Western literature  

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Charles Baudelaire (portrait by Etienne Carjat, ca. 1863)
Charles Baudelaire (portrait by Etienne Carjat, ca. 1863)
Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

"Dedalus Books specializes in European literature of "its own distinctive genre [...] where the bizarre, the unusual and the grotesque and the surreal meld in a kind of intellectual fiction which is very European."--Sholem Stein

"The latest movement in European literature has been called by many names, none of them quite exact or comprehensive — Decadence, Symbolism, Impressionism, for instance. It is easy to dispute over words, and we shall find that Verlaine objects to being called a Decadent, Maeterlinck to being called a Symbolist, Huysmans to being called an Impressionist. These terms, as it happens, have been adopted as the badge of little separate cliques, noisy, brainsick young people who haunt the brasseries of the Boulevard Saint-Michel, and exhaust their ingenuities in theorizing over the works they cannot write. But, taken frankly as epithets which express their own meaning, both Impressionism and Symbolism convey some notion of that new kind of literature which is perhaps more broadly characterized by the word Decadence."--"The Decadent Movement in Literature" (1893) by Arthur Symons

Edgar Allan Poe from a daguerreotype   of 1848
Edgar Allan Poe from a daguerreotype of 1848

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Western literature refers to the literature of the Indo-European languages, as well as several languages geographically or historically related to the Indo-European languages (Basque, Hungarian, and so forth). Western literature is considered one of the defining elements of Western civilization.

The best of Western literature is considered to be the Western Canon. The list of works in the Western Canon varies according to the critic's opinions on Western culture and the relative importance of its defining characteristics.

Europe is the birthplace of some of the most prominent or popular fiction writers of all time : Homer, Dante Alighieri, François Rabelais, Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Voltaire, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, H. G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, C. S. Lewis, Franz Kafka, Agatha Christie, Henrik Ibsen, J. R. R. Tolkien, Rudyard Kipling, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Alexander Pushkin, Knut Hamsun, George Orwell, Jules Verne, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Mary Shelley, Albert Camus, Oscar Wilde, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf, Daniel Defoe, Anne Frank, John Milton, Umberto Eco, Walter Scott, Beatrix Potter, D. H. Lawrence, Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm, Joseph Conrad, Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Swift, J. M. Barrie, Alan Moore, Anton Chekhov, Patrick Süskind, J. K. Rowling and Sigrid Undset.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Western literature" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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