Scholar, Author, Translator
Literature is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment, and can also have a social, psychological, spiritual, or political role.
Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as biography, diaries, memoir, letters, and essays. Within its broad definition, literature includes non-fictional books, articles or other printed information on a particular subject.
Etymologically, the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura “learning, a writing, grammar,” originally “writing formed with letters,” from litera/littera “letter”. In spite of this, the term has also been applied to spoken or sung texts. Literature is often referred to synecdochically as “writing,” and poetically as “the craft of writing” or simply “the craft.” Syd Field described his discipline, screenwriting, as “a craft that occasionally rises to the level of art.”
Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, which now includes electronic literature.
Definitions of literature have varied over time. In Western Europe, prior to the 18th century.
A value judgment definition of literature considers it as consisting solely of high quality writing that forms part of the belles-lettres ("fine writing") tradition. An example of this is in the (1910–11) Encyclopædia Britannica that classified literature as "the best expression of the best thought reduced to writing"
so that cultural studies, for instance, include, in addition to canonical works, popular and minority genres. The word is also used in reference to non-written works: to "oral literature" and "the literature of preliterate culture".
The use of the term "literature" here is a little problematic because of its origins in the Latin littera, “letter,” essentially writing. Alternatives such as "oral forms" and "oral genres" have been suggested but the word literature is widely used.