayang ), and many European works. Pali literature has an important position in the rise of Buddhism . Classical Sanskrit literature flowers in the Maurya and Gupta periods , roughly spanning the 2nd century BC to the 8th century AD.

Middle Ages: Medieval literature

—Europe

After the fall of Rome (in roughly 476), many of the literary approaches and styles invented by the Greeks and Romans fell out of favor in Europe. In the millennium or so that intervened between Rome's fall and the Florentine Renaissance, medieval literature focused more and more on faith and faith-related matters, in part because the works written by the Greeks had not been preserved in Europe, and therefore there were few models of classical literature to learn from and move beyond. What little there was became changed and distorted, with new forms beginning to develop from the distortions. Some of these distorted beginnings of new styles can be seen in the literature generally described as Matter of Rome, Matter of France and Matter of Britain .

Although much had been lost to the ravages of time (and to catastrophe, as in the burning of the Library of Alexandria), many Greek works remained extant: they were preserved and copied carefully by Muslim scribes.

In Europe, hagiographies , or "lives of the saints ", are frequent among early medieval texts. The writings of Bede— Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum—and others continue the faith-based historical tradition begun by Eusebius in the early 4th century. Playwriting essentially ceased, except for the mystery plays and the passion plays that focused heavily on conveying Christian belief to the common people. Around 400 AD the Prudenti Psychomachia began the tradition of allegorical tales. Poetry flourished, however, in the hands of the troubadours , whose courtly romances and chanson de geste amused and entertained the upper classes who were their patrons. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote works which he claimed were histories of Britain. These were highly fanciful and included stories of Merlin the magician and King Arthur . Epic poetry continued to develop with the addition of the mythologies of Northern Europe:
Beowulf and the Norse sagas have much in common with Homer and Virgil's approaches to war and honor, while poems such as Dante's
Divine Comedy and Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales take much different stylistic directions.


In November 1095, Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont. The crusades would affect everything in Europe and the Middle East for many years to come and literature would, along with everything else, be transformed by the wars between these two cultures. For instance the image of the knight would take on a different significance. Also the Islamic emphasis on scientific investigation and the preservation of the Greek philosophical writings would eventually affect European literature.

Between Augustine and The Bible , religious authors had numerous aspects of Christianity that needed further explication and interpretation. Thomas Aquinas , more than any other single person, was able to turn theology into a kind of science, in part because he was heavily influenced by Aristotle, whose works were returning to Europe in the 13th century.


—Islamic literature

"Ali Baba" by Maxfield Parrish .
The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights ( Arabian Nights), which was a compilation of many earlier folk tales told by the Persian Queen Scheherazade. The epic took form in the 10th century and reached its final form by the 14th century; the number and type of tales have varied from one manuscript to another.  All Arabian fantasy tales were often called "Arabian Nights" when translated into English , regardless of whether they appeared in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, in any version, and a number of tales are known in Europe as "Arabian Nights" despite existing in no Arabic manuscript.

This epic has been influential in the West since it was translated in the 18th century, first by Antoine Galland . Many imitations were written, especially in France. [7] Various characters from this epic have themselves become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin , Sinbad and Ali Baba. However, no medieval Arabic source has been traced for Aladdin , which was incorporated into The Book of One Thousand and One Nights by its French translator, Antoine Galland , who heard it from an Arab Syrian Christian storyteller from Aleppo . The popularity of the work may in part be due to greater popular knowledge of history and geography since it was written. This meant that the plausibility of great marvels had to be set at a greater distance of time ("long ago") and place ("far away"). This is a process that continues, and finally culminates in fantasy fiction having little connection, if any, to actual times and places. A number of elements from Arabian mythology and Persian mythology are now common in modern fantasy, such as genies ,
bahamuts , magic carpets , magic lamps, etc.  When L. Frank Baum proposed writing a modern fairy tale that banished stereotypical elements he felt the genie, dwarf and fairy were stereotypes to avoid. 

