Introduction to the Study of Philippine Literature

     Philippine literature is the literature associated with the Philippines and includes the legends of prehistory, and the colonial legacy of the Philippines. Most of the notable literature of the Philippines was written during the Spanish period and the first half of the 20th century in Spanish language. Philippine literature is written in Spanish, English,Tagalog , and/or other native Philippine languages. 
     Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letter) is the art of written work , and is not confined to published sources (although, under some circumstances, unpublished sources can also be exempt). The word literature literally means "things made from letters" and the pars pro toto term "letters" is sometimes used to signify "literature," as in the figure of speech " arts and letters" and " man of letters".  The four major classifications of literature are poetry, prose, fiction and non fiction.
Literature may comprise of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), as well as on original imagination, such as polemical works as well as autobiography, and reflective essays as well as belles-lettres. Literatures can be divided according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. The concept or genre, which earlier was limited, has now broadened over the centuries. A genre consists of artistic works which fall within a certain central theme, and examples of genre include romance, mystery, crime, fantasy, erotica, and adventure among others. Important historical periods in English Literature include the 17th Century Shakespearan and Elizabethan times, Middle English,Old English 19th Century Victorian, the Renaissan, the 18th Century Restoration and 20th Century Modernism. Important political movements that have influenced literature include feminism, post-collonialism, psychoanalysis, post-modernism, romanticism and Markxim. Literature is also observed in terms of gender, race and nationality, which include Black writing in America, African writing, Indian writing, Dalit writing, women's writing, and so on.
      The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest known literary works. This Babylonian epic poem arises from stories in the Sumerian language. Although the Sumerian stories are older (probably dating to at least 2100 B.C), it was probably composed around 1900 BC. The epic deals with themes of heroism, friendship, loss, and the quest for eternal life. 

 Different historical periods are reflected in literature. National and tribal sagas, accounts of the origin of the world and of customs, and myths which sometimes carry moral or spiritual messages predominate in the pre-urban eras. The epics of Homer, dating from the early to middle Iron age, and the great Indian epics of a slightly later period, have more evidence of deliberate literary authorship, surviving like the older myths through oral tradition for long periods before being written down.
As a more urban culture developed, academies provided a means of transmission for speculative and philosophical literature in early civilizations, resulting in the prevalence of literature in Ancient China, Ancient India,Persia and Ancient Greece and Rome. Many works of earlier periods, even in narrative form, had a covert moral or didactic purpose, such as the Sanskrit Panchatantra or the Metamorphosis of Ovid. Drama and satire also developed as urban culture provided a larger public audience, and later readership, for literary production. Lyric poetry (as opposed to epic poetry) was often the speciality of courts and aristocratic circles, particularly in East Asia where songs were collected by the Chinese aristocracy as poems, the most notable being the Shijing or Book of songs. Over a long period, the poetry of popular pre-literate balladry and song interpenetrated and eventually influenced poetry in the literary medium.
     In ancient China, early literature was primarily focused on philosophy, historiography, military science, agriculture, and poetry. China, the origin of modern paper making and woodblock printing, produced one of the world's first print cultures. Much of Chinese literature originates with the Hundreds School of Thought period that occurred during the Eastern Zhou Dynysty (770-256 BCE). The most important of these include the Classics of Confucionism of Daonism, of Mohism, of Legalism, as well as works of military science (e.g. Sun Tzu's The art of war) and Chinese History (e.g. Sima Quian's Records of the Historian). Ancient Chinese literature had a heavy emphasis on historiography. The Chinese kept consistent and accurate court records after the year 841 BCE, with the beginning of the Gonghe regency of the Western Zhou Dynysty. An exemplary piece of narrative sto of ancient China was the Zou Zhuan, which was compiled no later than 389 BCE, and attributed to the blind 5th century BCE historian Zuo Quiming..
     In ancient India, literature originated from stories that were originally orally transmitted. Early genres included,drama,  fables, sutras and epic poetry. Sanskrit literature begins with the Vedas, dating back to 1500–1000 BCE, and continues with the Sanskrit Epic of Iron Age India. The Vedas are among the oldest sacrade texts. The Samhitas (vedic collections) date to roughly 1500–1000 BCE, and the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000-500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic Period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron age. The period between approximately the 6th to 1st centuries BC saw the composition and redaction of the two most influential Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramanaya, with subsequent redaction progressing down to the 4th century AD.
In ancient Greece, the epics of Homer ,who wrote the Iliad and the Oddyssy, and Hesiod, who wrote Works and Days and Theogony, are some of the earliest, and most influential, of Ancient Greek literature. Classical Greek genres included philosophy, historiography,poetry, comedies and dramas. Plato and Aristotle authored philosophical texts that are the foundation of Western Philosophy,Sappho and Pindar were influential lyrical poets and Herodotus and Thucydides were early Greek historians. Although drama was popular in Ancient Greece, of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of plays by three authors still exist: Aescylus, Sophocales, and Euripides. The plays of Aristophanes provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, the earliest form of Greek Comedy, and are in fact used to define the genre.