Guide to Literary Terms Literature

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Literature - writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas and concerns of universal and apparently permanent interest, are essential features. While applied to any kind of printed material, such as circulars, leaflets, and handbills, there are some who feel it is more correctly reserved for prose and verse of acknowledged excellence, such as George Eliot’s works. The term connotes superior qualities.

The etymology of literature is the same as that of literal and may be found under that listing.

Any novel, such as Hardy’s Jude the Obscure or Tess of the D’Urbervilles, may be considered literature.

Explore all literary terms.