Arabic manuscript of the One Thousand and One Nights  .A number of stories within the One Thousand and One Nights ( Arabian Nights) also feature science fiction elements. One example is "The Adventures of Bulukiya", where the protagonist Bulukiya's quest for the herb of immortality leads him to explore the seas, journey to the Garden of Eden and to Jahannam, and travel across the cosmos to different worlds much larger than his own world, anticipating elements of galactic science fiction; along the way, he encounters societies of jinns , mermaids, talking serpents , talking trees , and other forms of life. In another Arabian Nights tale, the protagonist Abdullah the Fisherman gains the ability to breathe underwater and discovers an underwater submarine society that is portrayed as an inverted reflection of society on land, in that the underwater society follows a form of primitive communism where concepts like money and clothing do not exist. Other Arabian Nights tales deal with lost ancient technologies, advanced ancient civilizations that went astray, and catastrophes which overwhelmed them.  "The City of Brass" features a group of travellers on an archaeological expedition across the Sahara to find an ancient lost city and attempt to recover a brass vessel that Solomon once used to trap a jinn , and, along the way, encounter a mummified queen, petrified inhabitants, lifelike humanoid robots and automata , seductive marionettes dancing without strings,  and a brass horseman robot who directs the party towards the ancient city. "The Ebony Horse" features a robot in the form of a flying mechanical horse controlled using keys that could fly into outer space and towards the Sun, while the "Third Qalandar's Tale" also features a robot in the form of an uncanny boatman . "The City of Brass" and "The Ebony Horse" can be considered early examples of proto-science fiction. 


Dante Alighieri 's Divine Comedy , considered the greatest epic of Italian literature, derived many features of and episodes about the hereafter directly or indirectly from Arabic works on Islamic eschatology : the Hadith and the Kitab al-Miraj (translated into Latin in 1264 or shortly before  as Liber Scale Machometi , "The Book of Muhammad's Ladder") concerning Muhammad's ascension to Heaven, and the spiritual writings of Ibn Arabi . The Moors also had a noticeable influence on the works of George Peele and William Shakespeare . Some of their works featured Moorish characters, such as Peele's The Battle of Alcazar and Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice , Titus Andronicus and Othello , which featured a Moorish Othello as its title character. These works are said to have been inspired by several Moorish delegations from Morocco to Elizabethan England at the beginning of the 17th century. 

—Arabic literature :Arabic literature and Literature of Morocco

Ibn Tufail (Abubacer) and Ibn al-Nafis (1213–1288) were pioneers of the philosophical novel. Ibn Tufail wrote the first fictional Arabic novel
Hayy ibn Yaqdhan ( Philosophus Autodidactus ) as a response to al-Ghazali 's The Incoherence of the Philosophers, and then Ibn al-Nafis also wrote a novel Theologus Autodidactus as a response to Ibn Tufail's Philosophus Autodidactus . Both of these narratives had protagonists (Hayy in Philosophus Autodidactus and Kamil in Theologus Autodidactus ) who were autodidactic feral children living in seclusion on a desert island , both being the earliest examples of a desert island story. However, while Hayy lives alone with animals on the desert island for the rest of the story in Philosophus Autodidactus , the story of Kamil extends beyond the desert island setting in Theologus Autodidactus , developing into the earliest known coming of age plot and eventually becoming the first example of a science fiction novel. 

Theologus Autodidactus deals with various science fiction elements such as spontaneous generation , futurology, the end of the world and doomsday , resurrection, and the afterlife. Rather than giving supernatural or mythological explanations for these events, Ibn al-Nafis attempted to explain these plot elements using the scientific knowledge of biology , astronomy, cosmology and geology known in his time. His main purpose behind this science fiction work was to explain Islamic religious teachings in terms of science and philosophy through the use of fiction. 

A Latin translation of Ibn Tufail's work, Philosophus Autodidactus , first appeared in 1671, prepared by Edward Pococke the Younger, followed by an English translation by Simon Ockley in 1708, as well as German and Dutch translations. These translations later inspired Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe , a candidate for the title of " first novel in English ". Philosophus Autodidactus also inspired Robert Boyle to write his own philosophical novel set on an island, The Aspiring Naturalist . The story also anticipated Rousseau's Emile: or, On Education in some ways, and is also similar to Mowgli 's story in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as well as Tarzan 's story, in that a baby is abandoned but taken care of and fed by a mother wolf. 
Among other innovations in Arabic literature was Ibn Khaldun's perspective on chronicling past events—by fully rejecting supernatural explanations, Khaldun essentially invented the scientific or sociological approach to history

PERSIAN LITERATURE: Persian literature and Pahlavi literature

Ferdowsi 's Shahnameh , the national epic of Iran, is a mythical and heroic retelling of Persian history . It is the longest epic poem ever written.
From Persian culture the book which would, eventually, become the most famous in the west is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam . The Rubáiyát is a collection of poems by the Persian mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyám (1048–1122). "Rubaiyat" means "quatrains": verses of four lines.

Amir Arsalan was also a popular mythical Persian story, which has influenced some modern works of fantasy fiction, such as The Heroic Legend of Arslan.
Examples of early Persian proto- science fiction include Al-Farabi 's Opinions of the residents of a splendid city about a utopian society, and elements such as the flying carpet . 

