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Literature Essay

4306 words - 18 pages

Poetry, prose, sonnets, drama, plays, short stories and novels are concepts that first came to my mind when I think in the question “What is literature?” The definition of literature has change over time. The only thing that is certain about the meaning of literature is that the definition will change. The concepts about what is literature about also change over time. In order to get a clear understanding of exactly what literature is, first we need to know its definition. According to the Merriam-Webster, literature is defined by “the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age; the body of writings on a particular subject: printed matter.”  Literature has to do ...view middle of the document...

The ancient Greeks and Romans, between about 1200 B.C. and A.D. 455, were also known for their great epic poetry. They used poetry in theaters, and in music and also they loved to write about their gods and they heroes.
Two of the most famous Greek poets were Homer, who wrote the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey," and Hesiod, who wrote "Works and Days." In the medieval times, during 455 to 1485, poets began to interpret their poems through their language. Some medieval poets like Geoffrey Chaucer even experimented with writing in the language used those days know as vernacular. Before this, most of the poems where written in Latin. During the renaissance period (1485-1660), poets got even more creative. They developed new structures and forms of poetry. Structure and style also became very popular in poetry. During the Enlightenment period (1660-1790), there was a big interest in returning to the styles of the classical Greeks. There was a lot of emphasis on formal styles and discipline in writing during this time. During the Romantic period (1790-1830), on the other hand, there was a big departure from the methods of poets during the Enlightenment. The Romantics were all about finding new ways to express themselves. During the Victorian period (1832-1901), writers continued to break away from the established forms and structures that had been developing during the previous literary periods. Poets like Walt Whitman began writing in free verse, or completely without meter or structure. Since the beginning of the 20th century, there have been many changes to the way poetry is written and read.

The structure used in poems varies with the types of poetry. The structural elements include the line, couplet, strophe and stanza. Poets combine the use of language and a specific structure to create imaginative and expressive works. The structure used in some poetry types is also used when considering the visual effect of a finished poem.

One big example of poems is the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe; A dream within a dream.

Now lets continue with sonnets. A sonnet has come to be known as a poem containing 14 lines of iambic pentameter. The word sonnet comes from the Italian word “Sonetto” which means little song. Around the 13th century, the word sonnet began to mean a poem that consists of 14 lines. It had developed a strict rhyming plan and a definite structure.

Traditionally, sonnets have been classified into groups based on their rhyme scheme; the Shakespearean or English sonnets, the Italian or Petrarchan sonnets, the French sonnets and the Spenserian sonnets.

The Shakespearean or the English sonnets consist of three quatrains that are rhymed differently and a couplet at the end. William Shakespeare created something new; he changed the rhyme scheme to his own benefit. He wrote his sonnets to rhyme ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, and GG.

The Italian or Petrarchan sonnets are composed of an octave rhyming ABBABBA and a sestet rhyming CDECDE or...

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