What is literature? definition regarding literature as well as some explanation of the term 'literature'

Literature is any written work, and it can refer to an individual work itself or a categorical understanding of literature (such as American literature, for example). More academic understandings of literature focus on works such as novels, essays, poetry, and drama, although less academic forms of writing, such as letters or emails, also qualify as literature in a broader sense.

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I enjoyed reading the above posts, but I tend to agree most with the previous one by kplhardison. I consider literature an aggregate of the written word, knowledge and grammar, comprised in a superior fashion and exhibiting heightened values to set it apart from other standard writing.

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In English, the definition of literature is not so elegant. It is defined simply as the collection of written books that have superior merit and affect readers in some universal way while speaking of some universal truth: Shakespeare and Henry James and Faulkner are all considered contributors to literature because their works are superior (each in its own different way) and speak in a universally relevant way about universal issues and values. The etymology of the English word "literature" is that it is derived from the Latin word lit(t)eratura, which means "learning, writing, grammar" (Oline Etymology Dictionary online at Dictionary.com).

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The term literature has many different meanings. That being said, for some, literature has a very defined meaning. For others, they believe in a very simplistic understanding of the term.

Literature is a written work. By this, one can consider the more accepted writings as literature: novels, novellas, poetry, and speeches. This list is not an exhaustive list though. To truly look at the whole of literature, one must include personal letters, comics, written interviews; anything with which one has the purpose of placing into written text. Therefore, the list could be immense.

That being said, some define literature as only those texts which are superbly written and have the ability to survive. This certainly dilutes the previously stated list to only a handful of pieces.

Literature may also be define as a group of things. Literature exists on psychology, literature exists on history, literature exists in math. What is meant by this is all of the writings grouped together on a specific area or thought.

Regardless of what ones personal definition of literature is, know that many more choose to either expand the list or subtract from it. Remember, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and only you can define what true literature is.

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