1. What is the Western Literature all about? Western Literature is literature which is written or composed in languages which are identified as Indo-European. The history of Western Literature encompasses a range of works in many languages from epic poetry to non-linear novels, as well as drama and works of non-fiction While it is difficult, if not impossible to succinctly state what Western Literature is “all about,” the content of Western Literature is as broad and as complex as the various cultures, historical time periods, and individual authors which shape its history.
While it is true that the term Western Literature refers to works written in specific Indo-European languages, the term Western Literature does not, in practice, relate to all written works in Indo-European languages, but rather to a select number of representative works which are regarded as Canonical. This Canon gives an indication of the broad tendencies and evolutions of Western Literature, and offers an historical record of the evolution of literature as a form of art as well as a form of historical record, and an instrument of social change.
Western Literature is “all about” the respective cultures and functions it is directed toward at any given time, sometimes manifesting as a movement of intense poetic expression and at other times offering a dispassionate factual account of historical events. Some works of fiction in Western Literature function as methods of pure escapism and some for deep, expressive artistry. There is no single technique, or even set of techniques, which can define Western Literature. 2. how old is Western Literature? Western Literature began in classical antiquity and at that point in history took the form of epic poetry and philosophical discourses.
Also, classical dramas and works of ethics and history. The earliest roots of Western Literature began many thousands of years ago; however written documents were established somewhat later after the era of the oral tradition in Western Literature had waned. Greek literature has existed since 300 A. D. and beyond that into the past. Western Literature is at least as old as the earliest surviving Greek works. 3. How has it survived? Western Literature has survived the same way all cultural identities and expressions survive: by the continued creation and exploration of its creators and appreciators.
The single most characteristic aspect of Western Literature is its diversity of forms, themes, and its ability to grow to meet each new age and each new cultural condition which manifests itself. Because Western Literature is not only a record of Western Cult ure and a medium through which the culture is transmitted and understood — but an actual fundamental underlying principle of the culture itself — it could be said that Western Culture survives by bent of Western Literature and not vice-versa.
The idea that literature can define a culture is probably not unique or even a very modern conception — given that even non-literary cultures defined themselves by myth and other forms of storytelling; however, Western Literature, particularly modern literature, may be the first literature to be self-aware of its intrinsic influence and contribution to Western culture. It may be the first literature to have emerged from a self-aware literary history.
The survival of Western Literature depends less on the success of Western Literature on artistic or even technical means, than on the thriving of the culture as a whole which will ensure that Western Literature continues to evolve and serve the culture it expresses even if the future forms of that expression may be presently unknowable by interested scholars or observers. 4. Does Western Literature still have meaning in 2007. Western Literature exerts the same cultural influence and exists out of the same cultural necessities in 2007 as it did in AD 200.
The only differences are cosmetic. It may be that books and poetry and plays are not the primary transmitters of Western Literature but that web-sites, blogs, and other forms of media including television and movies are a part of the whole of Western Literature. The role of any culture’s literature is to help preserve, define, and transmit the cultural values, ideas, and experiences of the people who embrace a language for means of self-expression.
The need for self-expression has not changed, nor has the efficacy of language as a medium for self-expression. Although it is possible that the traditional Canon of Western Literature may be due for a radical change in content or in historical analysis, the continuation fo Western Literature as meaningful and ever-evolving cultural constant is assured. 5. In what forms has Western Literature been created and transmitted?
Western Literature has taken the form of epic poems, lyric poems, songs, narrative poems, novels, plays, books of history, books of psychology and social science, memoirs, travelogues, spiritual writings, prophecies, personal confessions, and many other forms. In modern times, blogs, websites, movies, TV shows, video games, and many other forms of media can be considered all or in part, a form of Western Literature.