Bengali literature denotes the body of writings in the Bengali language. 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 and modern. 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 West Bengal. The first works in Bengali, written in new Bengali, appeared between 10th and 12th centuries C. E and it is generally known as the Charyapada. These are mystic songs composed by various Buddhist seer-poets, Luipada, Kanhapada, Kukkuripada, Chatilpada, Bhusukupada, Kamlipada, Dhendhanpada, Shantipada, Shabarapada etc, the famous Bengali linguist Haraprasad Shastri discovered the palm leaf Charyapada manuscript in the Nepal Royal Court Library in 1907. Pre-Chaitanya or Early Vaishnava literature denotes the literature of the preceding the time of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Krishna Kirtana was written by Boru Chandidas in the half of 14th century CE. It is considered as the second oldest work of Bengali literature after Charyapada, the 15th century is marked by the emergence of Vaishnava lyrical poetry or the padavali in Bengal. The poetry of Vidyapati, the great Maithili poet, though not written in Bengali and he flourished in the modern-day Darbhanga district of Bihar, India in the 14th century. His Vaishnava lyrics became very popular among the masses of Bengal, the first major Bengali poet to write Vaishnava lyrics was Chandidas, who belong to the modern-day Birbhum district, Paschimbanga in the 15th century. Chandidas is also known for his humanist proclamation—Sabar upare manush satya, tahar upare nai —The supreme truth is man, the Bengali translations of two great Sanskrit texts the Bhagavata Purana and the Ramayana played a crucial role in the development of Middle Bengali literature. Maladhar Basu’s Sri Krishna Vijaya, which is chiefly a translation of the 10th and 11th cantos of the Bhagavata Purana, is the earliest Bengali narrative poem that can be assigned to a definite date, Maladhar Basu flourished in the modern-day Bardhaman district of Paschimbanga in the 15th century. Composed between 1473 and 1480 C. E, Sri Krishna Vijaya is also the oldest Bengali narrative poem of the Krishna legend. The Ramayana, under the title of Sri Rama Panchali, more known as the Krittibasi Ramayana, was translated by Krittibas Ojha who belonged to the modern-day Nadia district. He also, like Maladhar Basu, flourished in the 15th century, post-Chaitanya or Late Vaishnava literature denotes the literature of the time succeeding the time of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These include, biographies of Chaitanya by Gaudiya Vaishnava scholar-poets and later Vaishnava Padavali with a subgenre based on the life of Chaitanya. Major figures of the Late Vaishnava literature are Krishnadasa Kaviraja, Vrindavana Dasa Thakura, Jayananda, Govindadasa, Jnandada, there are also minor Mangalkāvyas known as Shivāyana, Kālikā Mangal, Rāya Mangal, Shashtī Mangal, Sītalā Mangal and Kamalā Mangal etc
Nabanarikunjara, one of the themes of Mediaeval Vishnava lyrics, engraved on a temple pillar at Bishnupur, Bankura.