Portal:Literature

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Literature is a term that does not have a universally accepted definition, but which has variably included all written work; writing that possesses literary merit; and language that foregrounds literariness, as opposed to ordinary language. Etymologically the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "writing formed with letters", although some definitions include spoken or sung texts. Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction, and whether it is poetry or prose; it can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short story or drama; and works are often categorised according to historical periods, or according to their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre).

Literature may consist of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), a category that may also include polemical works, biographies, and reflective essays, or it may consist of texts based on imagination (such as fiction, poetry, or drama). Literature written in poetry emphasizes the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as sound, symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, ordinary meanings, while literature written in prose applies ordinary grammatical structure and the natural flow of speech. Literature can also be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. While the concept of genre has broadened over the centuries, in general, a genre consists of artistic works that fall within a certain central theme; examples of genre include romance, mystery, crime, fantasy, erotica, and adventure, among others.

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The Penelopiad is a novella by Margaret Atwood. It was published in 2005 as part of the first set of books in the Canongate Myth Series where contemporary authors rewrite ancient myths. In The Penelopiad, Penelope reminisces on the events during the Odyssey, life in Hades, Odysseus, Helen, and her relationships with her parents. A chorus of the twelve maids, whom Odysseus believed were disloyal and whom Telemachus hanged, interrupt Penelope's narrative to express their view on events. The maids' interludes use a new genre each time, including a jump-rope rhyme, a lament, an idyll, a ballad, a lecture, a court trial and several types of songs.

The novella's central themes include the effects of story-telling perspectives, double standards between the sexes and the classes, and the fairness of justice. Atwood had previously used characters and storylines from Greek mythology in fiction such as her novel The Robber Bride, short story The Elysium Lifestyle Mansions and poems "Circe: Mud Poems" and "Helen of Troy Does Counter Dancing" but used Robert Graves' The Greek Myths and E. V. Rieu and D. C. H. Rieu's version of the Odyssey to prepare for this novella.

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An 18th-century woodblock in the ukiyo-e style, depicting Murasaki Shikibu being inspired by the moon
Murasaki Shikibu ( , English: Lady Murasaki) (c. 978 – c. 1014 or 1025) was a Japanese novelist, poet and lady-in-waiting at the Imperial court during the Heian period. Murasaki Shikibu is a nickname; her real name is unknown, but she may have been Fujiwara Takako.

Murasaki wrote The Diary of Lady Murasaki, a volume of poetry, and The Tale of Genji. It is uncertain when she began to write The Tale of Genji, but it was probably while she in her mid to late twenties. In about 1005, Murasaki was invited to serve as a lady-in-waiting to Empress Shōshi at the Imperial court, probably because of her reputation as a writer. She continued to write during her service, adding scenes from court life to her work. Within a decade of its completion, Genji was distributed throughout the provinces; within a century it was recognized as a classic of Japanese literature and had become a subject of scholarly criticism. Early in the 20th century her work was translated; a six-volume English translation was completed in 1933. Scholars continue to recognize the importance of her work, which reflects Heian court society at its peak. Since the 13th century her works have been illustrated by Japanese artists and well-known ukiyo-e woodblock masters.

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George Cruikshank - Tristram Shandy, Plate VIII. The Smoking Batteries.jpg
Credit: George Cruikshank

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a humorous novel by Laurence Sterne, published in nine volumes between 1759 and 1767. Written as a biography of the fictional titular character, its style is marked by digression and amplification. This illustration depicts two characters puffing a hookah-like cannon-firing device.

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Literature: History of literature · History of the book · Literary criticism · Literary theory · Publishing
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Create: Requested literature articles · Requested photographs of writers · Requested photographs of publications
Expand: Literature subs · Writer stubs · Start class literature articles · C class literature articles · Literature lists
Polish: B class literature articles
More: Open tasks at WikiProject Literature

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Concepts: Books · Library and information science · Novels · Poetry · Theatre · Writing
Genres: Children and Young Adult · Horror fiction · Speculative fiction
Authors: Charles Dickens · Oscar Wilde · Robert E. Howard · Shakespeare. Jane Austen.
Series: Discworld · Harry Potter · James Bond · King Arthur · Middle-earth · Oz · Twilight
Regions: French and Francophone
Religions: Bible · Quran · Book of Mormon

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Concepts: Biographies · Books · Comics · Magazines · Manga · Novels · Poetry · Short stories · Translation studies
Genres: Alternate history · Children's literature · Crime · Fantasy · Horror · Mythology · Romance · Science fiction
Authors: Honoré de Balzac · Roald Dahl · William Shakespeare
Series: Artemis Fowl · Chronicles of Narnia · Discworld · Harry Potter · His Dark Materials · Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy · Inheritance Cycle · James Bond · King Arthur · Middle-earth · Percy Jackson · Redwall · A Series of Unfortunate Events · Shannara · Sherlock Holmes · A Song of Ice and Fire · Star Wars · Sword of Truth · Twilight · Warriors · Water Margin · Wizard of Oz
Regions: Australian literature · Indian literature · Persian literature

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