Sources of Literature


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about the sources of literature. Enjoy the class!

Sources of Literature

Sources of Literature

All works of literature, whether African, European, American, English, Indian, Japanese, and so on, originated from what is called Oral Literature or tradition, that is, a literature that was passed on from generation to generation through the word of mouth. Nevertheless, as time went on, the literature in the different parts of the world started to follow another trend rather than the initial borrowing from resources of oral tradition.

In light of the above, it is evident that the pattern adopted subsequently by the writers began to focus on various issues that confronted the various parts of the world. In a nutshell, the issues in various continents of the world changed, as is evident in various writings of various writers. Examples include John Pepper Clark’s “Casualties” which is preoccupied with the devastating effects of the Civil War in Nigeria from 1967-1970, George Orwell’s Animal Farm which focuses on Russia’s Bolshevik revolution and the betrayal of the cause by Joseph Stalin, among others.

Significantly, while African writers such as Ngugi wa Thiongo’o, Chinua Achebe, and so on death on issues such as Colonialism, Cultural Conflict, among other things; writers of European and other continents in the world such Shakespeare, Conrad, Dickens, Chaucer, Beckett, Woolf, Joyce, Twain, Hardy, Eliot, Hawthorne, and so on were writing about issues that were confronting their societies at various points in literary history such as the Industrial Revolution, the devastating World Wars which lasted from 1914 -1945, English traditions, moral issues, seven deadly sins, human behaviours and experiences, the American dream, among other things.

From the foregoing discussion, it is evident that the origin of literature whether drama, poetry or prose are not limited to one source but various sources.


In our next class, we will be talking about the Purpose of Literature.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

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