What is literature?

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litgeek2015 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Literature is generally considered to be written work that is of a high quality and will stand the test of time. In other words, many people have agreed that it is something that contributes significant and valuable ideas to society.

The term "literature" is, and always has been, very subjective, just as anyone's opinion of a written text can be subjective.

Literature can be compared to what one might call "popular works." The novels All the Light We Cannot See or To Kill a Mockingbird are considered literature, whereas romance novels would be considered popular works. Not everything that is written is considered literature, so it is important to remember that the term usually refers to quality rather than just a specific list of genres.

Generally, the following genres fall into the category of literature, if they are of high quality:

  • fiction
  • drama (plays)
  • poetry
  • non-fiction