Short tales found their way into long prose forms as well, as in Hellanicus s Persika (5th century bce, extant only in fragments). Herodotus, the father of history, saw himself as a maker and reciter of logoi (things for telling, tales). His long History is interspersed with such fictionalized digressions as the stories of Polycrates and his emerald ring, of Candaules attractive wife, and of Rhampsinituss stolen treasure. Xenophon s philosophical history, the cyropaedia (4th century bce contains the story of the soldier Abradates and his lovely and loyal wife panthea, perhaps the first Western love story. The cyropaedia also contains other narrative interpolations: the story of Pheraules, who freely gave away his wealth; the tale of Gobryass murdered son; and various anecdotes describing the life of the persian soldier. Moreover, the Greeks are usually credited with originating the romance, a long form of prose fiction with stylized plots of love, catastrophe, and reunion. The early Greek romances frequently took shape as a series of short tales.
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The book of Tobit displays an unprecedented sense of ironic humour; Judith creates an unrelenting and suspenseful tension as it builds to its bloody climax; the story of Susanna, the most compact and least fantastic in indira the Apocrypha, develops a three-sided conflict involving the innocent. The books of Ruth, personal esther, and Jonah hardly need mentioning to those familiar with biblical literature : they may well be among the most-famous stories in the judeo-christian tradition. Nearly all of the ancient tales, whether from Israel, India, egypt, or the middle east, were fundamentally didactic. Some of those ancient stories preached by presenting an ideal for readers to imitate. Others tagged with a moral were more direct. Most stories, however, preached by illustrating the success and joy that was available to the good individual and by conveying a sense of the terror and misery that was in store for the wayward. The early Greeks contributed greatly to the scope and art of short fiction. As in India, the moralizing animal fable was a common form; many of these tales were collected as Aesop s fables, the first known collection of which dates to the 4th century bce. Brief mythological stories of the gods adventures in love and war were also popular in the pre-Attic age. Apollodorus of Athens compiled a handbook of epitomes, or abstracts, of those tales around the 2nd century bce, but the tales themselves are no longer extant in their original form. They appear, though somewhat transformed, in the longer poetical works of Hesiod, homer, and the tragedians.
Another, nearly contemporaneous collection of Indian tales, the panchatantra listing (. 100 bce500 ce has been one of the worlds most-popular books. This anthology of amusing and moralistic animal tales, akin to those of aesop in Greece, was translated into middle persian in the 6th century; into Arabic in the 8th century; and into hebrew, greek, and Latin soon thereafter. Sir Thomas North s English translation appeared in 1570. Another noteworthy collection is Kathasaritsagara (Ocean of rivers of Stories a series of tales assembled and recounted in narrative verse in the 11th century by the sanskrit writer Somadeva. Most of those tales come from much older material, and they vary from the fantastic story of a transformed swan to a more probable tale of a loyal but misunderstood servant. During the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries bce, the sophisticated narratives that are now a part of the hebrew Bible and the Apocrypha were first written down.
Also recorded during the 12th dynasty were the success story of the exile sinuhe and the moralizing tale called King Cheops Khufu and the magicians. The provocative and profusely detailed story The tale of Two Brothers (or Anpu and Bata) was written down during the new Kingdom, probably around 1250 bce. Of all the early Egyptian tales, most of which are business baldly didactic, this story is perhaps the richest in folk motifs and the most intricate in plot. The earliest tales from India are not as old as those from Egypt and the middle east. The Brahmanas (. 900700 bce) function mostly as theological appendixes to the vedas, but a few are composed as short essay instructional parables. Perhaps more interesting as stories are the later tales in the pali language, the jataka. Although these tales have a religious frame that attempts to recast them as Buddhist ethical teachings, their actual concern is generally with secular behaviour and practical wisdom.
Consequently, many of the oldest narratives in the world, such as the ancient Babylonian tale the Epic of Gilgamesh, are in verse. Indeed, most major stories from the ancient Middle east were in verse: The war of the gods, The Story of Adapa (both Babylonian The heavenly bow, and The king Who forgot (both Canaanite). Those tales were inscribed in cuneiform on clay during the 2nd millennium bce. From Egypt to India the earliest tales extant from Egypt were composed on papyrus at a comparable date. The ancient Egyptians seem to have written their narratives largely in prose, apparently reserving verse for their religious hymns and working songs. One of the earliest surviving Egyptian tales, The Shipwrecked sailor (. 2000 bce is clearly intended to be a consoling and inspiring story to reassure its aristocratic audience that apparent misfortune can in the end become good fortune.
