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 prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment, and can also have a social, psychological, spiritual, or political role.
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. (Full article...)
Image 75In 1901, French poet and essayistSully Prudhomme (1839–1907) was the first person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect." (from Nobel Prize in Literature)
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" is a poem written by the English Romantic poetJohn Keats in May 1819 and published anonymously in the January 1820, Number 15 issue of the magazine Annals of the Fine Arts. The poem is one of several "Great Odes of 1819", which include "Ode on Indolence", "Ode on Melancholy", "Ode to a Nightingale", and "Ode to Psyche". Keats found earlier forms of poetry unsatisfactory for his purpose, and the collection represented a new development of the ode form. He was inspired to write the poem after reading two articles by English artist and writer Benjamin Haydon. Keats was aware of other works on classical Greek art, and had first-hand exposure to the Elgin Marbles, all of which reinforced his belief that classical Greek art was idealistic and captured Greek virtues, which forms the basis of the poem.
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" was not well received by contemporary critics. It was only by the mid-19th century that it began to be praised, although it is now considered to be one of the greatest odes in the English language. A long debate over the poem's final statement divided 20th-century critics, but most agreed on the beauty of the work, despite various perceived inadequacies.
Tengku Amir Hamzah (28 February 1911 – 20 March 1946) was an Indonesian poet and National Hero of Indonesia. Amir began writing poetry while still a teenager: though his works are undated, the earliest are thought to have been written when he first travelled to Java. Drawing influences from his own Malay culture and Islam, as well as from Christianity and Eastern literature, Amir wrote 50 poems, 18 pieces of lyrical prose, and numerous other works, including several translations. In 1932 he co-founded the literary magazine Poedjangga Baroe. After his return to Sumatra, he stopped writing. Most of his poems were published in two collections, Nyanyi Sunyi (1937) and Buah Rindu (1941), first in Poedjangga Baroe then as stand-alone books.
Poems by Amir deal with the themes of love and religion, and his poetry often reflects a deep inner conflict. His diction, using both Malay and Javanese words and expanding on traditional structures, was influenced by the need for rhythm and metre, as well as symbolism related to particular terms. His earlier works deal with a sense of longing and both erotic and idealised love, whereas his later works have a deeper religious meaning. Of his two collections, Nyanyi Sunyi is generally considered the more developed. Amir has been called the "King of the Poedjangga Baroe-era Poets".
I don’t know why it should be so, but it is an undeniable fact that there is nothing makes a man look so supremely ridiculous as losing his hat. The feeling of helpless misery that shoots down one’s back on suddenly becoming aware that one’s head is bare is among the most bitter ills that flesh is heir to. And then there is the wild chase after it, accompanied by an excitable small dog, who thinks it is a game, and in the course of which you are certain to upset three or four innocent children—to say nothing of their mothers—butt a fat old gentleman on to the top of a perambulator, and carom off a ladies’ seminary into the arms of a wet sweep.
The Princess and the Trolls, by John Bauer (1882–1918), was painted as an illustration for "The Changeling", a short story by Helena Nyblom. A watercolour held by the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, it was first published in the 1913 edition of the anthology Among Gnomes and Trolls. It shows the princess Bianca Maria between two trolls in a forest. Bauer's illustrations of fairy tales and children's stories made him a household name in his native Sweden, and shaped perceptions of many fairy tale characters.
The Hunting of the Snark is a poem composed by the English writer Lewis Carroll between 1874 and 1876, typically characterised as a nonsense poem. The plot follows a crew of ten who cross the ocean to hunt the Snark, which may turn out to be a highly dangerous Boojum. This is the second of Henry Holiday's original illustrations for the first edition of the poem. It introduces some of the crew, whose names all start with "B"; the Bellman and Baker are on the upper deck, with the Barrister seated in the background; below are the Billiard-marker, the Banker and the Broker, with the maker of Bonnets and Hoods visible behind.
"Le Noir Faineant in the Hermit's Cell", an illustration from an 1886 edition of Sir Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe. Here, we see Le Noir Faineant, or the Black Knight (Richard the Lionheart in disguise) with Friar Tuck. Scott was an early pioneer in the development of the modern novel, and largely created the genre of historical fiction by weaving together legends and characters into his own creations. Ivanhoe, the story of one of the remaining Saxon noble families at a time when the English nobility was overwhelmingly Norman, was greatly influential on the modern view of the English folk heroRobin Hood, and has inspired many adaptations around the world in theatre, opera, film, and television.
The Song of Los is an epic poem by William Blake first published in 1795 and considered part of his prophetic books. The poem consists of two sections, "Africa" and "Asia": in the first section Blake catalogues the decline of morality in Europe, which he blames on both the African slave trade and enlightenment philosophers, whereas in the second section he describes a worldwide revolution, urged by the eponymous Los.
The illustration here is from the book's frontispiece and shows Urizen presiding over the decline of morality.
A typical 20th-century aerial rotating house, as drawn by Albert Robida. The drawing shows a dwelling structure in the scientific romance style elevated above rooftops and designed to revolve and adjust in various directions. An occupant in the lower right points to an airship with a fish-shaped balloon in the sky, while a woman rides a bucket elevator on the left. Meanwhile, children fly a kite from the balcony as a dog watches from its rooftop doghouse.
An illustration of Humpty Dumpty by American artist William Wallace Denslow, depicting the title character from the nursery rhyme of the same name. He is typically portrayed as an egg, although the rhyme never explicitly states that he is, possibly because it may have been originally posed as a riddle. The earliest known version is in a manuscript addition to a copy of Mother Goose's Melody published in 1803.
A scene from Sir Walter Scott's 1817 historical novelRob Roy, which tells the story of Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant who travels to Scotland to collect a debt stolen from his father. On the way he encounters the larger-than-life title character of Robert Roy MacGregor. Though Rob Roy is not the lead character (in fact the narrative does not move to Scotland until halfway through the book) his personality and actions are key to the story's development. The novel is a brutally realistic depiction of the social conditions in Highland and Lowland Scotland in the early 18th century.
This woodblock print, titled Kinhyōshi yōrin, hero of the Suikoden, is one of a series created by the Japanese artistUtagawa Kuniyoshi between 1827 and 1830 illustrating the 108 Suikoden ("Water Margin"). The publication of the series catapulted Kuniyoshi to fame. The story of the Suikoden is an adaptation of the Chinese Shuǐhǔ Zhuàn; during the 1800s, the publication of this woodblock series and other translations of the novel created a Suikoden craze in Japan. Following the great commercial success of the Kuniyoshi series, other ukiyo-e artists were commissioned to produce prints of the Suikoden heroes, which began to be shown as Japanese heroes rather than the original Chinese personages. The hero portrayed in this print is Yang Lin.
The frontispiece to a c. 1825 edition of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a lengthy narrative poem by Lord Byron. The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. This poem proved to be quite popular upon its publication in 1812. Byron himself said of this, "I awoke one morning and found myself famous."
In this scene from Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Uncle Toby's colonel invents a device for firing multiple miniature cannons at once, based on a hookah. Unfortunately, he and Toby find the puffing on the hookah pipe so enjoyable that they keep setting the cannons off. The novel was published in nine volumes over ten years, starting in 1759. Although it was not always held in high esteem by other writers, its bawdy humour was popular with London society, and it has come to be seen as one of the greatest comic novels in English, as well as a forerunner for many modern narrative devices and styles.