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DEFINITION OF LITERATURE

Etymology:
The word literature is derived from the Latin term litera which means letter.
It has been defined differently by various writers:
Literature is a form of language that breaks with the whole definition of genres as forms
adapted to an order of presentations, and becoes merely a manifestation of a language
which has no other law than that of affirming in opposition to all other forms of discourse its
own precipitous existence.
-

Michael Foucault

My definition of good literature is that which can be read by an educated reader, and reread
with increased pleasure.
-

Gene Wolfe

Literature is one of the most interesting and significant expressions of humanity.


-

P.T. Barnum

Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and
saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.
-

Boris Pasternak

Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life


-

Fernando Pessoa

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.


-

G.K. Chesterton

Literature expresses the feelings of people to society, to the government, to his


surroundings, to his fellowmen and to his Divine Creator.
-

Brother Azurin

IMPORTANCE OF LITERATURE

1. To better appreciate our literary heritage.


Through a study of our literature, we can trace the rich heritage of ideas handed down to
us from our forefathers. Then we can understand ourselves better and take pride in
being a Filipino.
2. Literature preserves the ideals of a people; and ideals--love, faith, duty, friendship,
freedom, reverence--are the part of human life most worthy of preservation.

VARIOUS DIMENSIONS OF PHILIPPINE LITERARY HISTORY FROM PRECOLONIAL TO CONTEMPORARY


SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD
I.

Oral Literature
1. Song
A song is a composition
for voice or voices, performed by singing. A choral or vocal song may be accompanied
by musical instruments, or it may be unaccompanied, as in the case of a cappella songs.
The lyrics (words) of songs are typically of a poetic, rhyming nature, though they may
be religious verses or free prose.
Examples
Leron Leron Sinta
This song depicts humbleness. It's the story of a man who tries to show what he
got to win the heart of his beloved one.
Kundiman
a Kundiman which means one night or one evening in Bicol. A kundiman is a
Filipino love song traditionally sung by a man wooing the woman of his dreams.
2. Religious Drama
The religious drama, as setting forth events recorded in the Bible or moral lessons to be
drawn from religious teaching, is distinctively medieval in character, and in origin is
closely connected with the services of the Church.
Example
Panunuluyan

(Tagalog for "asking for lodgings") is a Philippine Christmas dramatic ritual


narrating the Holy Family's search for a place to stay in Bethlehem for
Jesus Christ's birth through song.
3. Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The enactment of
drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes
collaborative modes of production and a collective form of reception.
Example
Why Women Wash the Dishes is a play that depicts a betting game between
couple whom either one would not like to wash the dishes. The play is filled with
humor and antiques.

4. Recreational Play
CENAKULO - Dramatic performance of the passion and death of Christ

ZARZUELA - The father of drama, a musical comedy or melodrama three acts


which death with mens passion and emotions like love, hate, revenge, cruelty ,
avarice or some political problem.

LAGAYLAY - A special occasion for the pilareos of sorsogon during maytime to


get together.

TIBAG - Dramatic performance for the purpose of manifesting devotion for the
holy cross.

PANULUYAN - Philippine Christmas dramatic ritual narrating the whole familys


search for a place to stay in Bethlehem for Jesus Christs birth through songs.

SALUBONG - Dramatizes the reunion of the risen Christ and his mother.

CARILLO - A form of dramatic entertainment perform on a moonless night during


a town fiesta or on dark nights after a harvest.

SAINETE - A short musical comedy popular during the 18 th century. They were
exaggerated comedy shown between acts plays and were mostly performed by
characters from the lower class.

THE MORO-MORO - Like the Cenaculo, the Moro-Moro is presented also on a


special stage. This is performed during town fiestas to entertain the people and to

remind them of their Christian religion.


Example: Prinsipe Rodante

KARAGATAN - This is a poetic vehicle of a socio-religious nature celebrated


during the death of a person.

DUPLO - The Duplo replaced the Karagatan. This is a poetic joust in speaking
and reasoning.

THE BALAGTASAN - This is a poetic joust or a contest of skills in debate on a


particular topic or issue.

THE DUNG-AW - This is a chant in free verse by a bereaved person or his


representative beside the corpse of the dead.

AWIT - is in dodecasyllabic verse. Are fabricated stories from writers imagination


although the setting and characters are European. Refers to chanting.

CORRIDO - is in octosyllabic verse. Were usually on legends or stories from


European countries like France, Spain, Italy and Greece. It refers to narration.

II.

Written Literature
1. Poetry
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound,
and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has

been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. The very
nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly
impossible to define.
Examples
Florante at Laura
The story is about the love and determination of the Duke Florante and the
Princess Laura of Albania while being pursued by the usurper Count Adolfo.
2. Short Stories
A short story is a brief work of literature, usually written in narrative prose. A classic
definition of a short story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting.
Example
Convict Twilight
The short story revolves around one thing Freedom. Or more clearly, it seeks to
define what is freedom, and what sense it makes to those who are not free;
slaved for the atonement of their sins.

AMERICAN COLONIAL PERIOD


1. Tagalog Novel
A novel is a long prose narrative that describes fictional characters and events in the
form of a sequential story, usually. A Tagalog novel is a novel written in, of course,
Tagalog.
Example
Banaag at Sikat
is one of the first literary novels written by Filipino author Lope K. Santos in the Tagalog
language in 1906. As a book that was considered as the "Bible of working class
Filipinos", the pages of the novel revolves around the life of Delfin, his love for a daughter
of a rich landlord, while Lope K.
2. Romantic Poetry

The dominant theme of Romantic poetry: the filtering of natural emotion through the
human mind in order to create art, coupled with an awareness of the duality created by
such a process.

Example
PAG-IBIG
Jose Corazon De Jesus
Jos Corazn de Jess , was a Filipino poet who used Tagalog poetry to express the
Filipinos' desire for independence duringthe American occupation of the Philippines, a
period that lasted from 1901 to 1946. He is best known for being the lyricist of the Filipino
song Bayan Ko.
3. Short Stories
A short story is a brief work of literature, usually written in narrative prose. A classic
definition of a short story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting
Example
We Filipinos Are
Mild Drinkers
This is a short story written by Alejandro Roces during his freshman year in Arizona
State University. He was well known for his humorous stories and whit in writing. We
Filipinos are Mild Drinkers is dated back to the 1940s.

JAPANESE PERIOD
Filipino Poetry

The common theme of most poems during the Japanese occupation was nationalism,
country, love, and life in the barrios, faith, religion and the arts. Three types of poems
emerged during this period. They were:

1. Haiku a poem of free verse that the Japanese like. It was made up of 17 syllables
divided into three lines. The first line had 5 syllables, the second, 7 syllables, and the third,
five. The Haiku is allegorical in meaning, is short and covers a wide scope in meaning.
2. Tanaga like the Haiku, is short but it had measure and rhyme. Each line had 17
syllables and its also allegorical in meaning.
3. Karaniwang Anyo (Usual Form) like those mentioned earlier in the beginning chapters
of this book.