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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

Annie Dillard in 2011
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a 1974 nonfiction narrative book by American author Annie Dillard. Told from a first-person point of view, the book details an unnamed narrator's explorations near her home, and various contemplations on nature and life. The title refers to Tinker Creek, which is outside Roanoke in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Dillard began writing Pilgrim in the spring of 1973, using her personal journals as inspiration. Separated into four sections that signify each of the seasons, the narrative takes place over the period of one year.

The book records the narrator's thoughts on solitude, writing, and religion, as well as scientific observations on the flora and fauna she encounters. Touching upon themes of faith, nature, and awareness, Pilgrim is also noted for its study of theodicy and the inherent cruelty of the natural world. The author has described it as a "book of theology", and she rejects the label of nature writer. Dillard considers the story a "single sustained nonfiction narrative", although several chapters have been anthologized separately in magazines and other publications. The book is analogous in design and genre to Henry David Thoreau's Walden (1854), the subject of Dillard's master's thesis at Hollins College. Critics often compare Dillard to authors from the Transcendentalist movement; Edward Abbey in particular deemed her Thoreau's "true heir".

Selected figure

A photograph of Lie from around 1900
Lie Kim Hok (Chinese: 李金福; pinyin: Lǐ Jīnfú; 1 November 1853 – 6 May 1912) was a peranakan Chinese teacher, writer, and social worker active in the Dutch East Indies and styled the "father of Chinese Malay literature". Lie is considered influential to the colony's journalism, linguistics, and literature. However, as a result of the language politics in the Indies and independent Indonesia, his work has become marginalised.

Lie published his first books, including the critically acclaimed syair (poem) Sair Tjerita Siti Akbari and grammar book Malajoe Batawi, in 1884. Over the following two years Lie published numerous books, including Tjhit Liap Seng, considered the first Chinese Malay novel. He also acquired printing rights for Pembrita Betawi, a newspaper based in Batavia (now Jakarta), and moved to the city. After selling his printing press in 1887, the writer spent three years working in various lines of employment until he found stability in 1890 at a rice mill operated by a friend. The following year he married Tan Sioe Nio, with whom he had four children. Lie published two books in the 1890s and, in 1900, became a founding member of the Chinese organisation Tiong Hoa Hwe Koan, which he left in 1904. Lie focused on his translations and social work for the remainder of his life, until his death from typhus at age 58.

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Suikoden.jpg
Credit: Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Water Margin is a novel attributed to Shi Nai'an. Considered one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, the novel tells the story 108 outlaws that gather to form a sizable army, are granted amnesty by the government, and are sent on campaigns to resist foreign invaders and suppress rebel forces. This woodblock print depicts Yang Lin, the hero of the novel.

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Today in literature

21 April

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