The world literature is composed of millions of literary works all across the globe, written by millions of inspired hands and thought by artistic minds. Through literature, we quest for the unending boundaries of imagination. We journey towards creativity and intellect. Literature brings us stories of the human experiences, cultures, and traditions, historical events, fictional character, fairy tales and more. They are inspired by various themes including love and hatred, kindness and cruelty, friendship and betrayal and peace and war.
In The Plays, you will discover the beautiful world of literature that will provide you a different kind of experience, brought to you by its many forms, styles, patterns, and languages.
Poetry is a popular form of literary art which uses aesthetic qualities and rhythmic patterns to express meanings in lines. Poetry follows certain symbolisms, meters, verses, styles, and rhymes. They talk about cultures, histories, and themes of romance, darkness, nature, and others. One of the greatest expressions of poetry is William Shakespeare’s English sonnets about love and life. Poetry has also taken the forms of songs and psalms.
The prose is another artistic form of language without formal metrical structure and rhythmic pattern. It expresses its meanings in sentences, and not in lines. It can also talk about various themes and stories. One of the most widely used forms of prose is a novel which is a relatively long, written work of narrative fiction. Among the greatest novels created by mankind is Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. A prose can also take the form of a short story and a novella.
Drama is the most prominent form of literature – constantly transforming to different approaches. Drama is combined with music and dance, and characters with ecstatic and well-thought dialogues. A drama can be a story of a history, but most commonly, it is a play of tragedy and comedy. Among of the greatest works of drama are William Shakespeare’s plays The Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. They embody the themes of love and hate, with series of twists and distinct turnout of events.
Journey in our place to discover the works of arts carefully crafted and written by the literary masterminds of all times.
Probably everybody has read a William Shakespeare novel or at least a paragraph. Maybe most of you have read his poems and sonnets too, learning his style and the metrical line. Whether you like it or not, William Shakespeare will always be part of our lives. His works are part of your schools’ English curriculum. You may be unaware too, but some of the words you often use might actually be the words he ‘invented’. Let us discover some of these words that we owe to the “Bard of Avon”:
According to the book “Coined by Shakespeare”, the word ‘addiction’ was first used by Shakespeare in “Othello”, act II, scene 2 as a relatively neutral word with a sense of something like ‘strong inclination’. He also used it in Henry V which means inclination or tendency.
In “Measure for Measure”, act I, scene 1, Duke Vincentio exclaimed, “Thyself and thy belongings are not thine”. The word ‘belongings’ was used deeply to mean personal characteristics that belong to a person. Now, ‘belongings’ is used to refer to things that a person owns.
“Thou cold-blooded slave, hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side,” said Constance in King John. The 17th-century play uses this term to metaphorically describe serial killers and vampires. However, in the present dictionary, ‘cold-blooded’ pertains to animals such as fishes and reptiles, “whose blood temperature ranges from the freezing point upward.”
According to King Henry V, no one should show fear as it could ‘dishearten’ his army. As the opposite of ‘hearten’, Shakespeare used the word to refer to the feeling of being down.
In “As You Like It’, Shakespeare used the words ‘eventful history’ which he means more than one event is taking place. Further, after Shakespeare used the word, it was never used until 200 years later.
Shakespeare’s protagonist Prospero used the word ‘eyeball’ in “The Tempest”. Despite no medical background, Prospero was the first fictional character to coin the term that refers to those round objects with which we see. After discovering ‘eyeball’, Shakespeare then used ‘eyedrop’, ‘eyesore’, and ‘eyewink’.
Shakespeare invented the word ‘fashionable’ in “Troilus and Cressida” when Ulysses referred to time as a ‘fashionable’ host. Shakespeare did not talk about heels, dresses, and jewelry here. What he meant about ‘fashionable’ is good or appropriate.
‘Inaudible’ is one of the many words Shakespeare invented by just adding the prefix “in”, including ‘invulnerable’, ‘indistinguishable’, and ‘inauspicious’. Basically, Shakespeare totally meant the opposite of ‘audible’ which cannot be heard.
Lastly, everybody is using ‘manager’ to refer to those who manage projects, especially in work. Shakespeare used this in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in which King Theseus is looking for the ‘manager of mirth’. Basically, Shakespeare meant of the person who handles, organizes or manages.
These are just a few of the hundreds of words which was attributed to William Shakespeare. We bet you are unconsciously using some of Shakespeare’s original words.
