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The Literature Value in Chemistry: Understanding Its Role and Benefits

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By Happy Sharer

what is literature value


Literature value is an important concept in the field of chemistry. It refers to the concentration of a substance that is mentioned in scientific literature as having been successfully used in an experiment. Literature values are often used to determine the concentrations of chemicals needed for a reaction to occur, or to compare the results of an experiment with those from other experiments.

Chemistry relies on literature values to inform and guide scientists in their research and experiments. By understanding the role of literature value in chemistry, one can gain a better understanding of the principles of chemistry and how to apply them when solving problems.

Exploring the Role of Literature Value in Chemistry

Exploring the Role of Literature Value in Chemistry

What is literature value? Literature value is a measure of the concentration of a particular substance that has been used in past experiments and documented in scientific literature. This measurement is typically expressed as molarity (M) or parts per million (ppm).

How does literature value impact chemical reactions? Literature values provide guidance to scientists in determining the concentrations of chemicals required for a successful experiment. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, scientists can accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly.

Examples of literature values in various fields of chemistry include the acidity of a solution, the boiling point of a compound, and the solubility of a compound. By understanding the literature values associated with these aspects of chemistry, scientists can more accurately predict the outcomes of their experiments.

An Overview of Literature Value in Chemistry

Understanding the principles of literature value is essential for chemists. Literature values provide insight into the concentration of chemicals needed for a reaction to occur, as well as the expected outcome of the reaction. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly.

The importance of understanding literature value in chemistry cannot be overstated. Literature values are essential for chemists to understand the principles of chemistry and to accurately predict the outcomes of their experiments. Without an understanding of literature values, chemists cannot accurately predict the outcome of their experiments and may not be able to adjust their experiments accordingly.

Using Literature Value to Understand Chemical Reactions

Using Literature Value to Understand Chemical Reactions

Analyzing literature values to gain insight into chemical reactions is an important part of the scientific process. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly. For example, if a chemist knows the literature value for the boiling point of a compound, they can adjust the temperature of their experiment to achieve the desired result.

Applying literature values to predict outcomes of chemical reactions is also an important part of the scientific process. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly. For example, if a chemist knows the literature value for the solubility of a compound, they can adjust the concentration of the compound in their experiment to achieve the desired result.

The Benefits of Understanding Literature Value in Chemistry

The Benefits of Understanding Literature Value in Chemistry

Understanding literature value in chemistry can provide numerous benefits to scientists. Improved accuracy and precision in problem solving are two of the most obvious benefits. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly. This improved accuracy and precision can lead to better results in experiments.

Increased confidence in problem solving is another benefit of understanding literature value in chemistry. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more confidently predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly. This increased confidence can lead to greater success in experiments.

Better understanding of chemical concepts is yet another benefit of understanding literature value in chemistry. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can gain a better understanding of the underlying principles of chemistry and how they affect the outcome of the reaction.

Applying Literature Value to Solve Problems in Chemistry

Using literature value to solve problems in chemistry is an important part of the scientific process. There are several steps to using literature value to solve problems in chemistry. First, the chemist must identify the literature values associated with the reaction. Second, the chemist must analyze the literature values to gain insight into the reaction. Third, the chemist must apply the literature values to predict the outcome of the reaction. Fourth, the chemist must adjust the experiment accordingly to achieve the desired result.

Examples of how literature value can be used to solve problems in chemistry include determining the optimal temperature for a reaction, predicting the outcome of a reaction based on the literature values for the reactants, and adjusting the concentration of a reactant to achieve the desired result. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly.

In conclusion, understanding the role of literature value in chemistry is essential for chemists. Literature values provide insight into the concentration of chemicals needed for a reaction to occur, as well as the expected outcome of the reaction. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly. Additionally, understanding literature value in chemistry can provide numerous benefits to scientists, such as improved accuracy and precision in problem solving, increased confidence in problem solving, and better understanding of chemical concepts.

Using literature value to solve problems in chemistry is an important part of the scientific process. By understanding the literature values associated with a particular reaction, chemists can more accurately predict the outcome of the reaction and adjust their experiments accordingly. Ultimately, understanding literature value in chemistry is essential for chemists to gain a better understanding of the principles of chemistry and to accurately predict the outcomes of their experiments.

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Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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Duration : 3 minutes 57 seconds

Transcript of Understanding literary value

Expert – Hello. And welcome to "How Much is it Worth?" The show where you bring in your literature, and our esteem team of experts, that's me tell you what literary value is. First up, we have Reannah with a rather interesting book. So Reannah, tell us about your book. Reannah – [holds up golden book] I found this book in the attic, and I believe the cover is made of solid gold. Expert – Wowzers gold? That's got a lot of value. But, does it have literary value? Let's open it up and read what's inside. Roses are red, violets are blue, cashews are nuts, and so are you. Charming. Reannah – So, how much is it worth in terms of literary value? Expert – Let's just consult my trusty textbook. A text has literary value because it helps us understand something about ourselves in the world. What it says is important to us, and so remains meaningful to people over time. Does your text have any of these things? Is it universally appealing? Timeless? Does it have a significant message? Reannah – No. Expert – Then it doesn't have any literary value. Reannah – But it's made out of pure gold. Expert – That's monetary value not literary value. Reannah – How dare you. Expert – I dare. Let's move on to our next guest, Madhi. So, what have you got for us today Madhi? Madhi – A book I found in the library called 'The Magic Pudding'. Expert – Well, the cover looks a bit old and scrappy, so it might not have much value in terms of money. But, does it have literary value? Let's see. Hm... "Apologies are totally inadequate," shouted Uncle Wattleberry. "You're a danger to the whisker growing public. "You have knocked my hat off, "pulled my whiskers, and tried to remove my nose." Oh, this pudding is so mischievous such a rascal. He doesn't play by the rules at all. He doesn't do what he's told.

Madhi – I know exactly how that pudding feels. I don't like being told what to do either. Expert – Oh and look. This book was written in the year 1918. Madhi – And I still find it appealing more than a hundred years later? Whoa. Expert – I'd say this text was definitely timeless, and has wide appeal. I'd say it definitely has literary value.

[spring sound effect]

Pudding – [person dressed as a pudding jumps up from under the table] I object! Expert – Why do you object? Pudding – Because, as a pudding I find this book offensive. It talks about a pudding with thoughts and feelings, just like me. But despite that, it was always being eaten. As if it were mere object. Expert – Interesting. Not all texts hold literary value for all people or puddings. Looks like literary value can change depending on which culture, society, or groups of people are consuming it. Well, that's all we have time for now on How much is it worth.

End of transcript

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English K-10 Syllabus © 2012 Copyright NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales.

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What is Literary Value?

what is literature value

What’s also problematic is that writers may take this one step further and consider that their writing is indeed better because it has been accepted by an editor.  I don’t want to limit the idea that getting accepted by an editor and receiving a paycheck is enormously validating.  Of course it is.  I’ve been traditionally published as well with Soft Skull Press in the U.S., Canongate in the U.K., and Hachette Litteratures in France.  I come to self-publishing with a sense of both sides of the aisle.

But just because a book has been accepted by an editor does not mean it is automatically better – and dispelling this idea could help self-published books gain more clout, and reduce the amount of prejudice.

Let’s look at a writer like Jack Kerouac.  Most people think of Kerouac as a fifties writer.  Actually, Kerouac was going on the road in the late forties, after the war.  On the Road was written in 1951 – but it was not published until 1957, towards the end of the decade.  Jack Kerouac did most of the writing that’s part of his legacy before On the Road was ever published.  Is On the Road a better book in 1957 than it was when it was initially written in 1951?  I think most people would say no: publication doesn’t determine worth.  The book is the book.

