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INTRODUCTION TO

LITERATURE:
FORMS, DIVISIONS, AND
SUBDIVISIONS
Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letter) is the
art of written work, and is not confined to published
sources (although, under some circumstances,
unpublished sources can also be exempt). The word
literature literally means "things made from letters"
and the term "letters" is sometimes used to signify
"literature," as in the figures of speech "arts and
letters" and "man of letters." The four major
classifications of literature are poetry, prose, fiction,
and non-fiction.
LITERATURE

ORAL LITERATURE WRITTEN LITERATURE VISUAL LITERATURE

PROSE POETRY

Fiction Non-Fiction Narrative Lyric Drama


FORMS OF LITERATURE
ORAL LITERATURE – literary works
transmitted from one generation to another
verbally.
WRITTEN LITERATURE – literary works in
printed form
VISUAL LITERATURE – literary works
presented in front of an audience
DIVISIONS OF LITERATURE
PROSE - is the most typical form of language, applying
ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech
rather than rhythmic structure (as in traditional poetry).
While there are critical debates on the construction of prose,
its simplicity and loosely defined structure has led to its
adoption for the majority of spoken dialogue, factual
discourse as well as topical and fictional writing. It is
commonly used, for example, in literature, newspapers,
magazines, encyclopedias, broadcasting, film, history,
philosophy, law and many other forms of communication.
DIVISIONS OF LITERATURE
POETRY - (from the Greek poiesis — ποίησις
— with a broad meaning of a "making", seen
also in such terms as "hemopoiesis"; more
narrowly, the making of poetry) is a form of
literary art which uses the aesthetic qualities
of language to evoke meanings in addition to,
or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.
PROSE
Fiction - is the form of any narrative or informative work
that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events
that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is,
invented by the author. Although fiction describes a
major branch of literary work, it may also refer to
theatrical, cinematic or musical work. Fiction contrasts
with non-fiction, which deals exclusively with factual (or,
at least, assumed factual) events, descriptions,
observations, etc. (e.g., biographies, histories).
FICTION
Fairytale – story about kings, queens, princes and princesses with a touch
of magic
Mythology – story about gods and goddesses
Legend – story about the origin of a place or a thing
Novel – a long narrative with an organized plot usually with a maximum of
500 pages
Novelette – a narrative with an organized plot usually with a maximum of
300 pages
Short Story – a narrative with an organized plot usually with a maximum of
100 pages
Fable – story that uses animals as characters and with moral lesson
Parable – story used by Jesus in teaching the Good News
Allegory – story that uses symbolism to represent an idea
PROSE
Non-Fiction - is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative
work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be factual. This
presentation may be accurate or not—that is, it can give either a true or a false
account of the subject in question—however, it is generally assumed that
authors of such accounts believe them to be truthful at the time of their
composition or, at least, pose them to their audience as historically or
empirically true. Note that reporting the beliefs of others in a non-fiction
format is not necessarily an endorsement of the ultimate veracity of those
beliefs; it is simply saying it is true that people believe them (for such topics as
mythology, religion). Non-fiction can also be written about fiction, giving
information about these other works.
NON-FICTION
Autobiography – life story of a person written by himself
Biography – life story of a person written by another person
Newspaper – collection of news articles about various current
events
Magazine – collection of articles regarding the lifestyle of man
Journal – daily record of personal events
Planner – daily record of business commitments
Anecdote – a brief, revealing account of an individual person or
an incident.
 
POETRY
Narrative - is a form of poetry which tells a story, often
making use of the voices of a narrator and characters as well;
the entire story is usually written in metered verse. The
poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the
story it relates to may be complex. It is usually dramatic, with
objectives, diverse characters, and meter. Narrative poems
include epics, ballads, idylls and lays.
NARRATIVE
Epic – a narrative poem about supernatural powers
possessed by heroes and heroines
Ballad – a narrative poem with harmony and rhythm
Idyll – a narrative poem about rustic life
Metrical Romance – a narrative poem dealing with the
emotions or phase of life and the story is told in a simple,
straightforward and realistic manner
POETRY
Lyric - is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional
feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were sung, accompanied
by a lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need
to be set to music or a beat. Aristotle, in Poetics 1447a, mentions
lyric poetry (kitharistike played to the cithara, a type of lyre) along
with drama, epic poetry, dancing, painting and other forms of
mimesis. The lyric poem, dating from the Romantic era, does have
some thematic antecedents in ancient Greek and Roman verse, but
the ancient definition was based on metrical criteria, and in archaic
and classical Greek culture presupposed live performance
accompanied by a stringed instrument.
LYRIC
Song – a lyric poem intended to be sung, with melodious
harmony and rhythm
Sonnet – a lyric poem consisting of 14 iambic pentameter
lines
Ode – a lyrical poem praising or glorifying an event or
individual, describing nature intellectually as well as
emotionally.
Elegy – a lament for the dead
POETRY
Drama - is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term
comes from a Greek word meaning "action" (Classical Greek: δρᾶμα, drama),
which is derived from "to do," "to act" (Classical Greek: δράω, draō). The
enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an
audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a collective
form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of
literature, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective
reception. The early modern tragedy Hamlet (1601) by Shakespeare and the
classical Athenian tragedy Oedipus the King (c. 429 BCE) by Sophocles is
among the masterpieces of the art of drama. A modern example is Long Day's
Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill (1956).
DRAMA
Historical – a theatrical play with historical
plot
Comedy – a theatrical play with a happy
ending
Tragedy – a theatrical play with the death of
some major characters
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