Bengali literature denotes the body of writings in the Bengali language in South Asia. The earliest extant work in Bengali literature is the Charyapada,
a collection of Buddhist mystic songs dating back to the 10th and 11th
centuries. Thereafter, the timeline of Bengali literature is divided
into two periods − medieval (1360-1800) and modern (after 1800).
Medieval Bengali literature consists of various poetic genres, including Hindu religious scriptures (e.g. Mangalkavya), Islamic epics (e.g. works of Syed Sultan and Abdul Hakim), translations of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian texts, Vaishnava texts (e.g. biographies of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu), and secular texts by Muslim poets (e.g. works of Alaol).
Novels were introduced to Bengali literature in the mid-19th century. Rabindranath Tagore,
poet, playwright, novelist, painter, essayist, musician, and social
reformer, is the best known figure of Bengali literature to the world.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. After the post-partition era, Bengali literature comprises literature of erstwhile East Pakistan and modern-day Bangladesh and of Paschimbanga (West Bengal).