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—OTTOMAN LITERATURE

The two primary streams of Ottoman written literature are poetry and prose . Of the two, divan poetry was by far the dominant stream. Until the 19th century, Ottoman prose did not contain any examples of fiction ; that is, there were no counterparts to, for instance, the European romance , short story, or novel (though analogous genres did, to some extent, exist in both the Turkish folk tradition and in divan poetry). Until the 19th century, Ottoman prose never managed to develop to the extent that contemporary divan poetry did. A large part of the reason for this was that much prose was expected to adhere to the rules of sec' ( ﺳﺠﻊ, also transliterated as seci ), or rhymed prose , a type of writing descended from the Arabic saj' and which prescribed that between each adjective and noun in a sentence, there must be a rhyme.

—JEWISH LITERATURE

Medieval Jewish fiction often drew on ancient Jewish legends , and was written in a variety of languages including Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic .
Liturgical Jewish poetry in Hebrew flourished in Palestine in the seventh and eighth centuries with the writings of Yose ben Yose, Yanai, andEleazar Kalir .

Later Jewish poets in Spain, Provencal, and Italy wrote both religious and secular poems in Hebrew; particularly prominent poets were the Spanish Jewish poets Solomon ibn Gabirol and Yehuda Halevi . In addition to poetry and fiction, medieval Jewish literature also includes philosophical literature, mystical (Kabbalistic) literature, ethical (musar) literature , legal (halakhic) literature, and commentaries on the Bible .

—INDIAN LITERATURE

Early Medieval ( Gupta period ) literature in India sees the flowering of Sanskrit drama, classical Sanskrit poetry and the compilation of the Puranas. Sanskrit declines in the early 2nd millennium, late works such as the Kathasaritsagara dating to the 11th century, to the benefit of literature composed in Middle Indic vernaculars such as Old Bengali , Old Hindi .

—CHINESE LITERATURE

Li Po Chanting a Poem, by Liang K'ai (13th century)
Lyric poetry advanced far more in China than in Europe prior to 1000, as multiple new forms developed in the Han , Tang , and Song dynasties: perhaps the greatest poets of this era in Chinese literature were Li Bai and Du Fu .
Printing began in Tang Dynasty China. A copy of the Diamond Sutra , a key Buddhist text, found sealed in a cave in China in the early 20th century, is the oldest known dated printed book, with a printed date of 868. The method used was block printing .

The scientist, statesman, and general Shen Kuo (1031–1095 AD) was the author of the Dream Pool Essays (1088), a large book of scientific literature that included the oldest description of the magnetized compass . During the Song Dynasty, there was also the enormous historical work of the Zizhi Tongjian, compiled into 294 volumes of 3 million written Chinese characters by the year 1084 AD.

The true vernacular novel was developed in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). [ citation needed] Some commentators feel that China originated the novel form with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (in the 14th century), although others feel that this epic is distinct from the novel in key ways. [ citation needed] Fictional novels published during the Ming period include the Water Margin and the Journey to the West, which represent two of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

—JAPAN LITERATURE

Classical Japanese literature generally refers to literature produced during the Heian Period , what some would consider a golden era of art and literature. The Tale of Genji (early 11th century) by Murasaki Shikibu is considered the pre-eminent masterpiece of Heian fiction and an early example of a work of fiction in the form of a novel. It is sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel, the first romance novel, or the first novel to still be considered a classic.

Other important works of this period include the:
Kokin Wakashū (905), a waka-poetry anthology, and The Pillow Book (990s), the latter written by Murasaki Shikibu's contemporary and rival, Sei Shōnagon , as an essay about the life, loves, and pastimes of nobles in the Emperor's court. The
iroha poem, now one of two standard orderings for the Japanese syllabary , was also written during the early part of this period.

The 10th-century Japanese narrative, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter , can be considered an early example of proto- science fiction . The protagonist of the story, Kaguya- hime, is a princess from the Moon who is sent to Earth for safety during a celestial war, and is found and raised by a bamboo cutter in Japan. She is later taken back to the Moon by her real extraterrestrial family. A manuscript illustration depicts a disc-shaped flying object similar to a flying saucer . 

In this time the imperial court patronized the poets, most of whom were courtiers or ladies-in-waiting. Editing anthologies of poetry was a national pastime. Reflecting the aristocratic atmosphere, the poetry was elegant and sophisticated and expressed emotions in a rhetorical style.

RENAISSANCE PERIOD(15TH & 16TH CENTURY)

Had nothing occurred to change literature in the 15th century but the Renaissance, the break with medieval approaches would have been clear enough. The 15th century, however, also brought Johann Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press , an innovation (for Europe, at least) that would change literature forever. Texts were no longer precious and expensive to produce—they could be cheaply and rapidly put into the marketplace. Literacy went from the prized possession of the select few to a much broader section of the population (though by no means universal). As a result, much about literature in Europe was radically altered in the two centuries following Gutenberg's unveiling of the printing press in 1455.

