Forms of Written Literature



ORDINARY LEVEL LITERATURE IN ENGLISH
PART ONE: THEORY OF LITERATURE: AN INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE

UNIT 8: Written Literature
FORM THREE
In this Unit, the following aspects will be covered:
  • Introduction 
  • Written Literature
  • Major Genres of Written Literature
  • Two Major Divisions of Written Literature
  • Genres of Written Literature Explained
  • Conclusion 
Introduction
Written literature is the form of human expression through writing. That is to say, it is a literature which is expressed or conveyed through written forms. Unlike oral literature, this kind of literature began with the invention of writing.

Written literature can be found in a number of forms, but in this Unit, written literature has been categorized into main three genres: By definition, genre is defined as the kind or style of something especially of art or literature

Major Genres of Written Literature
The three main genres of written literature are:
1. Prose (Novels and short stories)
2. Drama (playa), and
3. Poetry. 
There may be various forms of written literature, but in this book the three forms of written literature are going to be considered.

Literary critics have invented a variety of systems for treating literature as a collection of genres. Often these genres (kinds) have been invented with the aim of making literature less sprawling, more tidy.

In this case, we will discuss the meaning, types, origin and development, and essential features that distinguish one genre from others and those features shared by both genres. This is done before the literary analysis of the texts from each genre.

Genres of Written Literature Explained
Literature is generally divided into three groups, respectively prose, drama, and poetry. 
Prose uses language not in verse form, e.g., novels, short stories, novellas, etc. Drama is play with its act(s) and its scenes in dialogues, conversations, comedies, tragedies, tragic-comedies, etc.
Poetry is the art of poets; poems, in verse form, e.g. ballads, epics, lyrical poetry, etc. There will be further discussions in details on each group above.

Other Two Major Divisions of Written Literature
Apart from three genres mentioned above, written literature can also be divided into large divisions. These are Informative literature and Imaginative literature as explained below: 

Informative Literature
Informative literature presents information that tells us about facts, explanations, history, real people, and so forth. For example, the history of real life of Kinjeketile, Mwalimu Nyerere and Carl Peters. The main purpose of Informative literature is to offer knowledge and facts. 

Imaginative Literature
Imaginative literature gives some entertainment and it aims to arouse thoughts and feelings. Here, the author wants to expresses and communicates his ideas, his feelings, and his attitude to things or people. He/she wants to communicate feelings, not facts; emotion, not information only. Imaginative literature according to many scholars and writers has fuller and deeper sense than informative literature.  Examples of Imaginative literature are so varied. Some of them are: Passed Like a Shadow, Unanswered Cries, The Black Hermit and the like.

Conclusion
These genres of written are bases of literature in general. After completing Theory of Literature, teachers and students remain focused on these three genres. With these genres, students analyse novels, short stories, plays, and poems respectively. This is because after this Unit, there will be illustrative introduction to each literary genre so that students can get the whole picture before entering into the world of literary analysis.
References
Abrahams, M.H (1971) A Glossary of Literary Terms, Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc. New York.

Daniel, K et al (ed.) (2003) Elements of Literature: Fourth Course with Readings in World Literature; Florida Edition, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Austin.

Daniel, K et al (ed.) (2003) Elements of Literature: Sixth Course; Literature of Britain with World Classics; Florida Edition, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Austin.

Kinsella, K et al (2003) Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes; Copper Level, Pearson, Upper Saddle River.

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UNIT 9: A NOVEL

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