Q:

What are the general classifications of literature?

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Quick Answer

The general categories of literature are non-fiction, poetry, prose, drama and media. These are usually called genres. Literature is broken down into genres to make it easier to identify and discuss.

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Poetry is often considered the oldest form of literature, because the rhyming technique used in poems would have been helpful in a time before written language. The main elements of poetry are rhythm, meter and imagery. Not all poems have to rhyme, and they are not required to be written in complete sentences. Poetry is often filled with emotion.

Prose is any type of literature that is not poetry. Prose is always written in complete sentences, and those sentences are put together to create paragraphs. A verbal form of prose is the folktale, which is created and passed down through generations. Sub-genres of prose include fables, fantasies, legends and myths.

The genre of non-fiction is almost always written as prose. Though it can be creative, non-fiction is most often used for educational reasons. Sometimes non-fiction tells a story, such as an autobiography. It can also be used for scientific papers.

Drama is a text that is meant to be performed. It can be read, but the sole purpose of the piece is performance. In modern society, drama is usually either a play or a movie script.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the standards of literature?

    A:

    The seven standards of literature are: artistry, intellectual value, spiritual values, suggestiveness, universality, style and permanence. While genre fiction may contain some of these things, writing that is considered "literature" contains all of them.

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  • Q:

    What are the branches of literature?

    A:

    The three main branches of literature are prose, poetry and drama. While historically the branches were quite distinct, modern works from the 20th century and beyond increasingly feature combinations of these different forms.

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  • Q:

    How do you read literature?

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    Reading literature critically requires a minimum of two separate readings: one reading for understanding of basic plot, or sequence of events and characters, and a second reading to delve deeper into understanding the meaning of the work. During the first reading, the reader should simply enjoy the work.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between literature and history?

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    Literature can be filled with fiction, and history is generally an account of how things truly happened. Historical documents are accounts of things like wars, revolutions and the rise and fall of particular civilizations. Prehistoric epics are considered literature.

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