Literature written in poetry emphasizes the aesthetic and
rhythmic qualities of language—such as sound, symbolism, and
meter—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, ordinary
meanings, while literature written in prose applies ordinary
grammatical structure and the natural flow of speech. Literature can
also be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political
While the concept of genre has broadened over the centuries,
in general, a genre consists of artistic works that fall within a certain
central theme; examples of genre
include romance, mystery, crime, fantasy, erotica, and adventure,
Important historical periods in English literature include Old
English, Middle English, the Renaissance, the Elizabethan era of the
16th century (which includes the Shakespearean era), the 17th
Century Restoration period, the 18th century Age of Enlightenment,
the Romanticism of the early 19th century, the later 19th
Century Victorian, and 20th Century Modernism and Post-modernism.
Important intellectual movements that have influenced the study of
literature include feminism, post-colonialism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism,
post-modernism, romanticism, and Marxism.
The major forms of Literature are:
• Short story
• Various forms of literature are written in and further
categorized by genre. Sometimes forms are used
interchangeably to define genre. However, a form,
e.g., a novel or a poem, can itself be written in any
genre. Genre is a label that characterizes elements a
reader can expect in a work of literature.
Genre is a category characterized by
similarities in form, style, or subject
The classic major genres of Literature
Types of Literature
An autobiography is the story of a person's life written or told by that person.
• Bill Peet: An Autobiography
A biography is the story of a person's life written or told by another person.
• Eleanor, by Barbara Cooney
A fable is a story that teaches a moral or a lesson. It often has animal characters.
• The Tortoise and the Hare
Fantasy novels are often set in worlds much different from our own and usually include
magic, sorcery and mythical creature.
• The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
A folktale is a story that has been passed down, usually orally, within a culture. It may be
based on superstition and feature supernatural characters. Folktales include fairy
tales, tall tales, trickster tales and other stories passed down over generations.
• Hansel and Gretel
A legend is a story that has been handed down over generations and is believed to be
based on history, though it typically mixes fact and fiction. The hero of a legend is
usually a human.
• King Arthur and the Roundtable
A myth is a traditional story that a particular culture or group once accepted as sacred
and true. It may center on a god or supernatural being and explain how something
came to be, such as lightning or music or the world itself.
• The Greek story of the Titan Prometheus bringing fire to humankind
Science fiction stories examine how science and technology affect the world. The
books often involve fantasy inventions that may be reality in the future.
• The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula Le Guinn