Literature is any written work that deals with man and his experiences expressed in artistic, imaginative, creative, and meaningful languages which arouses a noble feeling of pleasure in its interpretation and commentary on man’s fate and destiny.

Literature is an essential part of history. It tells us something about our past and our present. It has been used to inform what is happening in the country and the world. It is also use for entertainment, to instruct and improve the readers.


Prose and Poetry

Prose is writing in narrative form with sentences and paragraphs. It uses everyday language.

Poetry is writing in form of lines and stanzas. It has rhyme and rhythm, and melodious tone. Ideas are expressed in aesthetic and meaningful language. It usually uses figures of speech.


Fiction and Non-fiction

Fiction is a work with imagined facts which illustrates a truth about life. It is derived from the Latin word fingere (“to form“), may be broadly defined as any type of narrative–oral or written, poetic or prose, dramatic, mythic, or folk–that creates an imaginative rather than a factual reality.2

Non-fiction is a work based entirely on facts and true events.


Types of Poetry

Dramatic Poetry is known as a dramatic poem, is an emotional piece of literature which includes a story which is recited of sung. It refers to the dramatic genre of poetry. (

Lyric Poetry refers to short, subjective poems that talk about a single idea or theme and are intended to arouse feelings and emotions. Lyric comes from the Greek word lyrikos.2 It often involves a speaker who expresses his/her feelings and thoughts about a particular emotional experience. Originally, a lyric was a song accompanied by a lyre. Today, the word lyrics is used to refer to the words or text of a song.1

Narrative Poetry is an account of events, or simply a story, expressed in poetry.


Types of Literature

Allegory is a literary form that is much like a parable or a fable except in length and complexity of topic. It carries both a surface meaning and a literal meaning. In order to convey deeper meaning of words, metaphors and symbols are often used by the writer.1 It is a narrative in which the characters, events, and setting represent deeper truths or generalizations than those suggested by the surface story. Allegory can thus be understood on more than one level.  The more profound meaning, however–religious, moral, political, or personal–is usually of greater importance than the fiction itself.  The meaning conveyed may be obvious, subtle, or virtually concealed by the writer.2

Anecdote is an interesting and amusing story. It is a short, entertaining account of an event or incident. It is usually based on real life.1

Autobiography is an author’s written account of his or her own life.1

Ballad is a poem that tells a dramatic story in a simple, direct style suitable for setting to music.  The form is characterized by informal diction, by a narrative largely dependent on action and dialogue, by thematic intensity, and by a stress on repetition. The typical ballad stanza is a quatrain containing rhymed second and fourth lines accentuated by alternating lines of trimeter and tetrameter verse.2

Biography is a life account of a person written by other people. The word biography (Greek, “record of a life”).2

Comedy is used to describe a genre of humorous plays that deal with ordinary or domestic events and end happily. It comes from the Greek word komos which means revel.2 It is a drama that makes the audience laugh and has a happy ending.

Corrido is a poem with measures of eight syllables and recited to a martial beat.

Drama is derived from the Greek verb dran, meaning “to act” or “to do,” refers to actions or deeds as they are performed in a theatrical setting for the benefit of a body of spectators.2 It is a type of literature that is meant to be performed before an audience. It is made up of one or more acts.1

Elegy is a poem expressing melancholy, grief, and death. It is a mournful poem that laments the death of a loved one.

Epistolary novel is a literary work composed of a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, and other related documents. The term epistolary refers to the older term for a letter, or epistle.1

Essay literally means “a trial or an attempt.” It is a type of prose literature that deals with one subject and expresses the author’s personal thoughts and feelings on a subject.1 The essay, the most flexible of all literary forms, offers writers maximum freedom with respect to choice of subject, length of composition, and style of expression. An essay can be formal or informal, personal or impersonal, highly organized or rambling, playful or didactic, serious or satirical.2

Epic is an adventure of a hero under supernatural elements. It also reflects the values of a particular group. It promotes unity in a society. The term epic came from the Greek word epos, “word” or “tale“. An epic is a long narrative poem or prose work, retelling important events in the life of a central hero or heroine, who is usually seen as representative of his or her culture.2

