Manipuri literature mainly consisted of folk and religious poetry.
Some of the earliest prose works in Manipuri are Numit Kappa (10th century), Naotinkhon Phambal Kaba (16-17th century), Lethak
Lekharol (17th century) and Pantoibi
Kangul (17th century).
Govindram Nunganba is considered one of the leading
Manipuri scholar-poets of the 18th century, whose Takhel
Ngamba is a pioneering historical ballad in Manipuri.
Chaoba Singh (1895-1950), Lamabam Kamal Singh (1899-1935) and
Hijam Anganghal Singh (1892-1943) are the three most important
Manipuri poets of the 20th century.
Besides being a poet, Hijam Anganghal Singh is a well-known
essayist and dramatist, renowned for his magnum opus Khamba
Thoibe Sheireng (1940), which is a poem of 39,000 lines
considered to be a 'national' epic of the Manipuris.
Khwairakpam Chaoba Singh is one of the best-known writers
of modern Manipuri literature. His historical novel Lavangalata
(1939) is considered as
an outstanding work in Manipuri. His other prose works are Vakhalgi
Icel, Vakhal, Phidam,
Kannaba Va and Chhatramacha.
Lamabam Kamal Singh's Madhavi (1930) is recognised as the first modern Manipuri novel. His
collection of poems called Lai
Pareng (1931) has been acclaimed to be 'the most significant
poetical works of this century'.
Dorendrajit Singh (1907-1944)
is another pioneer poet and dramatist whose works include
three dramas, viz. Miorang Thoibi, Bhagyachandra and Kaurav Parajay and two epic poems,
viz. Kansa Badha and
Subhadra Haran. L.
Samarendra Singh (b.1928) is one of the forerunners of modern
Manipuri poetry. He is renowned for his poetic collections Wa
Amata Hiage Telanga, Mamang
Leikia Thambal Satle and Khun
Guno Singh (b.1927) is an acclaimed short-story writer in Manipuri.
His important works include Khudol,
Langjim Manghrabi Kishi, Laman, Aroiba
Paodam and Aikhoigi Tada.
He also translated Sukumar Sen's History
of Bengali Literature into Manipuri.
Meetei (1940-1990) set a new trend in Manipuri novel by
introducing contemporary social problems in place of the romantic
and passionate atmosphere prevalent in the Manipuri novel in the
first half of the 20th century. He is acclaimed for his novel Na
Tathiba Ahal Ama.