A literary sketch or simply sketch is a literary piece of writing that is generally shorter than a short story and contains little, if any, plot. According to this source, the genre was introduced after the 16th century in England. However, neither the wiki page nor the Encyclopedia Britannica page it refers to go into the specifics of the origins of the literary sketch.

I am curious as to exactly when and where the first literary sketch was published. Are there any historical sources that point to this event?

  • We normally say a sketch, rather a sketch story, I'd have thought.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 3 at 16:56
  • I wonder if the parables in the New Testament count.
    – Spencer
    Commented Mar 3 at 18:47
  • Just because Wikipedia says sketch story doesn't mean we use that: literary sketch, sure.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 4 at 17:01
  • @Lambie I've changed the wording
    – Max Muller
    Commented Mar 7 at 9:29
  • Pretty sure that similar things have always existed, nearly as long as writing has. Certainly, short pieces of prose have a long history, often in letters, journalism, or reports of various kinds (e.g. from ambassadors, soldiers, merchants, or other travelers). So it becomes a question of when it was recognised as a genre and what is considered to be an early example by the people who consider it as a genre. You'd need to look at who first discussed them as a genre, and what are the key works about the genre.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 7 at 12:23


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