Literature, Prose

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Summary

Literature, in its broadest sense, is any written work; etymologically the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "writing formed with letters", although some definitions include spoken or sung texts. More restrictively, it is writing that possesses literary merit, and language that foregrounds literariness, as opposed to ordinary language. 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 expectatio

Details

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.Preminger, The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 938–9 On the historical development of prose, Richard Graff notes that "[In the case of Ancient Greece] recent scholarship has emphasized the fact that formal prose was a comparatively late development, an "invention" properly associated with the classical period".

  • Novel: a long fictional prose narrative. It was the form's close relation to real life that differentiated it from the chivalric romance; in most European languages the equivalent term is roman, indicating the proximity of the forms. In English, the term emerged from the Romance languages in the late fifteenth century, with the meaning of "news"; it came to indicate something new, without a distinction between fact or fiction. Although there are many historical prototypes, so-called "novels before the novel",Goody, The Novel: History, Geography, and Culture, 19 the modern novel form emerges late in cultural history—roughly during the eighteenth century.Goody, The Novel: History, Geography, and Culture, 20 Initially subject to much criticism, the novel has acquired a dominant position amongst literary forms, both popularly and critically.Goody, The Novel: History, Geography, and Culture, 29
  • Novella: in purely quantitative terms, 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". There is no precise definition in terms of word or page count.Giraldi 796 Literary prizes and publishing houses often have their own arbitrary limits, which vary according to their particular intentions. Summarising the variable definitions of the novella, William Giraldi concludes "[it is a form] whose identity seems destined to be disputed into perpetuity".Giraldi 793 It has been suggested that the size restriction of the form produces various stylistic results, both some that are shared with the novel or short story,Giraldi 795–6 and others unique to the form.
  • Short story: a dilemma in defining the "short story" as a literary form is how to, or whether one should, distinguish it from any short narrative; hence it also has a contested origin, variably suggested as the earliest short narratives (e.g. the Bible), early short story writers (e.g. Edgar Allan Poe), or the clearly modern short story writers (e.g. Anton Chekhov). 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.

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External Links

  • WikipediaEnglish Literature ForumProject Gutenberg Online LibraryAbacciInternet Book ListInternet Archive Digital eBook Collection

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