The word `literature’ comes from the Latin word `litera’ which means a written character or a letter. Early literature was oral, meant to be memorized and recited. Later, literature was written down and read. All cultures and countries have their own literature. There are many forms of literature such as folktales, poetry etc. here are some of them.
• Folktales these are traditional stories which belonging to one particular culture. They help to the people explain and understand their social customs, religious beliefs, historical events and eve natural phenomena. Many fair tales, animals tales, legends and myths are included in folktales- Mulla Nasruddin, is a folktale here from Turkey; Raven, the spirit of the raven bird, is a trickster god in myths of many native peoples of North America..
• Poetry writing that has a definite rhythm is called poetry. Sometimes, the words in a poem rhyme, but that is not necessary. Epic, sonnet, lyric and limerick are a few kinds of poetry- Ramayana, an epic poem by Valmiki.
• Letters Generally letters are very private. However, those written by famous people are often collected and published- Two Alone, Two together, letters between Jawaharlal Nehru and Indhra Gandhi.
• Diary people write diaries to express their thoughts or record events. Sometimes a dairy is so interesting that it is published and read by others- The diary of Young Girl by Anne Frank, a young girl hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
• Drama a composition which is in the form of a dialogue is called a player or a drama. It is meant to act on the stage- Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
• Biography the little life story of a real person is called a biography. Biographies are generally written about famous people- Kalpana Chawla a life by Padmanabhan.
*An autobiography is the life story of a person that is written by herself or himself- My life by Bill Clinton.
• Novel a story that is fictitious and is a volume or more long is called a novel. There are many kinds of novels-historical, mystery, science fiction, romantic etc- Baro Dii by Sarat Chandra Chatopadhyay, the Bengali writer.
• Short story some stories only describes one character, a situation or an incident. These are called short stories-The open Window by Saki.
• Travelogue The impressions of a traveler, what she or he saw and experienced while traveling is called a travelogue- Rihlah by the ancient traveler, Ibn Battauta, who traveled for 30 years through Asia and Africa.