A novel is a different outlet for writers to express or narrate a story about a person, history or value. It has been effective to portray human experiences. Through the years, various novels have passed our eyes and ears, inspiring us and teaching us lessons in life, just like art classes columbus ohio. Check out these classic English novels that you should read:
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678)
This Christian allegory is one of the most significant works of religious English literature. This was also considered one of the first novels written English. The English text comprises 108,260 words and has been translated into over 200 languages. It tackles about a man in search of truth.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
This book is presented as an autobiography of the title character. He was a castaway who 28 years on a distant tropical desert island near Trinidad. There he encountered cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before being rescued. This novel marked the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
This work is a prose satire by Irish writer Jonathan Swift. According to him, he wrote this novel “to vex the world rather than divert it.” It was published seven years after “Robinson Crusoe”, thus critics believe this is a response to Dafoe’s optimistic account of human capability.
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1748)
Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady tells about a young heroine whose quest for virtue is continually thwarted by her family. She was pressured to marry a wealthy man she detests. According to Richardson, this is “the first book in the world for the knowledge it displays of the human heart.”
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)
Tom Jones is a comic novel about how Tom eventually transformed himself from being flawed, because of the help of Sophia Western whom he loved so dearly. Their adventure begins when Tom Jones have to banish to make his own fortune and Sophia follows him to escape an arranged marriage.
The Life and Opinions of TristramShandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759)
This novel by Sterne was published in nine volumes. The book is apparently Tristram’s narration of his life story in which he finds himself discoursing at length on insults and sexual practices, as well as explorations of obstetrics, siege warfare, and philosophy as he struggles to organize and finish the story of his life.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
Frankenstein or “the Modern Prometheus” tackles about the young scientist Victor Frankenstein who creates a ridiculous but wise creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. The story is infused with Gothic novel and Romantic Movement. This is has been hailed as a masterpiece of horror and morbidity.
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
Also known as “The Whale”, this novel is published during the American Renaissance period. Sailor Ishmael recounts his adventure with the obsessive Captain Ahab on the whaling ship Pequod. They are on a quest for revenge on Moby Dick, the white whale that bit off Ahab’s leg.
What is your most favorite novel among the choices?
The popularity of poetry lives on until the present generation. It is a form of literature that uses aesthetic languages, symbols, and underlying messages. Even if poems have evolved, it still doesn’t lose its effectivity of artistic expression. Here are some of the best poems of all time:
Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare
On top of our list is Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” which is one of his best-known 154 sonnets which consists of three quatrains followed by a couplet. It starts with a question “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shakespeare wanted to tell someone who is incomparable to the summer’s day, as this person doesn’t fade away. The person’s beauty is preserved in the poetry itself.
Holy Sonnet 10: Death, Be Not Proud, John Donne
Also known as Sonnet X, this piece by John Donne is a fourteen-line poem first published in 1633. It is included as one of the 19 sonnets that compose Donne’s Holy Sonnets, among his most well-known works. This tackles about the idea that death should not be the subject of fear and despair. On his sixth rhetorical attack, he mentioned that if a man believes in a soul, then death is nothing to worry about as soul lives eternally.
Daffodils, William Wordsworth
Daffodils is a lyric poem which is considered to be William Wordsworth’s most famous work. This was inspired by Wordsworth’s real encounter with daffodils. It presents the power and beauty of the natural world. He wrote this poem during the time of industrialization when man prides the rise of technology. However, for Wordsworth, nature can bring you more joy and bliss.
A Psalm of Life, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Longfellow wrote this nine-stanza poem to inspire readers to live actively, not allowing the past to stop you nor taking your future for granted. According to the poem, the force of science seems to hinder one’s spirit or soul to act and live. Thus, we need to be active as this can lead to the greatness of mankind.
On His Blindness, by John Milton
English poet Milton wrote this poem with reference to his condition of being totally blind. He transcends the misery he feels in the poem which deals with the limitations and shortcomings in life. He framed himself in the poem not as a suffering or sad individual, but as a failed servant to God. In his blindness, he sees a vision of God commanding thousands. He realizes that serving God requires you to bear hardships that life has burdened you with.
The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus
Lazarus wrote The New Colossus in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The poem was then engraved on a bronze plaque mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level in 1903. Lazarus compares the Statue of Liberty to the Colossus of Rhodes which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed, however fully recovered during Renaissance. Thus, The New Colossus talks about resilience and the window for new opportunities.
Apart from the list, what are the other poems you think should be included in the list?
