It’s sooo Lit!!! #atozchallenge2017

***NOTE: As explained in my last post, I was going to finish last year’s A to Z Challenge. Here is my letter “L”.

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Literature. I cannot write about the topic of Writing without writing about literature. That would probably be some form of blasphemy…

What is Literature to you?

When I was young, I used to think that “literature” was exclusively used to refer to stories or novels. I don’t know now how I learned more, but it was probably when I encountered the term “related literature”. I was a bit surprised that anything written (well, at least those with some value) can be considered literature.

According to the Ancient History of Encyclopedia,…

Literature (from the Latin Littera meaning ‘letters’ and referring to an acquaintance with the written word) is the written work of a specific culture, sub-culture, religion, philosophy or the study of such written work which may appear in poetry or in prose.”

Based on this, it is either poetry and prose.

Dictionary.com explains it much clearer in the definitions it has provided. Literature is defined as:

  • written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit
  • books and writings published on a particular subject
  • leaflets and other printed matter used to advertise products or give advice

That last part was the kind of information that most surprised me when I learned about it. Leaflets and advertisements were far from my mind. That was mainly because whenever I thought of the word before, I thought of value and merit, especially artistic merit.

“Certain forms of writing, however, are universally regarded as belonging to literature as an art. Individual attempts within these forms are said to succeed if they possess something called artistic merit and to fail if they do not.” (Britannica.com)

That was how most of us were brought up. It was so old-school that even anything that’s not artsy was generally disregarded as literature, no matter how valuable the information it contained.

“Literature is a form of human expression. But not everything expressed in words—even when organized and written down—is counted as literature. Those writings that are primarily informative—technical, scholarly, journalistic—would be excluded from the rank of literature by most, though not all, critics.” (Britannica.com)

Anybody can be a critic, but it does not necessarily make him right. If anything, this kind of thinking was developed during the times when people were concerned more about social strata and social snobbery. We put the word “literature” in a box — No, this is just you, Lit. You can’t be some leaflet or thing that anyone just thought he’d write and call Lit. The nerve!

Today, we have become open to accepting the more modern definition of the word. Still, there are critics that cannot be persuaded. Me? I have broaden my own definition:

Literature is a valuable written work that is artistic and/or informative and has merit to, at least, one individual.”

You say toh-mah-toh, I say toe-may-toe. Basically, it all boils down to the person appreciating it.

How do YOU define literature?

 

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I could have written more about it, but I fought off my tendency to write long posts to keep you interested. I hope you liked it and share your own thoughts in the comments below.

L is for “Literature”

This piece serves as my Letter L post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

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