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Literary Periods

In these pages, The Muse Of Literature explores authors and literary bodies of work from the point of view of the periodthe time and placein which they are written. The authors and works explored here are strongly associated with a specific national or regional literary tradition. The Muse also explores the idea of literary period itself, as well as literary issues that arise because of literary periodicity and location.

about this feature

In this feature, The Muse has two primary objectives: 1) to explore authors and works (bodies of literature) classified by period, 2) to explore issues and questions that arise when considering how the period in which works are written affects authors and their works, and vice versa.

Here, The Muse Of Literature is concerned with authors and works strongly associated with a specific period in the life of a national or regional literary tradition. Both the authors and their works are defined in large measure by the time, place, and milieu they represent. By milieu, The Muse means the host of factors that surround and influence these authors during their lifetime and that are therefore reflected in their work—macroscopic and exogenous factors of a cultural, social, economic, geopolitical, physical, and historic nature.

Examples of such authors and bodies of literature classified by time and surroundings are Elizabethan (Shakespeare), Victorian (Dickens), Colonial America (Cotton Mather) fin de siècle (du Maupassant), Age of Enlightenment (Voltaire), and Jazz Age (Fitzgerald). Both the authors and their works are defined by the place, physical surroundings, and milieu they present. Other examples of bodies of literature characterized by period and surroundings are British Literature, American Literature, French Literature, Russian Literature, and German Literature.


Understanding literary periods

A period is an interval of time characterized by the occurrence of a certain condition, event, or phenomenon. On an historic scale, a period is characterized by a specific and prevalent combination of cultural, ideological, societal, technological, historical, and other wide-ranging trends.

What is a literary period?

A literary period is a unit of time, usually measured in years, decades, or even centuries, which is characterized by an assemblage of cultural, societal, ideological, technological, historic, and other trends occurring at a particular place. A literary period names, describes, and helps define writers and works produced at a particular time and place, like New York in the 1970s or England in 1600.

The assemblage of cultural, societal, ideological, technological, historic, and other trends occurring at a particular place constitute a milieu. A milieu is the assemblage of major environmental trends in effect at a place and time; it's a set of surroundings which affect the thinking and writing of individual authors and groups of authors based at that place. The way things were in New York in the 1970s or England in 1600 are examples of milieus.

Since a writer's beliefs and points of view tend to influence what he writes, his works tend to directly or indirectly represent, reflect, and project the milieu in which he lives or the milieu in which he sets his work.


Technical Aspects Of Literature

The technical aspects of any written work are its properties and techniques as seen from a literary and language perspective.

All writing incorporates and is made up of technical elements like meter, form, sound (rhyme), and figures of speech. Techniques and language elements like these are common to all fields of writing; all writers use them, deliberately or subconsciously. Any particular work can by analyzed, understood, described, and classified by the combination of the writing elements it incorporates.

In this feature, The Muse Of Literature explores writing and writings from a technical and design point of viewstructure, organization, tone, style, language constructions, and all the other technical aspects that make for coherent, expressive, and effective writing, or its opposite.

  • Explore The Muse Of Literature's feature called Technical Aspects of Literature: click here.

How to approach a poem

A pointer is a piece of advice on how to succeed in a specific area. The aim of this feature is to provide a few quick and simple pointers to visitors who want to understand and experience a poem more intensely. The Muse Of Literature offers visitors a few things to think about when approaching a poem so as to get the most from reading or hearing it.

  • Explore The Muse's way to approach a poem: click here.

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