William Caxton was the first English printer and published English language texts including Le Morte d'Arthur (a collection of oral tales of the Arthurian Knights which is a forerunner of the novel) and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales . These are an indication of future directions in literature. With the arrival of the printing press a process begins in which folk yarns and legends are collected within a frame story and then mass published.

In the Renaissance, the focus on learning for learning's sake causes an outpouring of literature. Petrarch popularized the sonnet as a poetic form; Giovanni Boccaccio 's Decameron made romance acceptable in prose as well as poetry; François Rabelais rejuvenates satire with
Gargantua and Pantagruel ; Michel de Montaigne single-handedly invented the essay and used it to catalog his life and ideas. Perhaps the most controversial and important work of the time period was a treatise printed in Nuremberg, entitled De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium : in it, the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus removed the Earth from its privileged position in the universe, which had far-reaching effects, not only in science, but in literature and its approach to humanity, hierarchy, and truth.


EARLY MODERN LITERATURE (16TH &17TH CENTURY)

A new spirit of science and investigation in Europe was part of a general upheaval in human understanding which began with the European discovery of the New World in 1492 and continues through the subsequent centuries, even up to the present day.

The form of writing now commonplace across the world—the novel —originated from the early modern period and grew in popularity in the next century. Before the modern novel became established as a form there first had to be a transitional stage when "novelty" began to appear in the style of the epic poem.
Plays for entertainment (as opposed to religious enlightenment) returned to Europe's stages in the early modern period. William Shakespeare is the most notable of the early modern playwrights, but numerous others made important contributions, including Molière , Pierre Corneille , Jean Racine , Pedro Calderón de la Barca , Lope de Vega, Christopher Marlowe , and Ben Jonson.

. From the 16th to the 18th century, Commedia dell'arte performers improvised in the streets of Italy and France. Some Commedia dell'arte plays were written down. Both the written plays and the improvisation were influential upon literature of the time, particularly upon the work of Molière. Shakespeare drew upon the arts of jesters and strolling players in creating new style comedies. All the parts, even the female ones, were played by men ( en travesti ) but that would change, first in France and then in England too, by the end of the 17th century.

The epic Elizabethan poem The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser was published, in its first part, in 1590 and then in completed form in 1597. The Fairie Queen marks the transitional period in which "novelty" begins to enter into the narrative in the sense of overturning and playing with the flow of events. Theatrical forms known in Spenser's time such as the Masque and the Mummers' Play are incorporated into the poem in ways which twist tradition and turn it to political propaganda in the service of Queen Elizabeth I .

The earliest work considered an opera in the sense the work is usually understood dates from around 1597. It is Dafne, (now lost) written by Jacopo Peri for an elite circle of literate
Florentine humanists who gathered as the " Camerata ".

17th century is considered as the greatest era of Spanish and French literature where it is called Siglo de Oro and Grand Siècle respectively. The most famous authors beside playwrights include Jean de La Fontaine and Charles Perrault known primarily for their fables.

Miguel de Cervantes 's Don Quixote has been called "the first novel" by many literary scholars (or the first of the modern European novels). It was published in two parts. The first part was published in 1605 and the second in 1615. It might be viewed as a parody of Le Morte d'Arthur (and other examples of the chivalric romance ), in which case the novel form would be the direct result of poking fun at a collection of heroic folk legends. This is fully in keeping with the spirit of the age of enlightenment which began from about this time and delighted in giving a satirical twist to the stories and ideas of the past. It's worth noting that this trend toward satirising previous writings was only made possible by the printing press . Without the invention of mass-produced copies of a book it would not be possible to assume the reader will have seen the earlier work and will thus understand the references within the text.

The new style in English poetry during the 17th century was that of the metaphysical movement. The metaphysical poets were John Donne, George Herbert , Andrew Marvell and others. Metaphysical poetry is characterised by a spirit of intellectual investigation of the spiritual, rather than the mystical reverence of many earlier English poems. The metaphysical poets were clearly trying to understand the world around them and the spirit behind it, instead of accepting dogma on the basis of faith.

