Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form, or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.
Its Latin root literatura/litteratura (derived itself from littera: letter or handwriting) was used to refer to all written accounts. The concept has changed meaning over time to include texts that are spoken or sung (oral literature), and non-written verbal art forms. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, culminating in electronic literature.
The Duino Elegies
are a collection of ten elegies
written by the Bohemian
poet Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875–1926). Rilke, who is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets," began writing the elegies in 1912 while a guest of Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis
(1855–1934) at Duino Castle
, near Trieste
on the Adriatic Sea
. The poems, 859 lines long in total, were dedicated to the Princess upon their publication in 1923. During this ten-year period, the elegies languished incomplete for long stretches of time as Rilke suffered frequently from severe depression
—some of which was caused by the events of World War I
and being conscripted
into military service. Aside from brief episodes of writing in 1913 and 1915, Rilke did not return to the work until a few years after the war ended. With a sudden, renewed inspiration—writing in a frantic pace he described as a "boundless storm, a hurricane of the spirit"—he completed the collection in February 1922 while staying at Château de Muzot
, in Switzerland
's Rhone Valley
. After their publication in 1923 and Rilke's death in 1926, the Duino Elegies
were quickly recognized by critics and scholars as his most important work.
Kirby; 6 January 1741 – 15 December 1810) was a writer and critic of 18th-century
British children's literature
, as well as an educational reformer. Her periodical, The Guardian of Education
, helped to define the emerging genre by seriously reviewing children's literature for the first time; it also provided the first history of children's literature, establishing a canon of the early landmarks of the genre that scholars still use today. Trimmer's most popular children's book, Fabulous Histories
, inspired numerous children's animal stories and remained in print for over a century.
Trimmer was also an active philanthropist. She founded several Sunday schools and charity schools in her parish. To further these educational projects, she wrote textbooks and manuals for women interested in starting their own schools. Trimmer's efforts inspired other women, such as Hannah More, to establish Sunday school programs and to write for children and the poor.
Trimmer's works are dedicated to maintaining many aspects of the social and political status quo. As a high church Anglican, she was intent on promoting the established Church of England and on teaching young children and the poor the doctrines of Christianity. Her writings outlined the benefits of social hierarchy, arguing that each class should remain in its God-given position. Yet, while supporting many of the traditional political and social ideologies of her time, Trimmer questioned others, such as those surrounding gender and the family.
||Something incomprehensible, vexatious and hopeless takes possession of the man's whole being. He forgets his comrade who is awaiting him, forgets the work that is to be accomplished that night, and with his whole excited spirit abandons himself to the dumb dog. He cannot convince himself that the dog does not comprehend either the danger, or his words, or the necessity of going home at once. He lifts him angrily by the skin of his neck and so carries him ten steps nearer to the house. There he deposits him carefully on the snow and commands: "Away with you, go home!"
|— Leonid Andreyev, The Burglar
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Today in literature
- 1071 - William IX, Duke of Aquitaine and poet born
- 1565 - Jean, Vicomte d'Aguisy Grolier de Servieres, French bibliophile died
- 1818 - Charles-Marie-René Leconte de Lisle, French poet born
- 1919 - Doris Lessing, British writer born
- 1920 - Timothy Leary, American writer born
- 1954 - Jibanananda Das, Bengali poet died
- 1959 - Arto Salminen, Finnish writer born
- 1978 - John Riley, English poet murdered
- 1989 - Ewan MacColl, English author died
- 1995 - Sir Kingsley Amis, English writer died
- 1998 - Eric Ambler, English novelist died
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