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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

T. S. Eliot in 1934
"A Song for Simeon" is a 37-line poem written in 1928 by American-English poet T. S. Eliot. It is one of five poems that Eliot contributed to the Ariel poems series of 38 pamphlets by several authors published by Faber and Gwyer. "A Song for Simeon" was the sixteenth in the series and included an illustration by avant garde artist Edward McKnight Kauffer. The poems, including "A Song for Simeon", were later published in both the 1936 and 1963 editions of Eliot's collected poems.

In 1927, Eliot had converted to Anglo-Catholicism and his poetry, starting with the Ariel Poems, took on a decidedly religious character. "A Song for Simeon" is seen by many critics and scholars as a discussion of the conversion experience. In the poem, Eliot retells the story of Simeon from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, a just and devout Jew who encounters Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus entering the Temple of Jerusalem. Promised by the Holy Ghost that he would not die until he had seen the Saviour, Simeon sees in the infant Jesus the Messiah promised by the Lord and asks God to permit him to "depart in peace" (Luke 2:25–35). Several critics have debated whether Eliot's depiction of Simeon is a negative portrayal of a Jewish figure and evidence of anti-Semitism on Eliot's part.

Selected figure

A painting of Sarah Trimmer by Henry Howard
Sarah Trimmer (née Kirby; 6 January 1741 – 15 December 1810) was a writer and critic of 18th-century British children's literature, as well as an educational reformer. Her periodical, The Guardian of Education, helped to define the emerging genre by seriously reviewing children's literature for the first time; it also provided the first history of children's literature, establishing a canon of the early landmarks of the genre that scholars still use today. Trimmer's most popular children's book, Fabulous Histories, inspired numerous children's animal stories and remained in print for over a century.

Trimmer was also an active philanthropist. She founded several Sunday schools and charity schools in her parish. To further these educational projects, she wrote textbooks and manuals for women interested in starting their own schools. Trimmer's efforts inspired other women, such as Hannah More, to establish Sunday school programs and to write for children and the poor.

Trimmer's works are dedicated to maintaining many aspects of the social and political status quo. As a high church Anglican, she was intent on promoting the established Church of England and on teaching young children and the poor the doctrines of Christianity. Her writings outlined the benefits of social hierarchy, arguing that each class should remain in its God-given position. Yet, while supporting many of the traditional political and social ideologies of her time, Trimmer questioned others, such as those surrounding gender and the family.

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Gustave Doré - Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote - Part 1 - Chapter 1 - Plate 1 "A world of disorderly notions, picked out of his books, crowded into his imagination".jpg
Credit: Gustave Doré

Don Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Widely considered one of the greatest works of fiction ever published, it follows the adventures of Alonso Quijano, an hidalgo who reads so many chivalric novels that he decides to set out to revive chivalry, under the name Don Quixote. This illustration depicts Quijano before he begins his quest.

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Today in literature

20 June

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Concepts: Books · Library and information science · Novels · Poetry · Theatre · Writing
Genres: Children and Young Adult · Horror fiction · Speculative fiction
Authors: Charles Dickens · Oscar Wilde · Robert E. Howard · Shakespeare · Jane Austen
Series: Discworld · Harry Potter · James Bond · King Arthur · Middle-earth · Oz · Twilight · Narnia
Regions: French and Francophone
Religions: Bible · Quran · Book of Mormon

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Concepts: Biographies · Books · Comics · Magazines · Manga · Novels · Poetry · Short stories · Translation studies
Genres: Alternate history · Children's literature · Crime · Fantasy · Horror · Mythology · Romance · Science fiction
Authors: Honoré de Balzac · Roald Dahl · William Shakespeare
Series: Artemis Fowl · Chronicles of Narnia · Discworld · Harry Potter · His Dark Materials · Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy · Inheritance Cycle · James Bond · King Arthur · Middle-earth · Percy Jackson · Redwall · A Series of Unfortunate Events · Shannara · Sherlock Holmes · A Song of Ice and Fire · Star Wars · Sword of Truth · Twilight · Warriors · Water Margin · Wizard of Oz
Regions: Australian literature · Indian literature · Persian literature

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