Take other writers like Herman Melville and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  They both died unheralded and Moby Dick and Gatsby become a part of the literary canon only posthumously.  The same goes with a writer like Philip K. Dick.  Read to some degree while he was alive, but not nearly as regarded as he is today, with editions being put out by the Library of America.  Crime writer Jim Thompson is another one, who had a renaissance in the nineties.

Obviously, not all self-publishers are geniuses like the writers mentioned above.  They don’t have to be.  This is just to point out that a book’s success or lack of success does not determine if a book is worthwhile.  It can take decades for a writer to be discovered and reexamined.

Literary Longevity

One of the major problems in the publishing industry is the fact that they gauge writers one book at a time – if one book doesn’t sell, writers are boxed out.  But really, this isn’t how writing – or any art – unfolds.  Someone said that writers generally write the same book over and over again in different ways.  Not to say those books can’t be unique, but personally I feel like I’m writing one long novel made up of smaller novels.  Each novel builds on the last.

So writers should be gauged on what they’ve accomplished during their entire careers, not based on one or two books.  Supposing a writer self-published five novels, and then the sixth novel gets picked up by a traditional publisher, who then puts out traditionally published editions of the first five books – which are all successful.  Are those five self-published books now better than they were before?  No, because that would be like saying that book sales equals artistic worth.  It doesn’t – it’s just that the books are more accessible now that they’re distributed traditionally.

There is some proof in consensus.  But Dan Brown sells more books than, say, Michael Chabon.  Is Dan Brown a better writer?  “Better” is subjective, not based on sales figures.

This idea that editorial acceptance means that a book is more worthwhile just needs to go away.  Books have worth regardless of an editor’s stamp of approval – even the number of readers.  That’s just an example of how much money has changed hands.  To claim that is proof of a book’s worth is a seriously corrupt model of how art should be valued.

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This is an excellent article. It’s true: the literary value of one book over another is entirely subjective. And even when there’s something approaching a consensus — when you encounter many people agreeing about the worth of an author — that consensus is subject to change over time. Today, the consensus would rank Dickinson over Longfellow — but that rank was reversed a century ago.

And I think all writers — even those who put down self-published authors — recognize that this is true. After all, if there were such a thing as objective literary value, and if agents and publishers made their decisions based on that objective determination, then there wouldn’t be any point in sending a manuscript off to more than one agent or publisher. If literary value were objective, then that first rejection that you would receive would be enough to convince you that your manuscript ought to be thrown in the trash. But the fact that writers send manuscripts and queries to dozens of agents and publishers is at least an implicit recognition that judging the value of a piece of writing is always a subjective process.

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You’re absolutely correct, and it’s perhaps even more clear in music, film, and visual art. Acceptance by the industry’s established gatekeepers has no relationship to quality, in either content or execution; as you say, it’s just about “how much money has changed hands.” We live in a celebrity culture that would have us believe that fame equals talent. But I’ve found that whether I want attention from the masses or not is meaningless, because I can only write what I can write. I express who I am, and it does not fit current trends, it falls way outside the zeitgeist, but it is what it is. I’ll be grateful for s small audience of discerning readers; there must be a few who share my sensibilities, and so I’ll count them among my friends. Making a living from my fiction is a fantasy that I can use for a moment’s entertainment, but I’m too old and realistic at this point to imagine my quiet little stories will set the world on fire. Still, if a few people beyond my freinds and family think they’re good, I’m happy. Maybe that’s literary value.

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Since Roland Barthes proclaimed “the death of the author” and the emergence of the reader as the sole arbiter of meaning, “literary value” has been seen as an entirely subjective, not to mention deeply suspect, notion – in academic circles at least. No student of literary studies would attempt seriously to define it.

Back here in the real world, we assign literary value all the time – as individuals and as a culture. I love certain books; I can even come up with my own personal literary canon. So does the culture at large, and here in the English-speaking West that canon would include books as diverse as “The Da Vinci Code”, the Harry Potter series, “The Catcher In The Rye”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the Bible.

People assign literary value for all kinds of reasons: books they enjoyed; books that spoke to them about their own lives; books they read at school and remember fondly; books they feel morally obliged to say they enjoyed, even if they hated them. I’m sure millions of people could assign “literary value” to thousands of self-published novels if only they got the chance to read them. But they don’t. And they won’t get that chance until self-published books get taken seriously by bookstores (because, despite Amazon, physical bookstores are still where most people prefer to browse and buy) and taken seriously by mainstream reviewers in the mainstream media. And that won’t happen until a singular self-published novel comes along that is either so good or so word-of-mouth-popular that it forces the world’s attention en masse towards it, AND the author subsequently REFUSES to sign it over to a mainstream publisher.

I’m not sure that will ever happen, though. Most self-published authors crave the mainstream’s stamp of literary credibility – of literary value – as much as readers do, don’t they?

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A well-executed self-published book (good design interior and exterior, good marketing, good writing, good story, good characters) can erase the perception that the book wasn’t vetted by a traditional publishing house. I still have people congratulating me on being published (and gushing over the book after reading it), which I accept, since it demonstrates that I’ve reached my goal of obscuring the fact that my book is self-published. There is still a stigma, and I wanted to leap it so readers would engage with the book.

Your statement really resonated with me: “This idea that editorial acceptance means that a book is more worthwhile just needs to go away.” Editorial acceptance is virtually meaningless for fiction as far as assessing its quality. The big publishing houses can assert that they improve the quality of the books they choose, and that their selection process is meaningful, but we’ll never know, will we? Do interventions from commercial agents and editors preserve and enhance a new voice’s interesting qualities or mainstream them out? There’s no transparency without self-publishing to show what can go on otherwise. Given the number and consistency of successful self-published books, I’m becoming convinced the editorial selection and editorial processing of commercial publishers probably weren’t all that helpful to many good writers.

In some fields — scholarly communication, for instance — peer-review and editorial processes are extremely important, because what is being pursued is an approximation of the truth, if not actual new immutable facts of physics, biology, or earth sciences. The reports of researchers need to be able to withstand a crucible of scrutiny and validated by experts. But for fiction, where it’s art and entertainment, why shut down a motivated author with a story to tell?

The “scarcity model” of marketing, printing, and distribution is going away. Mass media is fading. Niche media is emerging. The guardians of resources at old-guard publishing houses will have less and less to do as time goes by.

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This I found yesterday on Bookforum from David Ulin — a great read and another take on Kerouac if anyone is interested.

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Great article, thanks for posting that. His cover for OTR is amazing – how is it I’ve never seen that, and how is that an edition was never released with that illustration? It’s amazing that Kerouac still needs to be trumped up as a legitimate writer, and not just a fad or a spokesperson, but an actual artist. A book like “Why Kerouac Matters” shouldn’t have to be written.

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My comment/question does not have anything to do with literary value and self-publishing. I am convinced that a self-published work can have literary value.

I have another question, for someone to answer: Going the traditional route, is there ever a concern about recycling your work to multiple publishers(in the fact of rejections) that the ideas can be “stolen”(i.e. recast in just different words)? I realize that the likelihood of this is small. Still, an individual who has put in so much work can’t afford to take a chance. One possible value of self-publishing is that it is “submitted” once and accepted. Is the issue that I have brought up ever been referred to before, or is it even a realistic concern?

Thanks for your help.

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Good question, but honestly I don’t know the rate of stories getting stolen so I’ll have to look into it. I imagine though that a virtually unread self-published book could get stolen as well, and the publisher could claim ignorance about the previous book – with even more cover because the book was never submitted.

I’d ask this question again in one of the forums because it’s likely that a lot of people won’t see this on an old post.

Thanks, Henry. Someone was telling me about the “poor man’s copyright”(mailing it to yourself). Once again, I think it unlikely that anyone would risk his/her reputation, but it doesn’t hurt to error on the side of caution.

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I agree that it’s all subjective. Look at LORD OF THE RINGS. It has a cult following. You either love it, or hate it.

