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Prose

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About Literature

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Glossary of literary terms
Glossary of poetry terms
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Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure (as in traditional poetry). While there are critical debates on the construction of prose, its simplicity and loosely defined structure has led to its adoption for the majority of spoken dialogue, factual discourse as well as topical and fictional writing. It is commonly used, for example, in literature, newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcasting, film, history, philosophy, law and many other forms of communication.

StructureEdit

Prose is the ordinary form of spoken and written language whose unit is the sentence, rather than the line as it is in poetry. The term applies to all expressions in language that do not have a regular rhythmic pattern. Novels, essays, short stories, and works of criticism are examples of prose. Other examples include: comedy, drama, fable, fiction, folk tale, hagiography, legend, literature, myth, narrative, saga, science fiction, story, theme, tragedy. Prose is considered one of the two major literary structures, with the other being verse.(Citation needed) Prose lacks the more formal metrical structure of verse that is almost always found in traditional poetry. Poems often involve a meter and/or rhyme scheme. Prose, instead, comprises full, grammatical sentences, which then constitute paragraphs and overlook aesthetic appeal. Some works of prose do contain traces of metrical structure or versification and a conscious blend of the two literature formats is known as prose poetry. Similarly, any work of verse with fewer rules and restrictions is known as free verse. Verse is considered to be more systematic or formulaic, whereas prose is the most reflective of ordinary (often conversational) speech. On this point Samuel Taylor Coleridge requested, jokingly, that novice poets should "remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose,— words in their best order; poetry,— the best words in their best order."[1] In Molière's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain asked for something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master replied that "there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse," for the simple reason being that "everything that is not prose is verse, and everything that is not verse is prose."[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)". University of Chicago reconstruction.. http://machaut.uchicago.edu/websters. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  2. "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme". English translation accessible via Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2992/2992-h/2992-h.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 

See alsoEdit


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