In the middle of the century the king of England was overthrown and a republic declared . In the new regime (which lasted from 1649 to 1653) the arts suffered. In England and the rest of the British Isles Oliver Cromwell 's rule temporarily banned all theatre, festivals , jesters, mummers plays and frivolities. The ban was lifted when the monarchy was restored with Charles II . The Drury Lane theatre was favorite of King Charles.
In contrast to the metaphysical poets was John Milton 's Paradise Lost, an epic religious poem in blank verse. Milton had been Oliver Cromwell's chief propagandist and suffered when the Restoration came. Paradise Lost is one of the highest developments of the epic form in poetry immediately preceding the era of the modern prose novel.

An allegorical novel, The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come was published by John Bunyan in 1678.
Other early novelists include Daniel Defoe (born 1660) and Jonathan Swift (born 1667).

MODERN PERIOD
 (18TH CENTURY)

French literature of the 18th century
This is the Age of Enlightenment and its most important authors are Voltaire , Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and Adam Smith . The second half of the century sees the beginnings of Romanticism with Goethe .

19TH CENTURY

In Britain, the 19th century is dominated by the Victorian era , characterized by Romanticism , with Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth, Lord Byron or Samuel Taylor Coleridge and genres such as the gothic novel.
Charles Dickens , perhaps the most famous novelist in the history of English literature, was active during this time and contributed to the novel's emergence as the leading literary genre of Victorian England.

In Germany, the Sturm und Drang period of the late 18th century merges into a Classicist and Romantic period, epitomized by the long era of Goethe 's activity, covering the first third of the century. The conservative Biedermeier style conflicts with the radical Vormärz in the turbulent period separating the end of the Napoleonic wars from the Revolutions of 1848.
In Denmark, the early 19th century Golden Age produced prolific literary authors such as Søren Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen .

In the later 19th century, Romanticism is countered by Realism and Naturalism . The late 19th century, known as the Belle Époque, with its Fin de siècle retrospectively appeared as a "golden age" of European culture, cut short by the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

20TH CENTURY

The main periods of 20th century literature are captured in the bipartite division, Modernist literature and Postmodern literature , flowering from roughly 1900 to 1940 and 1945 to 1980 respectively, divided, as a rule of thumb, by World War II .

Popular literature develops its own genres such as fantasy and science fiction . Ignored by mainstream literary criticism, these genres develop their own establishments and critical awards, such as the Nebula Award (since 1965), the British Fantasy Award (since 1971) or the Mythopoeic Awards (since 1971).


THE FIRST AUTHOR OF LITERATURE

The first author of literature in the world, known by name, was the high-priestess of Ur, Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) who wrote hymns in praise of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Much of the early literature from Mesopotamia concerns the activities of the gods but, in time, humans came to be featured as the main characters in such poems as Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta and Lugalbanda and Mount Hurrum (c.2600-2000 BCE). 

FATHER OF AFRICAN LITERATURE

Chinua Achebe







FATHER OF ENGLISH LITERATURE


Geoffrey Chaucer






LITERATURE AS AN ART

(Encyclopaedia Britannica article)

Literature is a form of human expression. But not everything expressed in words — even when organized and written down — is counted as literature. Those writings that are primarily informative — technical, scholarly, journalistic — would be excluded from the rank of literature by most, though not all, critics. Certain forms of writing, however, are universally regarded as belonging to literature as an art. Individual attempts within these forms are said to succeed if they possess something called artistic merit and to fail if they do not. The nature of artistic merit is less easy to define than to recognize. The writer need not even pursue it to attain it. On the contrary, a scientific exposition might be of great literary value and a pedestrian poem of none at all.


FORMS / GENRES OF LITERATURE

Critics have invented a variety of systems for treating literature as a collection of genres. Often these genres are artificial, invented after the fact with the aim of making literature less sprawling, more tidy.

In literature, there are five genres and they include poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama and prose


POETRY

Poetry is a form of literary art that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meanings.. Poetry has traditionally been distinguished from prose by its being set in verse; metre and other forms. prose is cast in sentences, poetry in lines; the syntax of prose is dictated by meaning, whereas that of poetry is held across metre or the visual aspects of the poem. Poetry is written in lines and stanzas; while some poetries rhyme, others don't . 

 In this style of writing, words are arranged in a metrical pattern and often (though not always) in rhymed verse. 

Poetry is often considered as the most simplest and most brief way of codifying one's feeling in short lines and stanzas of words and presenting it to the world to read. Amongst the world most notable poets are William Shakespeare, William Morris and others.

Basic things to know about poetry;

-Poetry consist of lines and stanzas

-It makes most use of the  literary terms compared to the other genres of literature

-A poem may be free verse or blank verse. That is, Free verse: a poem that does not confirm to regular metre as the length of its lines are irregular and may also make use of rhyme

However, Blank verse is a poem that uses a regular meter in it's unrhymed lines 

-Diction refers to the choice of words used by the writer in conveying his words

-Both female and male poem writers are called POETS


TYPES OF POETRY

There are different types of Poetry but for the sake of this study we'll be discussing only five.