I’ve said before and stand by this statement: the ratio of good books and bad books in both forums (SP & TP) is 50/50. I even had a sales girl at Borders tell me about 50% of what she comes across in the store is total trite, overdone garbage & formula fiction.

OF course it’s all subjective. Today you could meet a person who says ERAGON is crap, but PERN books are “LYK OMG AWESOMENESS11!!!” And, one week later you get a person telling you how much Pern books suck…

ART, as a whole, is subjective. And literature is art.

IMO, there are more true artists self/indie publishing & small press publishing. And more writers seeking commercial publishing are just looking to “get rich quick.”

A friend of mine told me she’d rather get commercially published because then her children’s stories can get made into a cartoon…

I’d be offended if someone made Wishful Thinking into a cartoon. Well an anime film maybe…but not like a cutesy, disneyesque thing. That would bother me.

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Humanities LibreTexts

1.1: What is Literature?

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  • Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

Defining Literature

In order for us to study literature with any kind of depth, first we must decide what constitutes literature. While works like William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are almost universally accepted as literature, other works are hotly debated, or included or excluded based on the context. For example, while most consider Toni Morrison’s Beloved literature, others debate whether more recent publications such as David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas or Rupi Kaur’s Instagram poetry constitute literature. And what about the stories told through tweets, like Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box” ? What about video games, like Skyrim , or memes, like Grumpy Cat?

Students often throw their hands up in the air over such distinctions, arguing literature is subjective. Isn't it up to individual opinion? Anything can be literature, such students argue. At first glance, it could seem such distinctions are, at best, arbitrary. At worst, such definitions function as a means of enforcing cultural erasure.

However, consider a story about Kim Kardashian’s plastic surgery in People Magazine . Can this be considered on the same level of literary achievement as Hamlet ? Most would concede there is a difference in quality between these two texts. A blurb about Kim Kardashian’s latest plastic surgery, most would agree, does not constitute literature. So how can we differentiate between such works?

Literature vs. literature

As illustrated in the somewhat silly example above, one way we can define what constitutes literature is by identifying what is definitely not literature. For our intents and purposes of defining most terms in this textbook, we will use the Oxford English Dictionary ’s definitions. Many professors who teach Literature use the concept of Big L Literature vs. little l literature (Rollison).

While the definition of little l literature is fairly easy to understand and apply, the definition of Big L Literature remains amorphous. What makes a work “artistic”? How do we define “superior” or “lasting”?

Let’s break down some of the defining qualities of literature in a bit more detail, starting with the word “artistic.”

Exercise 1.1.1

Consider the following works of art. Which of these images do you feel is higher quality or more “artistic”? Which is lower-quality or less artistic? Why? Justify your position by analyzing the elements of each artwork.

man in dark suit stands on mountain overlooking a sea of clouds

While there may be some debate, most students usually respond that Friedrich's painting is more artistic. This is due to several composition differences between the two works:

  • Artist’s skill: it certainly appears as if the first image was produced by an artist with superior skill
  • Fame: for anyone who knows art history, the first image is famous while the other is not
  • Lasting quality: the first image has survived the test of time, remaining popular over two hundred years!
  • Meaning: the first image likely conjures deeper feelings, themes, or ideas, such as isolation and the primacy of nature. This is why this image has become the face of Romanticism.

But what about the images demonstrate the artists’ superior skills? While the second image appears to be produced with a simple doodle, and quickly composed, the first indicates more complexity, attention-to-detail, and craft. Freidrich leverages different colors, textures, shapes, and symbols to evoke a feeling in the viewer. Skilled artists will use different techniques, like the way they move the paintbrush, the pressure they exert or the direction of the brush. They will use textured paintbrushes for a specific effect, such as the difference between the light fluffy clouds and dark mountain rocks. They will use different color pallets to project, as accurately as possible, the feelings they are trying to evoke. In short, while anyone can paint, true artists leverage many different skills, techniques, and materials to render what is in their imagination into a real-life product.

So how does this relate to our attempts to define literature?

Literature is art, but with words.

While the artist uses different colors, paintbrushes, mediums, canvases, and techniques, the writer uses different genres and literary techniques called literary devices . Just like different types of paint, paintbrushes, and artistic tools, there are literally hundreds of literary devices, but some of the most common are metaphor, simile, personification, and imagery. Genre is the type or style of literature. Each genre has its own conventions. Literary genres include creative nonfiction, fiction, drama, and poetry . Works that are literary tend to masterfully use genre conventions and literary devices to create a world in the mind of the reader. Works that are less literary tend to be for practical and/or entertainment purposes, and the writer dedicates less focused energy towards artfully employing literary devices.

However, just because a work is not as literary as another does not mean it cannot be enjoyed. Just like a stick figure or cartoon character might be perfectly fine if intended for a particular audience or purpose, readers can still enjoy People Magazine even though it is not of the same literary quality as Hamlet .

So, to use an example from earlier:

While some literature falls into clear designations of literature or not literature, most works are open to debate. Given the sometimes difficult task of determining whether a work falls into one camp or the other, it may be more helpful to think of Literature less as a dichotomy than a spectrum, with popular magazines on one end and works like Hamlet and Beloved on the other, and most written works falling somewhere between the two extremes.

The Literary Spectrum

This spectrum can be a helpful way to think about literature because it provides a more open-ended way to discuss writing as art than simply labeling works as literary or not. After viewing the above chart, why do you think popular magazines and a Calculus textbook are considered "less literary"? In terms of popular magazines, they do not fit the definition of literature as "lasting" in the sense that they usually fade from relevancy quickly after publication. Additionally, the authors of such magazines are striving for quick entertainment rather than leaving a meaningful impression on the reader. They tend not to use literary devices, such as metaphor, in a masterful way. On the other end, Shakespeare's Hamlet definitely fits the definition of "lasting," in that it has survived hundreds of years. It is full of literary devices used for rhetorical effect and, one would argue, it touches upon deep themes such as death, the afterlife, murder, vengeance, and love, rather than trifling issues such as a starlet's most recent plastic surgery.

Certainly, works of literature are up for debate: that is the quintessential question literary scholars might ask. What makes certain literary works survive the test of time? What makes a story, poem, or drama "good"? While literary scholars are less interested in proving a certain work is "good" or not -- and more focused on analyzing the ways to illuminate a given work -- it can be helpful for you to consider what kinds of literature you like and why you like it. What about the way it was written causes you to feel the way you do about it?

Who Decides What is Literature?

Now that we have at least somewhat clarified the definition of literature, who decides what works are or are not literature? Historically speaking, kings, queens, publishers, literary critics, professors, colleges, and readers (like you!) have decided which works survive and which works do not.

Aristotle was one of the first writers to attempt to decide what works fall into the category of literature, and what works do not. While Aristotle was most famous for his contributions to science and philosophy, he is also considered one of the first literary critics. A literary critic is a person who studies and analyzes literature. A literary critic produces scholarship called literary criticism . An example of this would be Aristotle’s Poetics , in which he identifies the defining qualities of a “good” Tragedy. Aristotle’s analysis of Tragedy was so influential that it is still used today, over two thousand years later!

When a work is officially decided to constitute literature, it enters something called the Canon. Not to be confused with the large metal tube that shoots bombs popular in the 16th through the 19th centuries (cannon), the Literary Canon is a collection of works that are considered by the powers that be to constitute literature. A work that falls into this designation is called canonical. So, to use an example from Aristotle’s Poetics , Aristotle defined Sophocles’ Oedipus Trilogy as the pinnacle of the Tragic Genre. From there, in part due to Aristotle's influence, Greek society valued Oedipus so much that they kept discussing, reading, referencing, and teaching it. Thus, it became a kind of shining example of the Tragic Canon, one which has lasted thousands of years and continues to be read and lauded to this day. Other tragedies, fairly or not, are often judged on their quality in comparison to Sophocles' works. Wild to think that someone who died thousands of years ago still influences what we consider literature today!

