Social Research Glossary

 

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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-17, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/socialresearch/

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 2 January, 2017 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2017.

 

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Literature


core definition

Literature refers to written material.


explanatory context

However, what exactly constitutes literature, hence what is said to be literary, is the subject of enormous debate. Does literature also include drama, as the latter is primarily presented in spoken form when performed ? Does literature only refer to creative literature ? Does literature include all fiction, for example, or only a selective sub-set ? If so, what distinguishes literary from non-literary writing ? How are such decisions about the nature of literary merit taken ?

 

If literature is considered as a sub-set of written material then problems of elitism and exclusiveness and questions about the class, gender and racial basis of literature are raised.


analytical review

Price (2010) wrote:

Literature comes from the word for letters in Latin: litterae. It is the art of written work, but it is not confined to published sources. Under some circumstances unpublished sources can be included. The word literature literally means "acquaintance with letters." A part of literature, written work, is often taken for the whole or, as it is said in Latin: pars pro toto. If one is a student of literature...one is usually a student of some part of literature, of its total corpus. The term "letters" is sometimes used to signify "literature," as in the figures of speech "arts and letters" and "man of letters." The four major classifications of literature are: poetry, prose, fiction, and non-fiction.

Literature can be defined as texts based on factual information as is found in journalistic or non-fiction writing. Literature can also be seen as original imaginative writing from polemical works: (a) writing related to controversy, argument and refutation, as well as (b) biography, autobiography and reflective essays. The content of what is found in belles-lettres is also part of literature. Literature can be divided according to historical periods, genres, and political influences.


associated issues

 


related areas

See also

art

literary criticism

literary theory


Sources

Price, R., 2010, Literature: Introduction, available at http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/Literature.html, accessed 25 January 2013, address still available 22 December 2016 but a different extreemely long content in one plac edated 13 October 2013 to 22 January 2015.


copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2017


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