Elergy/ Dirge : A Dirge or elergy is a poem or song lamenting the death of someone. The tone of the poems are always sorrowful and sad. Example of a Dirge is The Willow Song in Othello

Lyrics : Lyrics is a short poem whereby a speaker expresses his thoughts and feelings and it's often marked by emotion, melody and imaginations. Lyrics poems are often written by most poets as an exquisite form of expression.

Ode : An ode is a written or spoken poem in the form of a written address to someone or something. For instance, a poem personifying the moon by engaging in a discussion with it

Ballad: ballad is a form of poetry that is meant to be sung as it's often expressed with spoken words. However, ballad is now classified to mean a narrative poem in four lines stanza with varying degrees of rhyme and repetition

Epic: Epic is a long narrative poetry which celebrate a cultural, historical experiences and the hero who demonstrate the value of his society. Epic is a form of appraisal eulogizing a a culture or hero. It's often seen in African poetry.

PROSE

Prose is a form of language that possesses ordinary syntax and natural speech rather than rhythmic structure; in which regard, along with its measurement in sentences rather than lines, it differs from poetry.

Prose are written in paragraphs and chapters
Under prose, based on the length of the stories they are often characterized as novel, short story and novella

Novel: Novel is a long narrative form of prose which constitute the development of different characters in the story

Short story:  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. However, short stories are shorter in size compared to Novels

Novella: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.”

THE BASIC TYPES OF PROSE

- Picaresque prose
-Epistolary prose
-Sociological prose
-Historical prose
-Political prose
-Gothic prose


DRAMA

Drama is a genre of literature intended for stage performance. An example of drama is "Tempest" by William Shakespeare. Drama is also called PLAY

Dramas are written in Act and Scenes.
—Act is a major division of drama
—Scene is a minor division of drama


FICTION

 One of the most popular genres of literature in the 21st century is, fiction. It features imaginary characters and events. 

However, This genre of literature is often broken up into five subgenres in which are: fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, mystery, and science fiction. 

Fantasy - In fantasy, the characters or settings could not exist in the world as we know it because they consist of magical characters and event . A perfect example of fantasy is Harry Potter.

Historical fiction- Historical fiction features made-up stories that accurately portray life during a particular period in history. 

Contemporary fiction- contemporary fictions are stories that take place in the present day and the characters encounter modern day difficulties and issues. 

 Mystery- In these suspense-filled stories, characters use various clues to solve crimes or uncover a culprit. 

Science fiction-  In these types of stories, authors and readers explore new and exciting realities made possible by imagined technologies or social changes

Nonetheless, there are more than just five types of fiction, ranging from romance to graphic novels and others.

NON FICTION

Unlike fiction, nonfiction tells the story of real people and events. Examples include biographies, autobiographies, or memoirs.


THE IMPORTANCE OF LITERATURE TO STUDENTS AND THE SOCIETY

The importance of LITERATURE to the society and the students cannot be overemphasized or far-fetched as it's deeply enriched in both. Some of the importance are:

—Literature Affords Meaningful Context to a Curriculum
While reading about facts in a textbook is a useful learning method, studies have shown that more information is retained when facts are conveyed through stories. When high schools use literature-based curriculums, the students are able to put the historical facts, figures, and events from their textbooks into context. Descriptive language, memorable characters, and a comprehensive and detailed narrative will draw them in.

—Literature Encourages Interaction
As students become more connected to and invested in the stories surrounding the people and events they’re learning about, they’ll also become more excited about discussing what they are learning with others. This encourages meaningful interactions between students and teachers, and amongst the students themselves.

—Literature brings about an avenue for entertainment
Through the creative works of different authors, a conducive environment has been produced through it in order to create vivid imagination in the minds of their readers. Through literature, many stories have been retold and recreated. Thus, it can be said that it preserves history through the method of entertainment.

—Literature preserves the society and the members therein

—Literature helps to broaden the minds of the students and the individuals in the society

—Literature creates a space for learning and intensive education

.—Literature Encourages Deep Thought and Reasoning


ELEMENTS OF LITERATURE .

A literary element , or narrative element of literature is a constituent of all works of narrative fiction —a necessary feature of verbal storytelling that can be found in any written or spoken narrative. This distinguishes them from literary techniques, or non-universal features of literature that accompany the construction of a particular work rather than forming the essential characteristics of all narrative. Examples of elements of literature are:

Allegory —The characters are representative of some larger humanistic trait and attempt to convey some larger lesson or meaning in life.  It's a fictitious narrative in which the person, object, action or events presented have symbolic meanings

Allusion —A reference to something in history, culture or literature (especially historical). Examples of an allusion are biblical allusion and historical allusion.