Memes and Video Games: Today's Literature?

All this talk of thousands-of-years-old texts might seem out of touch. A lot of people think "old and boring" and literature are synonymous. Students are often surprised to hear that comic books and video games can arguably be considered literature, too. There are plenty of arguments to be made that comic books, such as Maus by Art Spiegalman (1991) or Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (2006) are literature. Cutting edge literary scholars argue video games like Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer (2015) can be considered literary. There is also literature that is published in tweets, like Jennifer Egan's "Black Box" (2012). Some might even consider memes literature!

Generative question: do you think memes can be literary?

chihuahua makes a dramatic face with superimposed text: "me, a writing professor: *assigns 500 word essay*; students: *dramatic chihuahua face*"

A meme is an image or video containing cultural values or ideas, often represented through allusion (implied reference to another work, without naming that work or its author). Memes can spread rapidly spreads through social media. Why? Because the best ones are #relatable; that is, they speak to a common human experience.

Usually memes take the form of text superimposed on an image. For example, the meme above conveys the dramatic reaction students sometimes give when I assign an essay. This is done primarily through a literary device called hyperbole , or exaggeration for rhetorical effect. It conveys its message comically through certain conventions that come along with the meme genre, such as the syntactic structure "me, a [insert noun]" and asterisks, which convey action. Just like in the Shakespearean drama, the colon indicates what each character (me and the students, in this case) is saying or doing. My chihuahua's face looks silly and very dramatic. Through this use of image, text, format, and convention, the meaning I intended to convey was that I was making fun of my students for being over-dramatic about what to me seems like a fairly simple assignment. While some might dismiss memes as shallow, when you start to unravel the layers of meaning, they can actually be very complex and even, dare I say, literary!

Think about a recent meme you have seen, or your favorite meme of all time. Imagine explaining this meme to someone who has no idea what it means. What is the message or idea behind the meme? What cultural reference points does it use to convey its message? In what ways might this meme be considered literature? How might this compare to a short poem, like a haiku?

Not Literature

Let's say you come to the conclusion that a meme, a gossip magazine, or the Twilight Series is not literary. Does that mean you have to feel guilty and give up reading it forever? Or that it is not "good"?

Just because a work is not literary does not mean it is "bad," that it does not have value, or that one cannot enjoy it. Indeed, there are plenty of examples of written works that are on the less literary side of the spectrum but are still fun and enriching to read. Joe Dirt i s not on the same artistic level of cinema as Schindler's List , but my husband still loves watching it. Nothing Taylor Swift has produced is as deep as Tupac Shakur's "Changes" (1992) or Mitski's "Last Words of a Shooting Star" (2014), but listening to Taylor Swift is my guilty pleasure. This is all to say that whether a text is literary or not is not as important as the methods of analyzing texts. In fact, texts which were excluded from literature are often argued into the literary canon through such analysis. Part of what makes analyzing literature so fun is that it means the definition of literature is always up for debate! This is especially important given the history of the canon.

The Problem with the Canon

In an ideal world, literature would be celebrated purely based on its artistic merit. Well-written works would last, poorly-written works would wither from public memory. However, that is not always the case. Works often achieve public prominence or survive based on qualities unrelated to skill or aesthetics, such as an author's fame, wealth, connections, or acceptance by the dominant culture. William Wordsworth, for example, was named Poet Laureate of England and has been taught as one of the "Big Six" major Romantic-era authors ever since. Indeed, he is accepted as part of the Romanticism literary canon. One would be hard-pressed to find a Literature anthology that does not feature William Wordsworth . However, how many people have read or heard of Dorothy Wordsworth , William Wordsworth's sister, who arguably depicted Romantic themes with equal skill and beauty? Or James Hogg, a Scottish contemporary of Wordsworth who was a lower-class shepherd? Similarly, while most readers have encountered F. Scott Fitzgerald or Edgar Allen Poe in their high school literature classes, how many have read Frederick Douglass in these same classes? In short, all artistic skill (arguably) considered equal, why do some authors predominantly feature in the Canon while others do not?

Let’s perform an experimental activity.

  • Find a piece of paper or a whiteboard. On this piece of paper or whiteboard, write down as many works of literature that you feel constitute “Big L Literature.” Perhaps they are works you read in high school, works which have been made into films, or works you have been taught or told are literary masterworks. Don’t turn the page until you have written them down. Try to think of at least 10, but a larger sample size is better. Once you are finished, continue to the next paragraph.
  • Alright, now look at your list. If you know the author of the literary texts you named, write their name next to the work. If you do not know the author, Google the information and write it down. Continue doing this until you have named the author of each work. Once you are finished, read on to the next paragraph.
  • Now, as uncomfortable as it seems, label the gender/race/age/presumed sexual orientation of the authors you listed. After you have categorized them to the best of your ability, consider the following questions:
  • What percentage of the authors are male?
  • What percentage of the authors are white?
  • What percentage of the authors are old/dead?
  • What patterns do you notice? Why do you think this is?

I have replicated this experiment dozens of times in the classroom, and, in most classes, the vast majority of what students have been taught are “Literary Masterworks” are written by (pardon my colloquialism) dead white males. Although, as time progresses, it seems there is increasing but not proportionate representation on average. For example, while women make up about half of the population, over 80% of the most popular novels were written by men ("Battle"). While there are many possible reasons for this discrepancy in representation (which could be the focus of an entire textbook), what does this mean for scholars of literature? For students? For instructors? For society?

As a cultural relic, similar to art, many scholars suggest literature is a reflection of the society which produces it. This includes positive aspects of society (championing values such as love, justice, and good triumphing over evil), but it can also reflect negative aspects of society (such as discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia, historical lack of opportunity for marginalized authors).

For example, enslaved Africans were often prevented from learning to read and write as a form of control. When Phillis Wheatley published her book of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) she had to defend the fact that she wrote it, due to popularly held racist views that slaves were incapable of writing poetry. Later, Frederick Douglass wrote about how his enslavers banned him from reading and writing, as they realized "education and slavery were incompatible with each other" (Douglass). He later championed his learning to read and write as the means which conveyed him to freedom. However, even when trying to publish The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass ( 1845) his publishers were forced to prove that it was, in fact, an enslaved person who wrote the story and not a white man who wrote it for him. Slave owners actively attempted to keep this book from circulation as it threatened the institution of slavery upon which they depended. Indeed, to this day, Douglass' book continues to be banned in some prisons for its potential to incite revolution (Darby, Gilroy).

How could Black writers enter the canon en masse if they were not allowed to read or write? Or if they were forced to spend all of their waking hours working? And if those who had the means to read and write had to jump through absurd hoops just to have their works published? And if even those texts which were published were banned?

Similarly, throughout much of Western history, women have been discouraged from pursuing reading and writing, as it distracted from society's expectations for women to focus on motherly and household duties. Until the 1700s, women were not allowed to go to college. Even then, very few went: only the extremely wealthy. It was not until the 19th century that women attended college in representative numbers. Virginia Woolf wrote in A Room of One's Own that if there are fewer works of literature written by women, it is only because society, historically, has not given women the time, education, funding, or space to do so. In this extended essay, she describes an imaginary sister of William Shakespeare who could have been just as great of a writer had she the same opportunities as her brother.

I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee's life of the poet. She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross-roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her.

Woolf argues that in our time those who have been excluded from literature can now join the canon by adding their voices. The inequity of representation in literature -- which has arguably improved, but in many ways persists today -- can be remedied if more people from a wide array of backgrounds and walks of life are empowered to study and create Literature. That is one reason why the current study of literature is so exciting. As a student and budding literary scholar, you have the power to influence culture through your reading and analysis of literature! For one author and scholar's perspective on this topic, please watch this the following TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to see the ways in which such misrepresentations are harmful, and why it is important to veer away from the historically parochial Canon into what Chinua Achebe calls "a balance of stories" (qtd. Bacon).

screen capture of a TED Talk video of "The Danger of a Single Story" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Link to transcript and video.

