3. Jahrhunderte von Literaturen
Three Centuries of Literature
from the 19th to the 21st Century

Last Updated 22/04/01
by Richard Grosser
  [email protected]

Literature is commonly regarded as a body of written works. The word is often applied to those imaginative works of poetry and prose distinguished by the intentions of their authors and the excellence of their execution.  Literature may be classified according to a variety of systems, including language, national origin, historical period, genre, and subject matter.


Definitions of the word literature tend to be peripatetic. The Concise Oxford Dictionary describes Literature as, "writings whose value lies in the beauty of form or emotional effect."  The 19th century critic Walter Pater referred to "the matter of imaginative or artistic literature" as a "transcript, not of mere fact, but of fact in its infinitely varied forms."  These definitions really assume that the reader already knows what is literature.  Although, its central meaning, at least, is clearly apparent.  Deriving from the Latin littera, "a letter of the alphabet," literature is first and foremost mankind's entire body of writing; after that it is the body of writing belonging to a given language or people; then it is individual pieces of writing.

Medieval Knight

It is necessary to qualify these statements; to use the word writing when describing literature is itself misleading, for one may describe "oral literature" or "the literature of preliterate peoples."  The art of literature is not just reductive ...to the words on the page; they are selected by the author through the craft of writing.  As an art, literature is the organization of words to give pleasure; through them it elevates and transforms experience; through them it functions in society as a continuing symbolic criticism of values.

3JL Literature Links:
D-Lib Forum and D-Lib Magazine:

* D-Lib - Ready Reference:

* Cultivate Interactive HomePage:

* Project Gutenberg - Official Homepage:

* Project Gutenberg - Master Index: http://fonsg3.let.uva.nl/Homo_Ludens/Gutenberg_Master_Index.html

* Project Gutenberg - Germany:

* HTML Writers Guild:


- Dedicated -

Joseph (Joe) Edward Thomas (dec.)

a History and English teacher, from
Balgowlah High School, NSW AUSTRALIA.
He inspired countless young minds, through revealing
the 'spirit' imbued in many of the works described herein.

= Provocation =
If Information Wants to Be Free . . . Then Who's Going to Pay for It?


Information [3JL Mix]:
Chopin - Op. 34 Nr. 2 Grand Waltz
Shostakovitch - Fantastique Dance
Rammstein - Stripped
Kraftwerk - Information


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