Portal:Literature/Selected article archive

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This page is an archive of articles featured on the Literature Portal. For literature articles that have gained the featured article status see Wikipedia:Featured articles#Literature and theatre.

Archive[edit]

Today is July 22, 2014, week number 30.

Archives: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010



January 2011
Francis Scott Fitzgerald 1937 June 4 (1) (photo by Carl van Vechten).jpg
Francis Scott Fitzgerald.

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.[1] Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. He finished four novels, This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender Is the Night and his most famous, the celebrated classic, The Great Gatsby. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with despair and age.


February 2011

Shojo Beat is a shōjo manga magazine formerly published in North America by Viz Media. Released in June 2005 as a sister magazine to Shonen Jump, it featured serialized chapters from six manga series, as well as articles on Japanese culture, manga, anime, fashion and beauty. After its initial launch, Shojo Beat underwent two redesigns, becoming the first English anthology to use the cyan and magenta ink tones common to Japanese manga anthologies. Viz launched related "Shojo Beat" imprints in its manga, Japanese light novel, and anime divisions to coordinate with the magazine's contents.

Targeted at women ages 16–18, the first issue of Shojo Beat launched with a circulation of 20,000. By 2007, the average circulation was approximately 38,000 copies, with half coming from subscriptions rather than store sales. It was well-received by critics, who praised its mix of manga series and the inclusion of articles on Japanese culture, though some critics found the early issues boring and poorly written. In May 2009, Viz announced that it was discontinuing the magazine; the July 2009 issue was the last released. Fans were disappointed at the sudden news. Industry experts felt its loss would leave female comic fans without a magazine of their own, but praised Viz for its choice to continue using the "Shojo Beat" imprint and branding for its shōjo manga and anime releases.


March 2011

The nature fakers controversy was an early 20th-century American literary debate highlighting the conflict between science and sentiment in popular nature writing. Following a period of growing interest in the natural world beginning in the late 19th century, a new literary movement, in which the natural world was depicted in a compassionate rather than realistic light, began to take shape. Works such as Ernest Thompson Seton's Wild Animals I Have Known (1898) and William J. Long's School of the Woods (1902) popularized this new genre and emphasized sympathetic and individualistic animal characters.

In March 1903, naturalist and writer John Burroughs published an article entitled "Real and Sham Natural History" in the Atlantic Monthly. Lambasting writers such as Seton, Long, and Charles G. D. Roberts for their seemingly fantastical representations of wildlife, he also denounced the booming genre of realistic animal fiction as "yellow journalism of the woods". Burroughs' targets responded in defense of their work in various publications, as did their supporters, and the resulting controversy raged in the public press for nearly six years. The debate involved important American literary, environmental and political figures of the day. Dubbed the "War of the Naturalists" by The New York Times, it showcased seemingly irreconcilable contemporary views of the natural world; while some nature writers of the day argued as to the veracity of their examples of anthropomorphic wild animals, others questioned an animal's ability to adapt, learn, teach, and reason.


April 2011

Imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets, who were by and large content to work within that tradition. Group publication of work under the Imagist name appearing between 1914 and 1917 featured writing by many of the most significant figures in Modernist poetry in English, as well as a number of other Modernist figures prominent in fields other than poetry.

Based in London, the Imagists were drawn from Great Britain, Ireland and the United States. Somewhat unusually for the time, the Imagists featured a number of women writers among their major figures. Imagism is also significant historically as the first organised Modernist English language literary movement or group. In the words of T. S. Eliot: "The point de repère usually and conveniently taken as the starting-point of modern poetry is the group denominated 'imagists' in London about 1910."