  • Original video available on TED Talk website
  • Transcript of video

What "single stories" do you know? What are the "single stories" people have told about you? What story would you tell if you could? What kinds of stories do you want to read? Throughout this class, you will get the opportunity to encounter many different voices and stories from all over the world. While we faced hurdles of copyright permissions, the authors of this textbook attempted to embody the values espoused in this TED Talk & Chinua Achebe's conception of the "balance of stories." As you read the textbook, consider the stories which were omitted, why they were omitted, and what works of Literature you would include in this class if you could.

Works Cited

Bacon, Katie. "An African Voice." The Atlantic , 2000.

"Battle of the Authors: Are The Most Popular Rated Fiction Books Written by Men or Women?" Wordery , 1 Mar. 2019.

Darby, Luke. "Illinois Prison Bans Frederick Douglass's Memoir and Other "Racial" Books." GQ , 20 August 2019.

Douglass, Frederick. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. 1845.

Friedrich, Caspar David. "Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog." Hamburger Kunsthalle Museum , 1818.

Gilroy, Paul. "Banned Books of Guantánamo: 'An American Slave' by Frederick Douglass." Vice , 14 Nov. 2014.

"literature, n.; 3b & 5" OED Online , Oxford University Press, September 2019, Accessed 6 September 2019.

Rollison, David. "Big L vs Little L Literature." Survey of World Literature I. College of Marin, 2008. Lecture.

Wheatley, Phillis. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral . 1773.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. 1929.

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Home » What is Literature – Definition, Types, Examples

What is Literature – Definition, Types, Examples

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What is Literature


Literature refers to written works of imaginative, artistic, or intellectual value, typically characterized by the use of language to convey ideas, emotions, and experiences. It encompasses various forms of written expression, such as novels, poems, plays, essays, short stories, and other literary works.

History of Literature

The history of literature spans thousands of years and includes works from many different cultures and languages. Here is a brief overview of some of the major periods and movements in the history of literature:

Ancient Literature (3000 BCE – 500 CE)

  • Ancient Mesopotamian Literature (3000 BCE – 2000 BCE): This period includes the earliest known writings, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian epic poem that explores themes of friendship, mortality, and the search for immortality.
  • Ancient Greek Literature (800 BCE – 200 BCE): This era produced works by legendary writers such as Homer, known for the Iliad and the Odyssey, and playwrights like Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides, who wrote tragic plays exploring human nature and the conflicts between gods and mortals.
  • Ancient Roman Literature (200 BCE – 500 CE): Roman literature included works by poets like Virgil (known for the Aeneid) and historians like Livy and Tacitus, who chronicled the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

Medieval Literature (500 CE – 1500 CE)

  • Early Medieval Literature (500 CE – 1000 CE): During this period, literature was mainly religious and included works such as Beowulf, an Old English epic poem, and The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, an Italian epic poem that describes the journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.
  • High Medieval Literature (1000 CE – 1300 CE): This era saw the emergence of troubadour poetry in Provence, France, which celebrated courtly love, as well as the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, such as The Canterbury Tales, which combined diverse stories and social commentary.
  • Late Medieval Literature (1300 CE – 1500 CE): Notable works from this period include Dante’s Divine Comedy, Petrarch’s sonnets, and the works of Christine de Pizan, an early feminist writer.

Renaissance Literature (14th – 17th centuries)

  • Italian Renaissance Literature (14th – 16th centuries): This period witnessed the flourishing of humanism and produced works by authors such as Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio, who emphasized the individual, the secular, and the revival of classical themes and styles.
  • English Renaissance Literature (16th – 17th centuries): This era saw the works of William Shakespeare, including his plays such as Hamlet and Macbeth, which explored complex human emotions and the human condition. Other notable writers include Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser.

Enlightenment Literature (17th – 18th centuries)

  • This period marked a shift towards reason, rationality, and the questioning of established beliefs and systems. Influential writers during this time included René Descartes, John Locke, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Denis Diderot.

Romanticism (late 18th – mid-19th centuries)

  • Romantic literature emphasized individual emotion, imagination, and nature. Key figures include William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats.

Victorian Literature (19th century)

  • This era was characterized by the reign of Queen Victoria and featured writers such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, and Oscar Wilde.

Modernist Literature (late 19th – early 20th centuries)

  • Modernist literature emerged as a response to the social, political, and technological changes of the time. It is characterized by experimentation with narrative structure, language, and perspective. Notable modernist writers include T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Marcel Proust.

Postmodern Literature (mid-20th century – present)

  • Postmodern literature challenges traditional notions of narrative and reality. It often incorporates elements of metafiction, intertextuality, and fragmented narratives. Prominent postmodern authors include Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Salman Rushdie, and Margaret Atwood.

Contemporary Literature (late 20th century – present)

  • Contemporary literature encompasses a wide range of diverse voices and styles. It explores various themes and addresses contemporary issues, reflecting the cultural, social, and political contexts of the present time. Notable contemporary authors include Toni Morrison, J.K. Rowling, Haruki Murakami, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Zadie Smith.

Types of Literature

Types of Literature are as follows:

Short story

Graphic novel, electronic literature.

Poetry is a form of literature that uses language to convey emotions or ideas in a concise and often rhythmic manner. Poetry has been around for centuries, with many different cultures creating their own unique styles. While some people may view poetry as difficult to understand, there is often great beauty in its simplicity. Whether you are looking to read poems for enjoyment or to better analyze literary works, understanding the basics of poetry can be very helpful.

Examples of Poetry in Literature

There are countless examples of poetry in literature, ranging from ancient works to contemporary masterpieces. Here are just a few examples:

  • “ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ” by T.S. Eliot (1915): This modernist poem explores themes of alienation, identity, and the human condition.
  • “ Do not go gentle into that good night ” by Dylan Thomas (1951): This villanelle is a powerful meditation on death and the struggle for survival.
  • “ The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot (1922) : This epic poem is a complex and multi-layered exploration of the modern world and its spiritual emptiness.
  • “ The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe (1845) : This famous poem is a haunting and macabre exploration of grief, loss, and the supernatural.
  • “ Sonnet 18″ by William Shakespeare (1609) : This classic sonnet is a beautiful and romantic tribute to the beauty of the beloved.
  • “ Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats (1819) : This ode is a sublime exploration of the power of beauty and the transcendent experience of art.
  • “ The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost (1916) : This famous poem is a contemplative meditation on choices, regrets, and the uncertainties of life.

These are just a few examples of the many works of poetry that exist in literature. Poetry can explore a wide range of themes and emotions, using language and imagery to create powerful and moving works of art.

Prose is a type of written language that typically contains dialogue and narration. In literature, prose is the most common form of writing. Prose can be found in novels, short stories, plays, and essays.

Examples of Prose in Literature

“ The Essays” by Michel de Montaigne (1580) – This collection of prose is a seminal work of the French Renaissance and is credited with popularizing the use of personal reflections in prose literature. Montaigne’s writing style in these works is informal and conversational, and covers a vast range of topics including morality, philosophy, religion, and politics. The prose is notable for its intimacy and personal nature, as Montaigne often uses his own experiences and thoughts to illustrate his ideas.

A novel is a fictional book that is typically longer than 300 pages. It tells a story, usually in chronological order, and has characters and settings that are developed over the course of the story. Novels are often divided into chapters, which help to break up the story and make it easier to read.

Novels are one of the most popular genres of literature, and there are many different types of novels that you can read. Whether you’re looking for a romance novel, a mystery novel, or a historical fiction novel, there’s sure to be a book out there that you’ll love.

