polysemous term referring to a written art form, and the set of all literary works

Literature is a group of works of art that are made of words. Most are written, but some are shared by word of mouth. Literature usually means a work of poetry, theatre or narrative.[1] There are many different kinds of literature, such as poetry, plays, or novels. They can also be put into groups by their language, historical time, place of origin, genre, and subject.[1] The word "literature" comes from the Latin word "literatura," which means "writing formed with letters."[2]

Sculpture in Berlin depicting a stack of books on which are inscribed the names of great German writers.
Old book bindings at a library

Most of the earliest works were epic poems. Epic poems are long stories or myths about adventures, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Mesopotamia. Ramayana and Mahabharta, two Indian epics, are still read today. The Iliad and Odyssey are two famous Greek poems by Homer. They were shared over time through speaking and memory and were written down around the 9th or 8th century BCE.[3]

Literature can also mean imaginative or creative writing, which is read for its artistic value.

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References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "literature -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  2. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  3. "Homer and the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey | Britannica". Retrieved 2023-03-25.