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.
is a novella
by Margaret Atwood
. It was published in 2005 as part of the first set of books in the Canongate Myth Series
where contemporary authors rewrite ancient myths
. In The Penelopiad
reminisces on the events during the Odyssey
, life in Hades
, and her relationships with her parents. A chorus
of the twelve maids, whom Odysseus believed were disloyal and whom Telemachus
hanged, interrupt Penelope's narrative to express their view on events. The maids' interludes use a new genre each time, including a jump-rope rhyme
, a lament
, an idyll
, a ballad
, a lecture, a court trial and several types of songs.
The novella's central themes include the effects of story-telling perspectives, double standards between the sexes and the classes, and the fairness of justice. Atwood had previously used characters and storylines from Greek mythology in fiction such as her novel The Robber Bride, short story The Elysium Lifestyle Mansions and poems "Circe: Mud Poems" and "Helen of Troy Does Counter Dancing" but used Robert Graves' The Greek Myths and E. V. Rieu and D. C. H. Rieu's version of the Odyssey to prepare for this novella.
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound
(30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an expatriate
American poet and critic who was a major figure of the early modernist
movement. His contribution to poetry began with his development of Imagism
, a movement derived from classical Chinese
and Japanese poetry
, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language. His best-known works include Ripostes
(1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
(1920) and the unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos
Outraged by the carnage of World War I, Pound lost faith in England. He moved to Italy in 1924, and throughout the 1930s and 1940s embraced fascism. During World War II the Italian government paid him to make hundreds of radio broadcasts criticizing the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Jews. As a result, he was arrested by American forces in Italy in 1945 on charges of treason. While in custody he had begun work on sections of The Cantos that became known as The Pisan Cantos (1948), for which he was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1949 by the Library of Congress, triggering enormous controversy. His political views ensure that his work remains as controversial now as it was during his lifetime; Hemingway nevertheless wrote: "The best of Pound's writing – and it is in the Cantos – will last as long as there is any literature."
||It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object. Philosophically considered, therefore, the two passions seem essentially the same, except that one happens to be seen in a celestial radiance, and the other in a dusky and lurid glow.
|— Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
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