Examples of Novels in Literature

  • “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes (1605) – This novel is considered one of the greatest works of Spanish literature and is a satirical take on chivalric romance. It follows the adventures of a delusional knight, Don Quixote, and his loyal squire, Sancho Panza.
  • “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe (1719) – This novel is considered one of the earliest examples of the English novel and is a tale of survival and self-reliance. It follows the story of a man named Robinson Crusoe, who is stranded on a deserted island for 28 years.
  • “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen (1813) – This novel is considered one of the greatest works of English literature and is a romantic comedy of manners. It follows the story of Elizabeth Bennet and her complicated relationship with Mr. Darcy, a wealthy landowner.
  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee (1960) – This novel is a classic of American literature and deals with issues of race, class, and justice in the American South during the 1930s. It follows the story of a young girl named Scout and her experiences with racism and prejudice.
  • “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) – This novel is considered a masterpiece of American literature and is a social commentary on the decadence and excess of the Roaring Twenties. It follows the story of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy and mysterious man, and his obsession with a woman named Daisy Buchanan.

A novella is a work of fiction that is shorter than a novel but longer than a short story. The word “novella” comes from the Italian word for “new”, which is fitting because this type of story is often seen as being between the old and the new. In terms of length, a novella typically has about 20,000 to 40,000 words.

While novels are usually about one main plot with several subplots, novellas are usually focused on one central conflict. This conflict is usually resolved by the end of the story. However, because novellas are longer than short stories, there is more room to develop characters and explore themes in depth.

Examples of Novella in Literature

  • “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad (1899) – This novella is a powerful and haunting portrayal of European imperialism in Africa. It follows the journey of a steamboat captain named Marlow, who is sent to find a man named Kurtz deep in the Congo.
  • “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway (1952) – This novella is a Pulitzer Prize-winning story of an aging Cuban fisherman named Santiago and his epic struggle to catch a giant marlin. It is a testament to the resilience and determination of the human spirit.
  • “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka (1915) – This novella is a surreal and disturbing tale of a man named Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect. It explores themes of isolation, identity, and the human condition.
  • “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck (1937) – This novella is a tragic story of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, who dream of owning their own farm but are thwarted by their own limitations and the harsh realities of the Great Depression. It is a powerful commentary on the American Dream and the plight of the working class.
  • “Animal Farm” by George Orwell (1945) – This novella is a satirical allegory of the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism. It follows the story of a group of farm animals who overthrow their human owner and create their own society, only to be corrupted by their own leaders. It is a cautionary tale about the dangers of totalitarianism and propaganda.

A short story is a work of fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents.

The short story is one of the oldest forms of literature and has been found in oral cultures as well as in written form. In terms of length, it is much shorter than the novel, typically ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 words.

The short story has often been described as a “perfect form” because it allows for greater compression and variety than either the novel or poem. It also allows writers to experiment with different styles and genres.

Examples of Short Story in Literature

  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe (1843) – This classic horror story is a chilling portrayal of a murderer who is haunted by the sound of his victim’s heartbeat. It is a masterful example of Poe’s psychological and suspenseful writing style.
  • “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson (1948) – This controversial short story is a commentary on the dark side of human nature and the dangers of blind adherence to tradition. It follows the annual tradition of a small town that holds a lottery, with a surprising and shocking ending.
  • “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry (1905) – This heartwarming story is a classic example of a holiday tale of selflessness and sacrifice. It follows the story of a young couple who each give up their most prized possession to buy a gift for the other.
  • “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway (1933) – This minimalist story is a reflection on the existential angst and loneliness of modern life. It takes place in a cafe late at night and explores the relationships between the patrons and the waiter.
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892) – This feminist short story is a powerful critique of the medical establishment and the treatment of women’s mental health. It follows the story of a woman who is confined to her bedroom and becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper on the walls.

A graphic novel is a book that tells a story through the use of illustrations and text. Graphic novels can be based on true stories, or they can be fictional. They are usually longer than traditional books, and they often have more complex plots.

Graphic novels first gained popularity in the 1970s, when publishers began releasing collections of comics that had been previously published in magazines. Since then, the genre has grown to include original works, as well as adaptations ofexisting stories.

Graphic novels are now widely respected as a form of literature, and they have been adapted into many different mediums, including movies, television shows, and stage plays.

Examples of Graphic Novels in Literature

  • “ Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-1987) – This graphic novel is considered one of the greatest works of the medium and is a deconstruction of the superhero genre. It follows a group of retired superheroes who come out of retirement to investigate the murder of one of their own.
  • “ Maus” by Art Spiegelman (1980-1991) – This Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel is a harrowing and poignant account of a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust and his strained relationship with his son. The characters are depicted as animals, with the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats.
  • “ Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi (2000-2003) – This autobiographical graphic novel is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution. It follows the author’s experiences growing up in Iran and then moving to Europe as a teenager.
  • “Sandman” by Neil Gaiman (1989-1996) – This epic fantasy series is a masterful exploration of mythology, literature, and human nature. It follows the story of Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, as he navigates through the world of dreams and interacts with characters from across time and space.
  • “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller (1986) – This influential graphic novel is a gritty and realistic portrayal of an aging Batman who comes out of retirement to fight crime in a dystopian future. It is credited with revolutionizing the Batman character and inspiring a new era of darker and more mature superhero stories.

Electronic literature, also known as e-literature, is a genre of writing that uses electronic media to create works of art. This type of literature often includes elements of interactivity, hypertextuality, and multimedia.

E-literature has its roots in early computer games and interactive fiction. These early works were created using simple text-based programming languages like BASIC and HTML. Today, e-literature has evolved into a complex form of art that incorporates multimedia elements such as audio and video.

Examples of Electronic Literature in Literature

  • “ Afternoon: A Story” by Michael Joyce (1987) – This hypertext fiction is considered one of the earliest examples of electronic literature. It is a nonlinear narrative that can be read in multiple paths and contains multimedia elements like images and sound.
  • “ Patchwork Girl” by Shelley Jackson (1995) – This hypertext novel is a retelling of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” that uses digital media to explore the themes of identity, gender, and creation. It contains animated graphics, video, and sound.
  • “ The Dreamlife of Letters” by Brian Kim Stefans (2000) – This work of interactive poetry uses computer algorithms to generate new poems based on the user’s input. It combines traditional poetic forms with digital technologies to create a unique reading experience.
  • “ Flight Paths” by Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph (2007) – This work of electronic literature is a collaborative multimedia project that explores the lives of immigrants and refugees. It combines text, video, and audio to create an immersive and interactive experience.
  • “Inanimate Alice” by Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph (2005-2016) – This interactive digital novel follows the story of a young girl named Alice as she grows up in a world of technology and media. It uses a combination of text, video, animation, and sound to create a unique and engaging narrative.


Non-fiction in literature is defined as prose writings that are based on real events, people, or places. Non-fiction is often divided into categories such as biography, history, and essay.

Examples of Non-fiction in Literature

  • “ The Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin (1859) – This landmark book is one of the most influential works in the history of science. It lays out Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and provides evidence for the descent of all living things from a common ancestor.
  • “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965) – This autobiography is a candid and powerful account of Malcolm X’s life as an African American civil rights leader. It explores his journey from a troubled youth to a powerful orator and activist, and provides insights into the social and political climate of the time.
  • “ The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan (1963) – This groundbreaking book is a seminal work of feminist literature. It critiques the idea of the “happy housewife” and argues that women’s social roles and expectations are limiting and oppressive.
  • “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander (2010) – This book is a powerful critique of the criminal justice system and its impact on communities of color. It argues that the system perpetuates racial inequality and provides a call to action for reform.

Drama is a genre of literature that tells a story through the use of dialogue and action. It often has a strong plot and characters who undergo change or development over the course of the story. Drama can be divided into several subgenres, such as tragedy, comedy, and farce.