At the time Imagism emerged, Longfellow and Tennyson were considered the paragons of poetry, and the public valued the sometimes moralising tone of their writings. In contrast, Imagism called for a return to what were seen as more Classical values, such as directness of presentation and economy of language, as well as a willingness to experiment with non-traditional verse forms. The focus on the "thing" as "thing" (an attempt at isolating a single image to reveal its essence) also mirrors contemporary developments in avant-garde art, especially Cubism. Although Imagism isolates objects through the use of what Ezra Pound called "luminous details", Pound's Ideogrammic Method of juxtaposing concrete instances to express an abstraction is similar to Cubism's manner of synthesizing multiple perspectives into a single image.


May 2011

Z. Marcas is a novelette by French author Honoré de Balzac first published in 1840. Set in contemporary Paris, it describes the rise and fall of a brilliant political strategist who is abandoned by the politicians he helps into power. Destitute and forgotten, he befriends a pair of students who live next door to him in a boarding-house. The story follows their many discussions about the political situation in France.

Balzac was inspired to write the story after he spotted the name "Z. Marcas" on a sign for a tailor's shop in Paris. It was published in July 1840, in the Revue Parisienne, a magazine he had founded that year. One year later it appeared in a collection from various authors under the title La Mort d'un ambitieux ("The Death of an Ambitious Man"). Balzac later placed it in the Scènes de la vie politique section of his vast novel sequence La Comédie humaine.

Although Z. Marcas features characters from other Balzac stories and elements of literary realism – both hallmarks of Balzac's style – it is remembered primarily for its political themes. Balzac, a legitimist, believed that France's lack of bold leadership had led to mediocrity and ruin, and that men of quality were being ignored or worse. He maintained that the youth of France were in danger of being abandoned by the government, and predicted unrest in the years to come.

The story also explores Balzac's conviction that a person's name is a powerful indicator of his or her destiny, an idea he drew from the work of Laurence Sterne. The title character, with his keen intellect, is based on Balzac's conception of himself: a visionary genius who fails to achieve his true potential because of less talented individuals with more social power.


June 2011

Portal:Literature/Selected article archive/June 2011


July 2011

Portal:Literature/Selected article archive/July 2011


August 2011

Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.

Whether or not literary criticism should be considered a separate field of inquiry from literary theory, or conversely from book reviewing, is a matter of some controversy. For example, the Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary thinking and Criticism draws no distinction between literary theory and literary criticism, and almost always uses the terms together to describe the same concept. Some critics consider literary criticism a practical application of literary theory, because criticism always deals directly with particular literary works, while theory may be more general or abstract.

Literary criticism is often published in essay or book form. Academic literary critics teach in literature departments and publish in academic journals, and more popular critics publish their criticism in broadly circulating periodicals such as the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, The Nation, and The New Yorker.


September 2011

The Halo Graphic Novel is the first graphic novel adaptation of the science fiction video game Halo, published by Marvel Comics in partnership with Bungie Studios. The Halo series began with the award-winning popular video game Halo: Combat Evolved, which spawned several books as well as video game sequels, and is focused on the story of future humanity fighting against a powerful collective of races called the Covenant. The Halo Graphic Novel is the series' first entry into the sequential art medium, and features aspects of the Halo universe which until then had not been discussed or seen in any medium.

The majority of the book is divided into four short stories by different writers and artists from the computer game and comic industries. Each story focuses on different aspects of the Halo universe, revealing stories that are tangential to the main plot of the game. Apart from the stories, the book also contains an extensive art gallery compiled of contributions from Bungie, Marvel and independent sources.

Released on July 19, 2006, The Halo Graphic Novel was well-received, with reviewers noting the cohesiveness of the work as a whole, as well as the diversity of the individual material. The success of the novel led to Marvel announcing a new limited comic series, which became known as Halo: Uprising.


October 2011

El Señor Presidente (Mister President) is a 1946 novel written in Spanish by Nobel Prize–winning Guatemalan writer and diplomat Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899–1974). A landmark text in Latin American literature, El Señor Presidente explores the nature of political dictatorship and its effects on society. Asturias makes early use of a literary technique now known as magic realism. One of the most notable works of the dictator novel genre, El Señor Presidente developed from an earlier Asturias short story, written to protest social injustice in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in the author's home town.