Fable is a narrative that uses animals as characters, giving them human attributes. A distinctive feature of fables is that they convey a moral truth. They teach virtues and values.1 The term is derived from the Latin fabula, “a telling.”2

Farce is an exaggerated comedy. It is a dramatic form that derives much of its comic appeal from broad physical humor, improbable situations, and exaggerated characters.  Its name, from the Latin farcire (“to stuff”), suggests its often chaotic nature.  Unlike more refined and rational comedy, farce delights in the theatrical and the fantastic.  The typical farce makes us laugh at situations which in real life would cause extreme pain or embarrassment.  Thus, physical abuse, sexual impropriety, exposure, and even death are staples of farce.2

Folktale is a story that usually began from the storytellers of ancient villages. These tales are handed down orally as part of cultural tradition.1

Haiku is a form of poetry famous in Japan. It is a reflection of a person’s feelings and thoughts.1 It is composed of only three lines of seventeen syllables and is arranged in lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.2 Japanese haikus are noted for their simplicity and depth despite the seeming lightness.1

Legend is a story about the origin of things. It is a long-told story or a group of related stories about a person or a place that is popularly believed to have some historical truth.2

Melodrama is a sad drama but has a happy ending. It is a rigidly conventionalized genre of popular drama, theatrical rather than literary in appeal, characterized by rapid and exciting physical action, sharply contrasted and simplified characters, and colorful alternation of violence, pathos, and humor.  The central situation in melodrama–victimization of helpless innocence by powerful evil forces–gives rise to four basic characters:  the hero and the heroine, a comic ally who assists them, and the villain against whom they are pitted.  Instead of tragic inevitability, melodrama utilizes coincidence and surprise to keep the action constantly at high tension.  Striving for staggering effects and powerful emotional shocks, melodrama builds to frequent climaxes and favors scenes of confrontation, pursuit, and escape, ending in striking tableaux.  Language and gesture in melodrama are forceful and impassioned.2

Metrical Tale is the short story of poetry. It deals with any emotion, told in a straightforward manner.

Myth is a story about gods and goddesses. Myths are stories that narrate in an imaginative and symbolic manner the total and basic structures upon which a culture rests.  Given this emphasis on what is fundamental to cultural meaning and value, the myth may appear to be fantastic and bizarre, because the mythic story cannot be explained in the terms of the ordinary conventions of the culture.  In fact, the ordinary conventions of the culture are understood as having their origins in the myth.2

Novel is a work of fiction that is longer and more complex than a short story. In a novel, the setting, character, conflict, and plot are developed in detail. Because a novel is long, it allows for more complex plots and, consequently, subplots also emerge.1 The word novel is derived from the Italian novella, a compact prose tale somewhat longer than a short story.2

Ode is a poem praising an object which the writer admires. It is the most elevated and dignified kind of lyric poetry, was originally a ceremonious poem written to celebrate public occasions or exalted subjects.2

Parable is a story that illustrates a moral, religious, or philosophical lesson. It often suggests ways for proper action in life.1 A parable–from the Greek parabole, “a setting beside“–is a brief moral tale that uses the devices of allegory. The parable resembles the fable, but whereas a fable is a realistic narrative, a parable is an extended metaphor that alludes to spiritual truth through a simple story.2

Psalm is song praise to God.

Short Story is a brief fictional narrative that intends to create a strong and powerful impression on the reader. It is relatively brief and is intended to be read in one sitting.1

Social Drama can be comic or tragic. It pictures the life of today, craving for change.

Sonnet is derived from the Italian sonetto, meaning “little song,” the sonnet is a poem of 14 iambic pentameter lines. Sonnets have been written in various rhyme schemes, but the most durable pattern has been the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet. It consists of an octave (8 lines) rhyming abbaabba and a sextet (6 lines) using two or three rhymes in various combinations.2

Tragedy is a drama about a story of a hero’s struggle against dynamic forces. He meets death or ruin without success or satisfaction. Tragedy represented the sufferings of noble characters in order to stir pity in the audience.2


1 From LINKING THE WORLD THROUGH ENGLISH II, second edition by DIWA textbooks

2 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia



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