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Portal:Literature

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Introduction

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.

Selected work

T. S. Eliot in 1934
"A Song for Simeon" is a 37-line poem written in 1928 by American-English poet T. S. Eliot. It is one of five poems that Eliot contributed to the Ariel poems series of 38 pamphlets by several authors published by Faber and Gwyer. "A Song for Simeon" was the sixteenth in the series and included an illustration by avant garde artist Edward McKnight Kauffer. The poems, including "A Song for Simeon", were later published in both the 1936 and 1963 editions of Eliot's collected poems.

In 1927, Eliot had converted to Anglo-Catholicism and his poetry, starting with the Ariel Poems, took on a decidedly religious character. "A Song for Simeon" is seen by many critics and scholars as a discussion of the conversion experience. In the poem, Eliot retells the story of Simeon from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, a just and devout Jew who encounters Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus entering the Temple of Jerusalem. Promised by the Holy Ghost that he would not die until he had seen the Saviour, Simeon sees in the infant Jesus the Messiah promised by the Lord and asks God to permit him to "depart in peace" (Luke 2:25–35). Several critics have debated whether Eliot's depiction of Simeon is a negative portrayal of a Jewish figure and evidence of anti-Semitism on Eliot's part.

Selected figure

Modern artist's impression of what Du Fu may have looked like
Du Fu (Chinese: 杜甫; pinyin: Dù Fǔ; 712 – 770) was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty. Along with Li Bai, he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and his last 15 years were a time of almost constant unrest.

Although initially he was little-known to other writers, his works came to be hugely influential in both Chinese and Japanese literary culture. Of his poetic writing, nearly fifteen hundred poems have been preserved over the ages. He has been called the "Poet-Historian" and the "Poet-Sage" by Chinese critics, while the range of his work has allowed him to be introduced to Western readers as "the Chinese Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Béranger, Hugo or Baudelaire". In his lifetime and immediately following his death, Du Fu was not greatly appreciated, however according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, today Du Fu's writings are considered by many literary critics to be among the greatest of all time.

Selected excerpt

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W.E.F. Britten - The Early Poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson - Oenone.jpg
Credit: William Edward Frank Britten

Oenone or Œnone is a poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1829. The poem describes the Greek mythological character Oenone and her witnessing of the events in the life of her lover, Paris, as he is involved in the events of the Trojan War. This illustration of the titular character is from the 1901 collection The Early Poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

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Today in literature

21 July

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