Although El Señor Presidente does not explicitly identify its setting as early twentieth-century Guatemala, the novel's title character was inspired by the 1898–1920 presidency of Manuel Estrada Cabrera. Asturias began writing the novel in the 1920s and finished it in 1933, but the strict censorship policies of Guatemalan dictatorial governments delayed its publication for thirteen years.

The character of the President rarely appears in the story but Asturias creates a number of other characters to show the terrible effects of living under a dictatorship. His use of dream imagery, onomatopoeia, simile, and repetition of particular phrases, combined with a discontinuous structure, which consists of abrupt changes of style and viewpoint, springs from surrealist and ultraist influences. The style of El Señor Presidente influenced a generation of Latin American authors. The themes of Asturias's novel, such as the inability to tell reality apart from dreams, the power of the written word in the hands of authorities, and the alienation produced by tyranny, center around the experience of living under a dictatorship.

On its eventual publication in Mexico in 1946, El Señor Presidente quickly met with critical acclaim. In 1967, Asturias received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his entire body of work. This international acknowledgment was celebrated throughout Latin America, where it was seen as a recognition of the region's literature as a whole. Since then, El Señor Presidente has been adapted for the screen and theater.


November 2011

Fun Home (subtitled A Family Tragicomic) is a 2006 graphic memoir by American writer Alison Bechdel, author of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. It chronicles the author's childhood and youth in rural Pennsylvania, USA, focusing on her complex relationship with her father. The book addresses themes of sexual orientation, gender roles, suicide, dysfunctional family life, and the role of literature in understanding oneself and one's family. Writing and illustrating Fun Home took seven years, in part because of Bechdel's laborious artistic process, which includes photographing herself in poses for each human figure.

Fun Home has been both a popular and critical success, and spent two weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. Fun Home also generated controversy: a public library in Missouri removed Fun Home from its shelves for five months after local residents objected to its contents.


December 2011

The Sun Also Rises is a 1926 novel written by American author Ernest Hemingway about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights. An early and enduring modernist novel, it received mixed reviews upon publication. Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers writes that it is "recognized as Hemingway's greatest work",[2] and Hemingway scholar Linda Wagner-Martin calls it his most important novel.[3] The novel was published in the United States in October 1926 by the publishing house Scribner's. A year later, the London publishing house Jonathan Cape published the novel with the title of Fiesta. Since then it has been continuously in print.

Hemingway began writing the novel on his birthday (21 July) in 1925, finishing the draft manuscript barely two months later in September. After setting aside the manuscript for a short period, he worked on revisions during the winter of 1926. The basis for the novel was Hemingway's 1925 trip to Spain. The setting was unique and memorable, showing the seedy café life in Paris, and the excitement of the Pamplona festival, with a middle section devoted to descriptions of a fishing trip in the Pyrenees. Equally unique was Hemingway's spare writing style, combined with his restrained use of description to convey characterizations and action, which became known as the Iceberg Theory.

On the surface the novel is a love story between the protagonist Jake Barnes—a man whose war wound has made him impotent—and the promiscuous divorcée Lady Brett Ashley. Brett's affair with Robert Cohn causes Jake to be upset and break off his friendship with Cohn; her seduction of the 19-year-old matador Romero causes Jake to lose his good reputation among the Spaniards in Pamplona. The novel is a roman à clef; the characters are based on real people and the action is based on real events. In the novel, Hemingway presents his notion that the "Lost Generation", considered to have been decadent, dissolute and irretrievably damaged by World War I, was resilient and strong. Additionally, Hemingway investigates the themes of love, death, renewal in nature, and the nature of masculinity.


  1. ^ The golden moment: the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. MR Stern. 1970. University of Illinois Press
  2. ^ Meyers (1985), 192
  3. ^ Wagner-Martin (1990), 1