Literature broadly refers to any collection of written or oral work, but it more commonly and narrowly refers to writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry, in contrast to academic writing and newspapers. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to now include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed.
Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as autobiography, diaries, memoir, letters, and the essay, as well as in the disciplines of history and philosophy.
The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean
is a novel written in 1858 by Scottish author . One of the first works of juvenile fiction
to feature exclusively juvenile heroes, the story relates the adventures of three boys marooned on a South Pacific
island, the only survivors of a shipwreck.
A typical Robinsonade - a genre of fiction inspired by Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe - and one of the most popular of its type, the book first went on sale in late 1857 and has never been out of print. Among the novel's major themes are the civilising effect of Christianity, 19th-century British imperialism in the South Pacific, and the importance of hierarchy and leadership. It was the inspiration for William Golding's 1954 dystopian novel Lord of the Flies, which inverted the morality of The Coral Island; in Ballantyne's story the children encounter evil, but in Lord of the Flies evil is within them.
The novel was considered a classic for elementary-school children of the early 20th century in Britain, and in the United States it was a staple of suggested reading lists for high-school students. Modern critics consider The Coral Island to feature a dated imperialist view of the world, but although it is less popular today than it once was, it was adapted into a four-part children's television drama broadcast by ITV in 2000.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson
(December 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886) was an American poet
. While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme
as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886--when Lavinia, Dickinson's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems--that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson. Despite some unfavorable reviews and some skepticism during the late 19th and early 20th century as to Dickinson's literary prowess, she is now almost universally considered to be one of the most important American poets.
||I had begun life with benevolent intentions and thirsted for the moment when I should put them in practice and make myself useful to my fellow beings. Now all was blasted; instead of that serenity of conscience which allowed me to look back upon the past with self-satisfaction, and from thence to gather promise of new hopes, I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures such as no language can describe.
|-- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
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Today in literature
- 1647 - Johann Heinrich Acker, German writer born
- 1774 - Robert Southey, English poet and biographer born
- 1827 - William Blake, English poet and painter died
- 1831 - Helena Blavatsky, Ukrainian-born author born
- 1866 - Jacinto Benavente, Spanish writer born
- 1876 - Mary Roberts Rinehart, American author born
- 1880 - Radclyffe Hall, British author born
- 1926 - Wallace Markfield, American novelist born
- 1955 - Thomas Mann, German writer died
- 1964 - Ian Fleming, English novelist died
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