Literature

Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature writing is considered to be an art form, or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.

Its Latin root literatura/litteratura (derived itself from littera: letter or handwriting) was used to refer to all written accounts, though contemporary definitions extend the term to include texts that are spoken or sung (oral literature). The concept has changed meaning over time: nowadays it can broaden to have non-written verbal art forms, and thus it is difficult to agree on its origin, which can be paired with that of language or writing itself. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, culminating in electronic literature.

Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction, and whether it is poetry or prose. It can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short story or drama; and works are often categorized according to historical periods or their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre).

Definitions

Definitions of literature have varied over time: it is a "culturally relative definition".[1] In Western Europe prior to the 18th century, literature denoted all books and writing.[1] A more restricted sense of the term emerged during the Romantic period, in which it began to demarcate "imaginative" writing.[2][3] Contemporary debates over what constitutes literature can be seen as returning to older, more inclusive notions; Cultural studies, for instance, takes as its subject of analysis both popular and minority genres, in addition to canonical works.

The value judgment definition of literature considers it to cover exclusively those writings that possess high quality or distinction, forming part of the so-called belles-lettres ('fine writing') tradition.[4] This sort of definition is that used in the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–11) when it classifies literature as "the best expression of the best thought reduced to writing."[5] Problematic in this view is that there is no objective definition of what constitutes "literature": anything can be literature, and anything which is universally regarded as literature has the potential to be excluded, since value judgments can change over time.[4]

The formalist definition is that "literature" foregrounds poetic effects; it is the "literariness" or "poetic" of literature that distinguishes it from ordinary speech or other kinds of writing (e.g., journalism).[6][7] Jim Meyer considers this a useful characteristic in explaining the use of the term to mean published material in a particular field (e.g., "scientific literature"), as such writing must use language according to particular standards.[8] The problem with the formalist definition is that in order to say that literature deviates from ordinary uses of language, those uses must first be identified; this is difficult because "ordinary language" is an unstable category, differing according to social categories and across history.[9]

Etymologically, the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "learning, a writing, grammar," originally "writing formed with letters," from litera/littera "letter".[10] In spite of this, the term has also been applied to spoken or sung texts.[8][11]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Letterkunde
Alemannisch: Literatur
አማርኛ: ሥነ ጽሑፍ
العربية: أدب
aragonés: Literatura
armãneashti: Literaturâ
arpetan: Litèratura
অসমীয়া: সাহিত্য
asturianu: Lliteratura
Aymar aru: Qullasïwi
azərbaycanca: Ədəbiyyat
تۆرکجه: ادبیات
বাংলা: সাহিত্য
Bân-lâm-gú: Bûn-ha̍k
Basa Banyumasan: Sastra
башҡортса: Әҙәбиәт
беларуская: Літаратура
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Літаратура
भोजपुरी: साहित्य
български: Литература
Boarisch: Literatua
bosanski: Književnost
brezhoneg: Lennegezh
буряад: Удха зохёол
català: Literatura
Чӑвашла: Литература
Cebuano: Katitikan
čeština: Literatura
Cymraeg: Llenyddiaeth
dansk: Litteratur
Deutsch: Literatur
ދިވެހިބަސް: އަދަބިއްޔާތު
eesti: Kirjandus
Ελληνικά: Λογοτεχνία
español: Literatura
Esperanto: Literaturo
estremeñu: Literatura
euskara: Literatura
فارسی: ادبیات
Fiji Hindi: Literature
føroyskt: Bókmentir
français: Littérature
Frysk: Literatuer
furlan: Leterature
Gaeilge: Litríocht
Gaelg: Lettyraght
Gàidhlig: Litreachas
galego: Literatura
贛語: 文學
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Vùn-ho̍k
한국어: 문학
Hawaiʻi: Moʻokalaleo
हिन्दी: साहित्य
hrvatski: Književnost
Ilokano: Literatura
Bahasa Indonesia: Sastra
interlingua: Litteratura
Interlingue: Literatura
íslenska: Bókmenntir
italiano: Letteratura
עברית: ספרות
Basa Jawa: Sastra
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ
Kapampangan: Literatura
къарачай-малкъар: Адабият
ქართული: ლიტერატურა
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: اَدَب
kaszëbsczi: Lëteratura
қазақша: Әдебиет
Kinyarwanda: Ubuvanganzo
Kiswahili: Fasihi
Kreyòl ayisyen: Literati
kurdî: Wêje
Кыргызча: Адабият (илим)
Ladino: Literatura
лакку: Адабият
Latina: Litterae
latviešu: Literatūra
Lëtzebuergesch: Literatur
lietuvių: Literatūra
Limburgs: Literatuur
Livvinkarjala: Kirjalližus
magyar: Irodalom
македонски: Книжевност
Malagasy: Haisoratra
മലയാളം: സാഹിത്യം
मराठी: साहित्य
მარგალური: ლიტერატურა
Bahasa Melayu: Kesusasteraan
Baso Minangkabau: Sastra
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ùng-hŏk
Mirandés: Literatura
монгол: Утга зохиол
မြန်မာဘာသာ: စာပေ
Nederlands: Literatuur
Nedersaksies: Literatuur
नेपाली: साहित्य
नेपाल भाषा: साहित्य
日本語: 文学
Napulitano: Litteratura
нохчийн: Литература
Nordfriisk: Literatuur
norsk: Litteratur
norsk nynorsk: Litteratur
Nouormand: Littéthatuthe
Novial: Literature
occitan: Literatura
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Adabiyot
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਸਾਹਿਤ
پنجابی: ساہت
Papiamentu: Literatura
Patois: Lichicha
Перем Коми: Лыддьӧтан
Picard: Litérature
Piemontèis: Literatura
Plattdüütsch: Literatur
polski: Literatura
português: Literatura
Qaraqalpaqsha: A'debiyat
română: Literatură
Runa Simi: Simi kapchiy
русиньскый: Література
русский: Литература
Scots: Leeteratur
shqip: Letërsia
sicilianu: Littiratura
Simple English: Literature
سنڌي: ادب
slovenčina: Literatúra
slovenščina: Književnost
Soomaaliga: Suugaan
کوردی: وێژە
српски / srpski: Књижевност
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Književnost
Basa Sunda: Sastra
svenska: Litteratur
Tagalog: Panitikan
Taqbaylit: Tasekla
татарча/tatarça: Әдәбият
తెలుగు: సాహిత్యం
тоҷикӣ: Адабиёт
Türkçe: Edebiyat
Türkmençe: Edebiýat
українська: Література
اردو: ادب
Vahcuengh: Vwnzyoz
vèneto: Łiteratura
Tiếng Việt: Văn học
Võro: Kirändüs
文言: 文學
Winaray: Panuratan
Wolof: Njàngat
吴语: 文學
Xitsonga: Vutsari
ייִדיש: ליטעראטור
粵語: 文學
Zazaki: Edebiyat
Zeêuws: Literatuur
žemaitėška: Literatūra
中文: 文學
Lingua Franca Nova: Leteratur