History of Literature
The history of literature is the historical development of writings in prose or poetry that attempt to provide entertainment, enlightenment, or instruction to the reader/listener/observer, as well as the development of the literary techniques used in the communication of these pieces. The history of literature is made up of great writers like William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Charles Dicken, etc.
The first author of literature in the world, known by name, was the high priestess of Ur, Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) who wrote hymns in praise of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Much of the early literature from Mesopotamia concerns the activities of the gods but, in time, humans came to be featured as the main characters in such poems as Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta and Lugalbanda and Mount Hurrum (c.2600-2000 BCE). For the study, Literature is divided into the categories of fiction or non-fiction today, but these are often arbitrary decisions as ancient literature, as understood by those who wrote the tales down, as well as those who heard them spoken or sung pre-literacy, was not understood in the same way as it is in the modern-day.
The first book ever written that we know of is The Epic of Gilgamesh: a mythical retelling of an important political figure from history. The oldest known "poems" are anonymous - such as the Rig Vedas of Hinduism, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Song of the Weaver by an unknown Egyptian of the Second Dynasty. The psalms and The Iliad are "attributed" to David and Homer, respectively - but painstaking scholarship has never given them exclusive credit.
By the first decades of the 19th century, truly American literature began to emerge. Though still derived from British literary tradition, the short stories and novels published from 1800 through the 1820s began to depict American society and explore the American landscape in an unprecedented manner. The history of American literature stretches across more than 400 years. It can be divided into five major periods, each of which has unique characteristics, notable authors, and representative works.
Literature allows a person to step back in time and learn about life on Earth from the ones who walked before us. We can gather a better understanding of culture and have a greater appreciation of them. We learn through the way history is recorded, in the forms of manuscripts and through the speech itself. Literature can inform people; it can share history and it becomes the history of a certain place or the world. The documentation of an event or even a story made up can change a culture. Literature reflects cultural norms and values, beliefs, and attitudes.
The literary material has been preserved through the generations both in oral and written forms. In written form, this vast corpus of literature is spread over different languages and scripts, and on different kinds of material like birch bark, palm leaf, cloth, wood, stone, and paper. Digital technologies are changing both how library materials are accessed and increasingly how library materials are preserved. After the Internet Archive digitizes a book from a library to provide free public access to people worldwide, these books go back on the shelves of the library.
Literature improves communication skills. The easiest way to improve vocabulary, writing, and speaking skills is to study literature. Literature teaches you about yourself. Literature teaches about the past. Literature cultivates wisdom and a worldview. Literature entertains.
Literature is of paramount importance for the development of modern society. Literature possesses the capability to transport the reader’s mind into a completely different universe full of love, peace, sorrow, and conflict. It is therefore no wonder that for avid readers, literature is an escape route from the harsh realities of life.
To keep literature alive, schools are offering literature in different languages as an optional subject, and libraries are built with more literature-based books. Around the world, new literacy museums are being built that display various ancient writings of famous writers and poets. Literature is the distinction between cultures, languages, and nations thus it needs to be kept alive.