Plays are one of the best art forms of expressions in portraying a story about a certain idea and concept. Writers have been so patient and imaginative in creating these plays with twisted and distinct plots, interesting characters and deep messages. Because of their impact on the world, they have been critically-acclaimed, multi-awarded and considered as among the most influential literary works. Here is our list of the top 5 plays of all time:
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
One of the greatest literary pieces is Shakespeare’s Hamlet which dramatizes the tragic story of Prince Hamlet’s revenge towards his uncle Claudius who murdered his brother and married his mother to seize the throne. Shakespeare wrote this tragedy with characters in an abnormal state of mind with Hamlet centered on problems arising from love, death, and betrayal. Hamlet has 5 acts, which is so far the longest play of Shakespeare and is regarded as the most influential work in world literature.
Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill
This autobiographical play written by Eugene O’Neill in 1940s was considered to be one of the finest plays of the 20th century. It followed his own story with his brother and parents. The play centers the pain of family expressing blame, accusations, and resentments. This includes the mother’s addiction to morphine, father’s miserliness, brothers’ illnesses and the family’s addiction to whiskey. This piece received 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
This play written by Edward Albee was first staged in 1962. The title of the play is a pun on the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” from Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs. This examines the breakdown of the marriage of the couple, Martha and George. Their disappointment with their relationship leads to bitterness and frustration between them, making them question the difference between reality and illusion. The play won 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play written by Arthur Miller. The play premiered on Broadway in February 1949, running for 742 performances. It revolved around the sad story of the sales man Willy Loman and his delusions that barely keep him afloat. The play uses flashbacks to portray Willy’s memory during the reality. His illusion suggests his past and his lost pastoral life. The more he engages into illusion, the harder for him to know and face reality. Death of a Salesman bagged 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.
Angels in America by Tony Kushner
Angels in America by Tony Kushner was played into two parts entitled Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. The play is a symbolic and metaphorical examination of AIDS and homosexuality in America in America during the 1980s. Its major characters are supernatural beings and deceased persons who play multiple roles, all involving homosexuality. Some of them are the gay couple and the homophobic man, among others. This play won numerous awards including the Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It has also been made into television series and opera.
Have you seen one of these plays performed in your school?
Writing is an essential tool to express our deepest thoughts. Writers need inspirations to mold a masterpiece that reflects society and all concepts. America has been a home to thousands of incredible literary works. Here is our list of the greatest American authors who have exuded undying passion to writing:
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804 – 1864
Hawthorne was a novelist and short story writer who has been labeled of his dark romantic theme which suggests that sin, guilt, and evil are natural qualities of mankind. His works which are set in a past New England showcases historical fiction with concepts of ancestral sin, guilt, and retribution. His most famous novel is “The Scarlet Letter”.
Edgar Allan Poe, 1809 –1849
Poe was a writer, editor and literary critic who is best known for his poetry and short stories which center mystery and suspense. He is even considered the inventor of detective fiction. His works were not only popular in America, but also in Europe. Some of his notable poems are “The Raven” and “The Bells”. He was also known for his stories The Masque of the Red Death and The Pit and the Pendulum.
Walt Whitman, 1819-1892
Whitman became a prominent poet in the world for his disregard for traditional rhyme and meter to celebrate democracy of thoughts and sensual, please. One of his masterpieces is “Leaves of Grass”, a collection of poems studied by various poets and critics and was transformed into songs and numerous languages. His influence can be found everywhere – feature films, musical works, and best seller lists.
Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886
Dickinson is considered one of the most powerful voices of American culture. During her lifetime, she was not known as a poet. In fact, after she died, her sister found almost 2, 000 poems. She experimented poetry and deviated from the conventional first person point of view. The speakers of some of her poems are observers in the society. Her works include “The Soul has Bandaged Moments” and “Fame is a Fickle Food”.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896 – 1940
Fitzgerald was a novelist regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. He is best known for his “The Great Gatsby” which is a story of doomed love between a man and a woman, in the grip of greed and hollow pursuit of pleasure. This became a constant best-seller which sold millions of copies. He also wrote “The Beautiful and Damned” and “This Side of Paradise”.
Ernest Hemingway, 1899 – 1961
Hemingway was a popular novelist, short story writer, and journalist who published seven novels, six short story collections and two non-fiction literary works. His pieces depend on the themes of love, war, wilderness, and loss. He is notable for his “Indian Camp”, “A Farewell to Arms”, “Death in the Afternoon” and “The Old Man and the Sea”. He has received Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. In 1961, he committed suicide just like his father, brother, and sister.
Henry James, 1843 – 1916
James is considered one of the key figures of the 19th-century literary realism. He is notable for his writings that center a character’s point of view. He used interior monologues and narrators in his stories, which brought a new depth to narrative fiction. Some of his prominent works are “The Portrait of a Lady” and “The Wings of the Dove”
Have you read some of their works?
