Portal:Literature
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Portal:Literature

Introduction

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, though contemporary definitions extend the term to include texts that are spoken or sung (oral literature). The concept has changed meaning over time: nowadays it can broaden to have non-written verbal art forms, and thus it is difficult to agree on its origin, which can be paired with that of language or writing itself. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, culminating in electronic literature.

Selected work

William Gibson in 2007
Pattern Recognition is a novel by science fiction writer William Gibson published in 2003. Set in August and September 2002, the story follows Cayce Pollard, a 32-year-old marketing consultant who has a psychological sensitivity to corporate symbols. The action takes place in London, Tokyo, and Moscow as Cayce judges the effectiveness of a proposed corporate symbol and is hired to seek the creators of film clips anonymously posted to the internet.

The novel's central theme involves the examination of the human desire to detect patterns or meaning and the risks of finding patterns in meaningless data. Other themes include methods of interpretation of history, cultural familiarity with brand names, and tensions between art and commercialization.

Pattern Recognition is Gibson's eighth novel and his first one to be set in the contemporary world. Like his previous work, it has been classified as a science fiction and postmodern novel, with the action unfolding along a thriller plot line. Critics approved of the writing but found the plot unoriginal and some of the language distracting. The book peaked at number four on the New York Times Best Seller list, was nominated for the 2003 British Science Fiction Association Award, and was shortlisted for the 2004 Arthur C. Clarke Award and Locus Awards.

Selected figure

1913 photograph of Ezra Pound
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 (1917-69).

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."

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Lewis Carroll - Henry Holiday - Hunting of the Snark - Plate 2.jpg
Credit: Henry Holiday

The Hunting of the Snark is a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll. Written from 1874 to 1876, the poem borrows the setting, some creatures, and eight portmanteau words from Carroll's earlier poem "Jabberwocky" in his children's novel Through the Looking Glass. This illustration depicts some of the members of the crew of the vessel trying to hunt the titular Snark.

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19 September

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