What Is Literature Essay Research Paper What

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What Is Literature? Essay, Research Paper What is Literature? The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines literature as: writings in prose or verse; especially writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest. This concept of thoughts and ideas on paper is a good start but does not thoroughly define literature. Literature takes many forms and has evolved over time along with humankind. Therefore to thoroughly define literature one must discuss the elements of literature, the history of literature and what literature has become to today?s society. As diverse as people themselves literature takes on many forms. The three major forms are prose, poetry, and drama. This paper will discuss mainly prose literature. Prose is defined

in Mirriam-Webster as a literary medium distinguished from poetry especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and its closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech. Prose is also different from drama in that prose does not require the acting out of its contents. Literature allows people to ?live? vicariously. That means that is used to pass ideas and emotion of a unique situation to people who would otherwise not be able to experience them. This is the main purpose of all literature. Literature does this through both real situations which have happened, called non-fiction and imagined situations, called fiction. These situations allow people to satisfy their innate desire to solve problems. The source of these ?problems? in literature is called

conflict. Imagery allows a writer to compare the unique situation they are writing about to a situation that may be closer to what the reader has experienced. Symbols are images that are used to represent otherwise intangible ideas, for example, the river of life. Literature delivers these situations through stories. Stories have a plot which is the method to how the story will be told. Stories also help to pass on lessons through time which allows people to access the knowledge of history. This passing of information is essential to grow as a species. Without literature man would just be another animal foraging for food. Literature has evolved with man. It has not even always been written. Before the development of language, literature took the form of pictures. Ancient Egyptian

hieroglyphs and cave drawings depicting series of events were the first of these. Once language had developed people started to put their ideas into words. People are not the only being to create literature, according to Hebrew history even God has produced literature, i.e. the Ten Commandments. The ancient Greeks produced many stories of their Gods and of great adventures. Aesop?s fables, and Homer?s the Iliad and the Odyssey, which were epics, are some of the more notable ancient Greek works. Sophocles, Plato and Aristotle also contributed significant works. These were the first literary giants. The first work which could be called a novel was written by a Roman named Petronius Arbiter, who died in approximately 66 AD(?Literature?) It was called ‘Satyricon’ and was a story

about the society at that time which was written humorously. In the middle ages mankind did not make many advances. The lack of access to literature by the vast majority of the population did not promote the sharing of ideas. The Arthurian legends were the most famous pieces of literature to arise from this period. In about 1450 AD Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and changed the face of literature. Modern day literature is considered to have started during the Renaissance. Many works started to appear. The most notable authors of the Renaissance include Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Swift(?Literature?). Prose novels were easier to distribute due to the printing press. During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries many works that are considered classics today were