Writers have dedicated their ideas and inspirations to put to words the stories of religion, culture, tragedies and basically everything about life. They used distinct styles and devices in crafting their messages in various literary works. Now, let us take a look at some of the most influential works of fictions that you should not miss:
The First Folio by William Shakespeare
This folio was composed of William Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies which was published in 1623. It was considered one of the most influential books ever published. It was prepared by Shakespeare’s friends, John Heminges and Henry Condell and was dedicated to Shakespeare’s “incomparable pair of brethren” William and Philip Herbert. It contained 36 plays generally accepted by Shakespeare.
The Odyssey by Homer
The Odyssey is the second of the two epic Greek poems attributed to the ancient poet known as Homer. Apart from The Iliad, it was considered one of the best works of Western literature. It was composed near the end of 8th century. The poem focuses on the hero Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman myths) and his adventure to Ithaca following the fall of Troy.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
This Spanish novel was published in two volumes in 1605 and 1615. It follows the story of an elderly knight named Don Quixote who had madly read many books of chivalry which led him to set out an adventure with his pragmatic squire Sancho Panza. Ingenious Nobleman Mister Quixote of La Mancha, its full title is one of the earliest European novels. Its author Miguel de Cervantes was almost an exact contemporary of Shakespeare.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles
Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles. This play was first performed in about 430 BCE which tackles the story of Oedipus, the King of Thebes who was prophesized that he is going to kill his own father, Laius and marry his mother. He has successfully solved the riddle of the Sphinx which saved his land from being devastated by plague. He married his mother, Jocasta, without knowing that they are related.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Very popular with children, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland tells us the story of Alice who fell through a rabbit hole and reached a dreamy world populated by peculiar and fantastic characters including Humpty Dumpty, the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire cat and the Hatter, among others. Lewis Carroll had references on people, situations, and buildings in Oxford and at Christian churches.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories I a frame story between 1387 and 1400. It follows thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury and told these stories in their journey. Chaucer reflected religion in his stories making a significant theme of the work. It was also evident that Chaucer used various linguistic styles and rhetorical devices in his tales.
How many of these fictions have you read?
In the present time, we read novels, poems, plays and essays that continue to inspire and awaken us about culture, history and everyday living. These are written by incredible writers who were very passionate in capturing the world. Here is our list of the 10 best writers of all time:
William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616
William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor and is considered to be one of the greatest writers of all time. He was the man behind the ever popular “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet”. Apart from plays, he is also known for his poems and sonnets. His works are translated into over 50 languages and performed all over the world for audiences of all ages.
Homer, c. 800 BCE–c. 701 BCE
Homer is a Greek poet who is credited as the first writer of the epic stories of “The Odyssey” and “The Iliad” which had an enormous impact on Western culture. Homer’s style falls more in the minstrel poet or balladeer category, with repetitive elements and epic content.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821 – 1881
Dostoevsky is a Russian novelist and a short-story writer who is best known for his novella “Notes from the Underground” and novels “Crime and Punishment”, “The Idiot” and “The Possessed”. Dostoevsky is considered to be one of the greatest psychologists in the history of literature.
Jane Austen, 1775 – 1817
Jane Austen was a Georgian era author who was popular for her social commentary in literary classics “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” which bridged the gap between romance and realism.
Leo Tolstoy, 1828 – 1910
Tolstoy is also a Russian author who wrote the acclaimed novels “Anna Karenina”, “Death of Ivan Ilyich” and “War and Peace”. Tolstoy was remarkable of his realistic approach, basing his novels from his day-to-day life activities.
Charles Dickens, 1812 – 1870
English novelist Charles Dickens was considered one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era. He received wider popularity for his simple and sophisticated appeal to his stories. He is widely known for his “A Tale of Two Cities” and “A Christmas Carol”.
J. R. R. Tolkien, 1892-1973
Tolkien was the man behind award-winning novels and blockbuster films “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He found writing fantasy fiction a hobby. He even felt before that his fans considered him as “lunatic”.
George Orwell, 1903 – 1950
Orwell was an English novelist and essayist known for his “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. He addressed some major political movements such as imperialism, fascism, and communism in his works.
Mark Twain, 1835 – 1910
Twain made his adventures an inspiration to his works including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Twain, who used the pseudonym Samuel Langhorne Clemens was most notable for his distinct humor in how works.
Victor Hugo, 1802 – 1885
Victor Hugo was a French poet, author, and playwright widely known for his “Les Miserables”. He also had his own brand of romanticism which he portrayed on his “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. In this novel, he also presented how harsh and degrading a society can be.
Who are your favorite writers? Comment down below.
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