Examples of Drama in Literature

  • “ Hamlet” by William Shakespeare (1603) – This tragedy is considered one of the greatest plays ever written. It tells the story of Prince Hamlet of Denmark and his quest for revenge against his uncle, who murdered his father and married his mother.
  • “ A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen (1879) – This play is a landmark work of modern drama. It explores themes of gender roles, marriage, and personal identity through the story of a married woman who decides to leave her husband and children in order to discover herself.
  • “ Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller (1949) – This play is a powerful critique of the American Dream and the pressures of modern society. It tells the story of a salesman named Willy Loman and his family, as they struggle to come to terms with the realities of their lives.
  • “ Fences” by August Wilson (1985) – This play is part of Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle,” a series of ten plays that explore the African American experience in the 20th century. It tells the story of a former Negro League baseball player named Troy Maxson and his relationship with his family.

Also see Literature Review

Examples of Literature

Examples of Literature are as follows:

  • “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides
  • “Normal People” by Sally Rooney
  • “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
  • “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
  • “The Ferryman” by Jez Butterworth
  • “The Inheritance” by Matthew Lopez
  • “Sweat” by Lynn Nottage
  • “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman (inaugural poem at the 2021 U.S. presidential inauguration)
  • “The Tradition” by Jericho Brown
  • “Homie” by Danez Smith
  • “The Carrying” by Ada Limón
  • “Call Me by Your Name” (2017) directed by Luca Guadagnino (based on the novel by André Aciman)
  • “The Great Gatsby” (2013) directed by Baz Luhrmann (based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (2001-2003) directed by Peter Jackson (based on the novels by J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • “The Handmaiden” (2016) directed by Park Chan-wook (based on the novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters)
  • “Lemonade” (2016) by Beyoncé (visual album with accompanying poetry and prose)
  • “To Pimp a Butterfly” (2015) by Kendrick Lamar (rap album with dense lyrical storytelling)
  • “I See You” (2017) by The xx (album inspired by themes of love and connection)
  • “Carrie & Lowell” (2015) by Sufjan Stevens (folk album exploring personal and familial themes)
  • Blogs and online articles that discuss literary analysis, book reviews, and creative writing
  • Online literary magazines and journals publishing contemporary works of fiction, poetry, and essays
  • E-books and audiobooks available on platforms like Kindle, Audible, and Scribd
  • Social media platforms where writers share their works and engage with readers, such as Twitter and Instagram

Purpose of Literature

The purpose of literature is multifaceted and can vary depending on the author, genre, and intended audience. However, some common purposes of literature include:


Literature can provide enjoyment and pleasure to readers through engaging stories, complex characters, and beautiful language.

Literature can teach readers about different cultures, time periods, and perspectives, expanding their knowledge and understanding of the world.

Reflection and introspection

Literature can encourage readers to reflect on their own experiences and beliefs, prompting self-discovery and personal growth.

Social commentary

Literature can serve as a medium for social criticism, addressing issues such as inequality, injustice, and oppression.

Historical and cultural preservation

Literature can document and preserve the history, traditions, and values of different cultures and societies, providing insight into the past.

Aesthetic appreciation:

literature can be appreciated for its beauty and artistic value, inspiring readers with its language, imagery, and symbolism.

The Significance of Literature

Literature holds immense significance in various aspects of human life and society. It serves as a powerful tool for communication, expression, and exploration of ideas. Here are some of the key significances of literature:

Communication and Expression

Literature allows individuals to communicate their thoughts, emotions, and experiences across time and space. Through various literary forms such as novels, poems, plays, and essays, writers can convey their ideas and perspectives to readers, fostering understanding and empathy.

Cultural Reflection

Literature often reflects the values, beliefs, and experiences of a particular culture or society. It provides insights into different historical periods, social structures, and cultural practices, offering a glimpse into the diversity and richness of human experiences.

Knowledge and Education

Literature is a valuable source of knowledge, as it presents ideas, concepts, and information in an engaging and accessible manner. It introduces readers to different subjects, such as history, science, philosophy, psychology, and more, allowing them to expand their understanding and broaden their intellectual horizons.

Emotional and Intellectual Development

Literature has the power to evoke emotions and provoke critical thinking. By immersing oneself in literary works, readers can develop a deeper understanding of complex emotions, empathy for diverse perspectives, and the ability to think critically and analytically.

Preservation of Cultural Heritage

Literature acts as a repository of a society’s cultural heritage. It preserves the history, traditions, myths, and folklore of a particular community, ensuring that future generations can connect with their roots and learn from the experiences of the past.

Social Commentary and Critique

Literature often serves as a platform for social commentary and critique. Writers use their works to shed light on social issues, challenge societal norms, and promote positive change. By addressing controversial topics and presenting alternative viewpoints, literature can spark discussions and inspire activism.

Entertainment and Escapism

Literature offers a means of entertainment and escapism from the realities of everyday life. Engaging narratives, compelling characters, and vivid descriptions transport readers to different worlds, allowing them to experience joy, excitement, and adventure through the pages of a book.

Imagination and Creativity

Literature fuels the human imagination and nurtures creativity. It encourages readers to think beyond the boundaries of their own experiences, envision new possibilities, and explore alternative realities. Literature inspires writers to craft unique stories and ideas, contributing to the expansion of artistic expression.

Personal Growth and Self-Reflection

Reading literature can have a profound impact on personal growth and self-reflection. It provides opportunities for introspection, introspection, and self-discovery, as readers identify with characters, grapple with moral dilemmas, and contemplate the deeper meaning of life and existence.

The Enduring Impact of Literature

Literature has an enduring impact that transcends time and continues to influence individuals and societies long after it is written. Here are some ways in which literature leaves a lasting impression:

Cultural Legacy:

Literary works become part of a society’s cultural legacy. They shape and reflect the values, beliefs, and traditions of a particular era or community. Classic works of literature, such as Shakespeare’s plays or the novels of Jane Austen, continue to be studied, performed, and celebrated, preserving their impact across generations.

Influence on Other Art Forms:

Literature has a profound influence on other art forms, such as film, theater, music, and visual arts. Many famous literary works have been adapted into films or stage productions, reaching new audiences and extending their influence beyond the written word. Artists and musicians often draw inspiration from literary themes, characters, and narratives, further amplifying their impact.

Shaping Worldviews:

Literature has the power to shape and challenge worldviews. Through stories, ideas, and perspectives presented in literary works, readers are exposed to different cultures, experiences, and ideologies. This exposure fosters empathy, broadens perspectives, and encourages critical thinking, ultimately influencing how individuals perceive and understand the world around them.

Inspirational Source:

Literature serves as an inspirational source for individuals in various fields. Writers, artists, scientists, and thinkers often draw inspiration from the works of literary giants who have explored the depths of human emotions, grappled with existential questions, or challenged societal norms. Literature provides a wellspring of ideas and creativity that continues to fuel innovation and intellectual discourse.

Social and Political Change:

Literature has played a significant role in driving social and political change throughout history. Many literary works have addressed pressing social issues, advocated for human rights, and challenged oppressive systems. By shedding light on societal injustices and encouraging readers to question the status quo, literature has been instrumental in inspiring activism and fostering social progress.

Universal Themes and Human Experience:

Literature explores universal themes and the complexities of the human experience. Whether it’s love, loss, identity, or the pursuit of meaning, these themes resonate with readers across time and cultures. Literary works offer insights into the depths of human emotions, dilemmas, and aspirations, creating a shared understanding and connecting individuals across generations.

Intellectual and Personal Development:

Reading literature stimulates intellectual growth and personal development. It encourages critical thinking, analytical skills, and the ability to empathize with diverse perspectives. Literary works challenge readers to reflect on their own lives, values, and beliefs, promoting self-discovery and personal growth.