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Each writer worked in his own way, but the general effect was to mitigate some of the fantasy and stultifying conventionality of the tale and, at zakat the same time, to liberate the sketch from its bondage to strict factuality. The modern short story, then, ranges between the highly imaginative tale and the photographic sketch and in some ways draws on both. The short stories of Ernest Hemingway, for example, may often gain their force from an exploitation of traditional mythic symbols (water, fish, groin wounds but they are more closely related to the sketch than to the tale. Indeed, hemingway was able at times to submit his apparently factual stories as newspaper copy. In contrast, the stories of Hemingways contemporary william faulkner more closely resemble the tale. Faulkner seldom seems to understate, and his stories carry a heavy flavour of the past.
Both his language and his subject matter are rich in traditional material. A southerner might well suspect that only a reader steeped in sympathetic knowledge of the traditional south could fully understand faulkner. Faulkner may seem, at times, to be a southerner speaking to and for southerners. But, as, by virtue of their imaginative and symbolic qualities, hemingways narratives are more than journalistic sketches, so, by virtue of their explorative and analytic qualities, faulkners narratives are more than southern tales. Whether or not one sees the modern short story as a fusion of sketch and tale, it is hardly disputable that today the short story is a distinct and autonomous, though still developing, genre. History Origins The evolution of the short story first began before humans could write. To aid in constructing and memorizing tales, the early storyteller often relied on stock phrases, fixed rhythms, and rhyme.
The old speak to the young through tales. The sketch, by contrast, is intercultural, depicting some phenomenon of one culture for the benefit or pleasure of a second culture. Factual and journalistic, in essence the sketch is generally more analytic or descriptive and less narrative or dramatic than the tale. Moreover, the sketch by nature is suggestive, incomplete; the tale is often hyperbolic, overstated. The primary mode of the sketch is written; that of the tale, spoken.
This difference alone accounts for their strikingly different effects. The sketch writer can have, or pretend to have, his eye on his subject. The tale, recounted at court or campfire—or at some place similarly removed in time from the event—is nearly always a re-creation of the past. The tale-teller is an agent of time, bringing together a cultures past and its present. The sketch writer is more an agent of space, bringing an aspect of one culture to the attention of a second. It is only a slight oversimplification to suggest that the tale was the only kind of short fiction until the 16th century, when a rising middle class interest in social realism on the one hand and in exotic lands on the other put a premium. In the 19th century certain writers—those one might call the fathers of the modern story: nikolay gogol, hawthorne,. Hoffmann, heinrich von Kleist, prosper Mérimée, poe—combined elements of the tale with elements of the sketch.
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In the United States alone there were virtually hundreds of books claiming to be collections of sketches paper ( Washington Irving s The sketch book, william dean Howells s Suburban sketches ) or collections of tales (Poes Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, herman Melville. These two terms establish the polarities of the milieu out of which the modern short story grew. The tale is much older than the sketch. Basically, the tale is a manifestation of a cultures unaging desire to name and conceptualize its place in the cosmos. It provides a cultures narrative framework for such things as its vision of itself and its homeland or for expressing its conception of its ancestors and its gods. Usually filled with cryptic and uniquely deployed motifs, personages, and symbols, tales are frequently fully understood only by members of the particular culture to which they belong. Simply, tales are intracultural. Seldom created to address an outside culture, a tale is a medium through which a culture speaks to itself and thus perpetuates its own values and stabilizes its own identity.
Analysis of the genre, as a genre, the short story received relatively little critical attention through the middle of the 20th century, and the most valuable studies of the form were often limited by region or era. The lonely voice (1963 the Irish short story writer. Frank oconnor attempted to account for the genre by suggesting that stories are a means for submerged population groups to address a dominating community. Most other theoretical discussions, however, were predicated in one way abolitionism or another. Edgar Allan poe s thesis that stories must have a compact unified effect. By far the majority of criticism on the short story focused on techniques of writing. Many, and often the best of the technical works, advise the young reader—alerting the reader to the variety of devices and tactics employed by the skilled writer. On the other hand, many of these works are no more than treatises on how to write stories for the young writer rather than serious critical material. The prevalence in the 19th century of two words, sketch and tale, affords one way of looking at the genre.
or scenes. The form encourages economy of setting, concise narrative, and the omission of a complex plot ; character is disclosed in action and dramatic encounter but is seldom fully developed. Despite its relatively limited scope, though, a short story is often judged by its ability to provide a complete or satisfying treatment of its characters and subject. Before the 19th century the short story was not generally regarded as a distinct literary form. But although in this sense it may seem to be a uniquely modern genre, the fact is that short prose fiction is nearly as old as language itself. Throughout history humankind has enjoyed various types of brief narratives: jests, anecdotes, studied digressions, short allegorical romances, moralizing fairy tales, short myths, and abbreviated historical legends. None of these constitutes a short story as it has been defined since the 19th century, but they do make up a large part of the milieu from which the modern short story emerged. Read More on This Topic, arabic literature: The short story, while the short story was not the first fictional genre to make its appearance during the course of the 19th century, it certainly was the first to adapt itself to a new cultural environment,.
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