Latin literature survives in far greater quantity and diversity between the years 100 and 700 than it did in the first 350 years. Indeed, if we exclude a few ancient authors whose identity is uncertain, such as Lucilius and Quintilian, then almost all major Latin writers have been identified.
The early history of Latin literature is closely tied to that of Rome. As one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean basin, Rome attracted many writers who were either born abroad but lived and worked here or who came directly from Italy. Some became famous for writing in Latin but were actually born abroad, such as Virgil (70-19 B.C.E.) or Livy (59 B.C.E.-17 C.E.). Others, such as Cicero (106-43 B.C.E.), were well known for their oratory but wrote almost everything else themselves, including two volumes on rhetoric. Still others, such as Catullus (84-54 B.C.E.), wrote about their personal experiences; some poems are even thought to be written by women. But despite the fact that they come from different backgrounds and write for various audiences, all these authors share a love for the language that has made it possible for us to learn so much about the culture that surrounded them.
Latin American literature has a long history that dates back to Mesoamerican civilizations. Pre-Colombian, Colonial, Resistance, Modernismo, Boom, and Contemporary are the major periods in Latin American literature.
Mesoamerica is the region of Mexico and Central America that includes parts of what today we call America when it was part of La América. The first nations to develop a written language were the Maya who lived in Mesoamerica. They created a writing system based on an alphabet of 26 characters used to write poems and historical documents. The Aztecs, who lived in Mexico, also wrote poetry and history using this method. Other nations such as the Olmec, Zapotec, and Totonac also developed their own writing systems.
After the collapse of the Mayan culture in AD 800, other nations began to develop cultures rich in art and literature. One of these cultures was that of the Aztecs. They lived in Mexico and worshiped many gods. The most famous poet of the Aztec culture was probably named Juan Bautista de Anza. He married into another noble family and learned how to write from the members of this family. In addition to writing poems and histories, the Aztecs also painted pictures of their gods and heroes. One of these paintings is called "The Fall of Man".
Since 1940, when Latin American literature became an essential reference in worldwide literature, it has grown steadily owing to numerous tendencies such as realism, antinovel, and magical realism. Literature is an essential component of Hispanic culture. In addition to being a vehicle for expression, art has been used to criticize social conditions, debate significant issues in society, and create awareness about human rights.
Latin America has had a significant impact on world literature through various means: migration, translation, influence, and discovery.
Migration has been going on between Latin Americans and Europeans since the 16th century. This movement was important for communication and knowledge transfer as well as cultural exchange. Today, millions of people around the world have some connection to Latin America through employment or study.
Translation is another channel through which Latin American writers have contributed to world literature. Many European writers such as Cervantes, Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe, Tolstoy, and Proust were influenced by Latin American writers such as García Márquez, Machado de Assis, and Fuentes Mares. These authors wrote in Spanish but their work is widely read all over the world due to the presence of talented translators.
Influence refers to the fact that many writers from Latin America have had an impact on world literature.
Vulgar Latin never died; rather, it developed into the contemporary Romance languages between the years 600 and 800. Although Classical Latin is no longer used, the literary register of Latin based on it has lasted for a very long period, evolving independently of the Romance languages. Thus, Latin is still considered a living language.
In fact, many words of English origin that have entered common usage come from Latin. For example, "affect" comes from the Latin word meaning "to move to grief or joy." "Affirm" comes from the Latin word for "with faith," and "adjective" comes from the Latin word for "before."