Antagonist — The antagonist is the main enemy of the protagonist in a literary work or story.

Connotation —Implied meaning of the word is the associated meaning that comes from its use in various social contexts; will change over time and vary from location to location.

Climax— Climax is the arrangements of events in which the most impressive events is put last. It's mostly close to the end of the story. The point in the story where the conflict is at its peak.

Diction —The author's choice of words .

Exposition — An expositon  is the background information of a story.

Flashback— It's the sudden recall of an event that happened in the past in a story to give more information to what's happening in the present

Prologue— an introductory statement before the commencement of story.


Epilogue— a statement made after the ending of a story.

Foreshadowing —Use of clues to suggest something that is going to happen in the future

Imagery _ The ability or the author's attempt to create a mental picture in the mind of the reader.

Irony — It's the opposite of what one intends to say. A twist of fate in which the results of action are not the expected results.

Protagonist —The character the story revolves around. He or she is the main hero in the story

Resolution—The conclusion of the story.

Metaphor —A comparison of two generally unlike things meant to illuminate truth.

Motif —A recurring image or idea.

Mood —The feeling a reader gets from a story.

Plot— is the sequential arrangements of events in a story.

Point of View —Refers to whether that story is told by a character or an outside observer.

Characterization —The creation and development of the people in a story.

Conflict —The struggle between two or more characters in a story.

Setting— refers to the background of story i.e where and when the story takes place.

Structure —The way that the writer arranges the plot of a story.

Suspense —The tension that the author uses to create a feeling of discomfort about the unknown. The purpose of suspense is to preserve the keen interest of the readers.

Symbolism —A person, place, event or object that has a deeper meaning that its literal meaning.

Theme —The central idea or lesson about life that an author conveys through his story.

Tone —The author's voice or attitude about what he or she writes


LIST OF FATHERS AND FOUNDERS OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

[From Brittiana blog]

