is literally "an acquaintance with letters
", as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary
(from the Latin littera
meaning "an individual written character"). The term has generally come to identify a collection of texts
or works of art
, which in Western culture are mainly prose
, both fiction
. In much (if not all) of the world, texts can be oral
as well, and include such genres
, other forms of oral poetry, and the folktale
. The word "literature" as a common noun can refer to any form of writing, such as essays
; "Literature" as a proper noun refers to a whole body of literary work.
The history of literature begins with the history of writing, in the Bronze Age of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, although the oldest literary texts date to a full millennium after the invention of writing, to the late 3rd millennium BC. The earliest literary authors known by name are Ptahhotep and Enheduanna, dating to ca. the 24th and 23rd centuries BC, respectively. More about Literature...
Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.
While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886—when Lavinia, Emily's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson. Despite some unfavorable reviews and some skepticism during the late 19th and early 20th century as to Dickinson's literary prowess, she is now almost universally considered to be one of the most important American poets.
Daguerreotype of the poet Emily Dickinson, taken circa 1848. (image details)
Image credit: Unknown. From the Todd-Bingham Picture Collection and Family Papers, Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database, Yale University.
... that Murder in the Cathedral is a poetic drama by T. S. Eliot that portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral (pictured) in 1170?
... that literary historian Ian Ousby called Helen Zahavi's 1991 novel Dirty Weekend "the serial-killer novel to end all serial-killer novels"?
... that Theophrastus (Θεόφραστος), a native of Lesbos (Λέσβος), wrote Χαρακτήρες (The Characters), which consists of brief, vigorous and trenchant delineations of moral types which form the first recorded attempt at systematic character writing?
... that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car is a children's novel written by Ian Fleming for his son Caspar?
... that Pension Schöller is an 1890 German farce by Wilhelm Jacoby and Carl Laufs about a Berlin boarding house mistaken for a lunatic asylum, and that one of the eccentric boarders, a young man who wants to be an actor, has difficulty pronouncing the letter l ("Nacht muß es sein, wo Friednands Sterne strahnen! Wannenstein!")?
... that Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin, the eponymous hero of Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1869 novel Идиот (The Idiot), is an epileptic?
... that Emil Jannings, Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Laurence Fishburne, and Eamonn Walker have all portrayed Shakespeare's Othello in film?
Here are some Open Tasks
- Copyedit: Cotillion (novel), Imperium (novel), Nikolai Minsky, Die Räuber, Tea Classics, The Thin Red Line, More...
- Wikify: More...
- Merge: More...
- add images Category:Wikipedia requested photographs of writers,Category:Wikipedia requested photographs of publications
- Start an article: gutter rhyme, seven by nine squares, working class literature, storycraft, structural exegesis, Structural Irony, Summary Theme, threnos More...
- Expand: alter ego, English studies, Verisimilitude, Flash prose, German literature of the Baroque period, Identification, composite character, hexameter, internal rhyme, hypertextuality, Midnight Magic, Modernist poetry, high burlesque, Swahili literature, The Freedom Writers Diary, More...