Q:

What is a literary masterpiece?

A:

A literary masterpiece is a work of literature that is considered to be outstanding in terms of its artistry and technique, and is held in high esteem as an original work to be read and studied. A literary masterpiece can take the form of any written work, including a poem, short story, play or novel.

Literary masterpieces, such as the plays of William Shakespeare, have structure and meaning that apply to all of humanity and have survived the passage of time. For example, "Hamlet" masterfully portrays themes involving death and revenge that have universal appeal. Literary masterpieces often make a strong emotional impact on the reader and are influential in shaping world literature.

However, many literary masterpieces are revered more in some cultures than others. For instance, Racine's plays are considered to be literary masterpieces in the French cultural tradition and are often taught in American universities, but they may not hold equal value in other cultures.

The Greeks developed a system of gathering together literature and forming a library of great works of their cultural predecessors. Scholars in the West adopted this practice of validating works that are considered to be the best and most worthy of being commended as having considerable artistic value. These classic works are often taught in humanities courses at universities and other schools and are referred to as the literary canon.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you use the literary present tense?

    A:

    The literary present tense is the practice of using present tense verbs when discussing a work of literature, such as in a critical essay. Because the author writing about a piece of literature is speaking to the person reading the work in the present time, references are in present tense.

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  • Q:

    What is a literary canon?

    A:

    A literary canon is a group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a certain field. For example, one could talk about the canon of Elizabethan drama, which would include the works of William Shakespeare. The term "canon" can be applied to many different groups of work.

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  • Q:

    What is literary doubling?

    A:

    Doubling is a literary device that is used to compare or contrast the familiar with the strange. It is most commonly used in Gothic literature where characters are literally or figuratively doubled in order to examine a hidden nature or desire.

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  • Q:

    What are some examples of literary conventions?

    A:

    Literary conventions are features or practices of certain genres that readers or audiences understand, recognize and accept as techniques to facilitate the plot. The conventional plot of certain romance novels focuses around a male and female character who struggle through difficulties and misunderstandings until they fall in love.

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