1. FATHER OF ENGLISH POETRY –CHAUCER
2. FATHER OF ENGLISH PROSE – KING ALFRED
3. FATHER OF ENGLISH NOVEL – HENRY FIELDING
4. FATHER OF ENGLISH MODERN PROSE – BACON
5. FATHER OF MODERN LINGUISTICS – BLOOMSFIELD
6. FATHER OF ENGLISH ESSAYS – BACON
7. FATHER OF ESSAYS – MONTAIGNE
8. FATHER OF AMERICAN TRANSCENDENTALISM – EMERSON
9. FATHER OF HISTORICAL NOVEL – SIR WALTER SCOTT
10. FATHER OF REVENGE TRAGEDY – THOMAS KYD
11. FATHER OF SECOND ENGLISH POETS – EDMUND SPENSER
12. PRINCE OF ENGLISH ESSAYIST – CHARLES LAMB
13. POETS POET – SPENSER
14. CRITICS CRITIC – HAZLITT
15. THE FOUNDER OF KNIGHT SCHOOL OF POETRY – MARLOWE
16. THE FOUNDER OF METAPHYSICAL SCHOOL OF POETRY – JOHN DONNE
17. THE FOUNDER OF LAKE SCHOOL OF POETRY – WORDSWORTH
18. THE FOUNDER OF SAITANIK SCHOOL OF POETRY – LORD BYRON
19. THE FOUNDER OF CHAUCER SOCIETY – FURNIVALL
20. THE FOUNDER OF SHAKESPEAREAN SOCEITY – STEELE
21. THE FOUNDER OF SONNET – PETRARCH
22. THE FOUNDER OF’THE CLUB’ – JOHNSON
23. THE FOUNDER OF SOCIETY FOR PURE ENGLISH – ROBERT BRIDGES
24. FOUNDER OF NEW SHAKESPEAREAN SOCIETY – FURNIVALL
25. FOUNDER OF THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY – BALEVATSKY
26. FOUNDER OF T.G. GRAMMAR – NOAM CHOMSKY
27. FOUNDER OF SHELLY SOCIETY – STEELE\
28. FOUNDER OF TOUCHSTONE METHOD – MATHEW ARNOLD
29. FOUNDER OF PSYCHO-ANALYSIS – SIGMUND FREUD
30. FATHER OF PLAGIRIST – CHAUCER
31. FATHER OF PRE-RAPHELITE MOVEMENT – D.G. ROSSETTI
32. PRINCE OF PLAGIRIST – SHAKESPEARE
33. FATHER OF GOTHIC NOVELS – HORACE WALPOLE
34. FATHER OF ENGLISH DRAMA – CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE
35. MORNING STAR OF ENGLISH DRAMA – CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE
36. MORNING STAR OF REFORMATION – WYCLIFF
37. CHILD OF RENAISSANCE & REFORMATION – SPENSER
38. FOUNDER OF BRITISH SCHOOL OF LINGUISTICS – J.R. FIRTH
39. FOUNDER OF PRAMASAMAJ – DEVENDRANATH TAGORE
40. AUTHORISED VERISON OF THE BIBLE- KING JAMES I
41. EXPONENTS OF TRAGIC COMEDY – SHAKESPEARE
42. EXPONENT OF EPISTOLARY NOVEL – SAMUEL RICHARDSON
43. EXPONENT OF SPRUNG RHYTHM – G.M. HOPKINS
44. EXPONENT OF SOCIAL ESSAYS – FRANCIS BACON
45. EXPONENT OF REGIONAL NOVELS – THOMAS HARDY
46. EXPONENT OF DOMESTIC NOVELS – JANE AUSTEN
47. EXPONENT OF DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE – ROBERT BROWNING
48. EXPONENT OF PRACTICAL CRITICISM – I.A. RICHARDS
49. FATHER OF ENGLISH CRITICISM – DRYDEN
50. FATHER OF AMERICAN POETRY – WILLIAM CULLER BRYANT
51. MOVEMENT OF POETS COINED – J.D. SCOTT
52. INTRODUCER OF BLANK VERSE – EARL OF SURREY
53. INTRODUCER OF FREE VERSE – WALT WHITMAN
54. INTRODUCER OF LIMARIC – EDWARD LEAR
55. FOUNDER OF ‘JOURNAL’ – SHELLEY
56. INTRODUCER OF SONNET – WYATT
57. STRUCTURALISM ASSOCIATED WITH – FERDINAND DE SAUSSURE
58. AMBIGUITY ASSOCIATED WITH – WILLIAM EMPSON
59. ARCHITYPE ASSOCIATED WITH – NORTHROP FRYE
60. LIBIDO & PSYCHO-ANALYSIS ASSOCIATED WITH – C.G. JUNG
61. THE BARD OF AVAN KNOWN AS – SHAKESPEARE
62. SAGE OF CONCORD – EMERSON
63. THE FIRST LEXICOGRAPHER – SAMUEL JOHNSON
64. INTRODUCER OF THE TERZA RHYMA(RIMA) – SHELLEY
65. INTRODUCER OF PRINTING PRESS IN ENGLAND – WILLIAM CAXTON
66. INVENTED OF PRINTING PRESS – JOHN GUTTENSBURG
67. THE WELL OF ENGLISH POETRY – CHAUCER
68. THE PRE-CURSORS OF ENGLISH NOVEL – ADDISON & STEELE
69. TWENTIETH CENTURY DRYDEN KNOWN AS – T.S. ELIOT
70. FOUNDER OF COCKNEY SCHOOL OF POETRY – HAZLITT
71. FOUNDER OF GRAVEYARD SCHOOL OF POETRY – THOMAS GRAY
72. THE ‘GENTLE’WRITER KNOWN AS – CHARLES LAMB
73. PROMINENT MEMBER OF ROYAL SOCIETY – JOHN DRYDEN
74. METAPHYSICAL WORD COINED BY – JOHNSON
75. METAPHYSICS WORD COINED BY – DRYDEN
76. FATHER OF MODERN DRAMA – EUGENE O NEIL
77. FATHER OF SHORT STORY – EDGAR ALLAN POE
78. FOUNDER OF IRISH THEATRE MOVEMENT – W.B. YEATS
79. THE TRANSITION PERIOD FAMOUS FOR – THOMAS GRAY
80. FABIAN SOCIETY ASSOCIAT.



Recommended Books

The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry
The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character (Phoenix Books)
The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome
Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization
The Literature of Ancient Sumer
The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions...
Written by William Kelley Simpson & Robert K. Ritner & Vincent A. Tobin & Edward Wente, Jr., published by Yale University Press (2003)
Who was the world's first author? - Soraya Field Fiorio
Mark, J. J. (2009, September 02). Literature. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/literature/

 [N.B] THIS ARTICLE COMPRISES OF VARIOUS INFORMATION GATHERED FROM MANY TEXTBOOKS AND IDEAS FROM  BLOGS AND WEBSITES. THIS IS CODIFIED FOR THE SAKE OF KNOWLEDGE.
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Tags: #poetry #literature #origin #element #introduction #genres #poem #prose #drama #tragedy #comedy #tragicomedy 

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