What should not be classified as literature?What should not be classified as literature?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


I've heard Roger Ebert, an expert in visual media, embrace nearly everything written and visual as art or literature except video games.

Ebert says:

There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.

So, according to Ebert, literature (or at least good literature) requires authorial control from beginning to end.  In other words, literature is not a pick-a-path adventure, like so many young adult books and video games. One would assume that literature must allow itself to be read on many levels.  A video game, on the other hand, may only be viewed on a few levels--the highest ones achieved by the player. Literature, a critic once said, it a question minus the answer.  A video game, I don't think, can work in this intuitive, implicit way.  A video game is about marketing, mass consumption, escapism, repeated actions, and explicit rules.

Here is a comprehensive list of literary forms for reference:

Other narrative forms

  • Electronic literature is a literary genre consisting of works which originate in digital environments.
  • Films, videos and broadcast soap operas have carved out a niche which often parallels the functionality of prose fiction.
  • Graphic novels and comic books present stories told in a combination of sequential artwork, dialogue and text.

Genres of literature

A literary genre refers to the traditional divisions of literature of various kinds according to a particular criterion of writing. See the list of literary genres.

List of literary genres


accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

clairewait, you know, when I saw this discussion post I wanted to write exactly the same thing, which either means we are both horrible humans or we share the same unique intelligence and perspective that regards applying the term "literature" to such lightweight tosh as a crime against humanity. I salute you for your bravery and stand with you in line as others will no doubt persecute us and lead us on to the guillotine that will end our lives that have been lived in a noble quest to champion free speech and the death of vampire books. It is a far better thing that I do....

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Am I a horrible human if I say the Twilight series?