Enduring Literary Characters:

Iconic literary characters have a lasting impact on popular culture and the collective imagination. Characters like Sherlock Holmes, Hamlet, or Elizabeth Bennet have become archetypes, influencing the portrayal of similar characters in other works and becoming a part of our cultural lexicon.

Preservation of History and Memory:

Literature plays a crucial role in preserving historical events, experiences, and cultural memories. Historical novels, memoirs, and eyewitness accounts provide valuable insights into past eras, allowing future generations to learn from and connect with the past.

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Literature , The Classical Teacher , Winter 2019

Why read literature.

Amidst the gushing river of popular culture, the turbulent climate of politics, media bias, and misinformation, the tornadic winds of modern educational theories, and the volcanic eruption of screens and technology, a pertinent set of questions exists: Why read literature ? Of what value is literature?

It is helpful to think about the role of literature in the context of cultural problems—for literature has always persisted in the midst of and in response to a fallen, often chaotic world. Assuredly, Wordsworth’s lament applies to all ages, a prescient vision of the past, present, and future:

The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

Truly, we have given our hearts away, disconnecting ourselves from God, nature, and others—but literature has the capability of providing a restorative cure. So then, what kind of literature holds such power? The answer is the Great Book. Samuel Johnson said in his “Preface to Shakespeare” that “the only test of literary greatness is length of duration and continuance of esteem.” Moreover, a book may be considered great if it meets three criteria. The first is universality. A great book speaks to people across many ages—affecting, inspiring, and changing readers far removed from the time and place in which it was written. Second, it has a Central One Idea and themes that address matters of enduring importance. And third, it features noble language. A great book is written in beautiful language that enriches the mind and elevates the soul.

Now that we have established what kind of literature to read, let’s consider why we should read literature. Here are six reasons:

1. Reading great literature exercises the imagination. We enjoy stories; it is a pleasure to meet characters and to live in their world, to experience their joys and sorrows. In a practical sense, an active imagination helps us perceive truth, make value judgments, and deal with the complexities of life in creative ways. It even aids in our ability to use logic and to reason well.

2. Reading literature transports us out of our current context and into other ages and places. Interacting with characters across space and time diminishes our ignorance. Mark Twain once remarked, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, narrowmindedness, and bigotry. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” Because most of us cannot pilot a steamboat along the Mississippi River, or travel to many parts of the world as Twain was able to do, literature serves as a worthy guide and vessel for our exploration.

3. Reading literature enables us to see the world through the eyes of others. It trains the mind to be flexible, to comprehend other points of view—to set aside one’s personal perspectives to see life through the eyes of someone who is of another age, class, or race. Reading literature nurtures and develops the power of sympathetic insight.

4. Great works of literature have played a fundamental role in shaping society. For example, The Epic of Gilgamesh initiated the archetypal narrative of the hero embarking on an epic quest, which became a popular and influential blueprint for literature the world over. Some other landmark texts include Homer’s Odyssey , Dante’s Divine Comedy , Shakespeare’s Hamlet , and Cervantes’ Don Quixote , which is credited as the first novel in the Western world, creating a genre that has since become the dominant form of literature in the modern era. A little later, Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther was deeply influential (though not necessarily in positive ways); Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads initiated the Romantic era in English literature, and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped push a divided nation into civil war over slavery. In the early twentieth century, Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle exposed the horrors of America’s meatpacking industry and caused many reforms in the mass production of food. Books have the power to shape culture and history.

5. Reading literature fosters contemplation and reflection, and improves our facility with language and vocabulary. Interacting with these texts requires deliberate, conscious thinking in order to understand and retain longer units of thought. The average number of words per sentence in the sixteenth century was 65-70 words, but, not surprisingly, that number has steadily declined through the modern era to about 15 words today. Likewise, the average number of letters per word has declined, revealing a decrease in the use of longer, higher-level words. The continual exposure to elaborate, elevated syntax and diction develops not only our thinking abilities, but our speaking and writing skills too. We begin to conceive of sentences in the manner of the great writers, imitating their techniques in style and vocabulary. In his poem Four Quartets , T. S. Eliot prophesied that we would be “distracted from distraction by distraction.” Alas, we are unable to retain and reflect upon an idea for any meaningful length of time. Reading great literature is an active push against this tendency.

6. Finally, reading literature helps us to know ourselves—in short, to understand man. For the subject of literature is man. In its pages, we learn about our creative and moral faculties, our conscience, and most importantly, our soul. We see man at the height of his glory and the depth of his folly—with every heartrending thought, action, emotion, and belief in between. In other words, literature holds a mirror up to human nature, revealing its inner depths and complexities, its array of virtues and vices; and moreover, it holds a mirror up to a cultural age, illuminating its shape and ethos.

Long ago, inscribed on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi was the maxim, “Know thyself.” Reading literature remains the surest means to do just that—to live the life Socrates declared the only one worth living: the examined life. After all, literature may simply be the creative expression of metaphysics and being: In some mysterious way, each life is every life, and all lives are one life—there is something of ourselves in each and every character we meet in the hallowed pages of a Great Book.

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Chemistry LibreTexts

2. Chemical Literature

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Using Scientific Literature

In this initial exercise you will learn more about searching the scientific literature. You need not follow the standard format for labs for your report (this applies to this report only). Next week’s quiz will include material from this discussion.

The goal of scientific research is to produce new knowledge that others may use. Performing a literature search can save you much work and even embarrassment in the long run. Google, Wikipedia and other similar resources are very useful. However you need go beyond these for serious scientific research.

Why We Need Peer Review

This video presents an outstanding explanation of why media reports of science are often completely wrong. This is why we need the scientific peer review process. Watch: Scientific Studies: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Structure of a Typical Scientific Paper

  • Although each scientific paper may be a little different, most papers follow the following template.
  • Short Introduction describing the purpose, relevant theory and derived equations.
  • Experimental with a short description of the apparatus and procedures.
  • Results including sample calculations, tabulated results with error bounds.
  • Conclusions with a discussion of error, precision and accuracy as appropriate. Compares results with any other available literature values and discusses error and accuracy.
  • References. A citation of all sources including books, peer reviewed journals and the internet.

Peer Reviewed Scientific Journals

Peer reviewed scientific journals remain the most important source of information for scientists. Examples include the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Science, the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Peer review refers to the process where papers are submitted to journals. The papers are sent anonymously to other scientists who review the papers for importance, errors, length, readability and other things. Reviewers make recommendation to editors who reject or accept them depending upon the reviews. Peer review is the “gold standard” of the scientific process although mistakes are often made. It does not guarantee that the paper is correct but it catches obvious errors and fraud (usually)

Other Primary Sources

Preprints (papers sent to journals and under peer review are now often available before their acceptance by journals but beware! Some many never appear due to errors found during peer review.

The “Gray Literature"

  • Masters and Ph.D. Dissertations
  • Government Reports
  • Proceedings from scientific meetings

Secondary Literature

The secondary literature presents results that are compiled from the primary sources. Textbooks are a form of secondary literature with which you are probably most familiar. Other important sources include indexes and abstracts. These include sources such as Chemical Abstracts, Medline and Web of Science. Other excellent sources include review journals such as Chemical Reviews and Reviews of Geophysics; and data collections such as the CRC Handbook.

Chemical Abstracts and SciFinder Scholar

Chemical abstracts is the most respected source of chemical information and guide to the literature. The print version began in 1907 and the electronic version began in 1967. It covers almost anything in the primary literature that can be construed to be new research in chemistry or chemical engineering. This means that it also includes much about the literature in biology, environment, geology, materials, medicine and physics. Coverage is global and it tries to include all languages. You can search it in many ways including by keywords, title and authors. SciFinder Scholar is an electronic version of chemical abstracts.

MEDLINE® (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online)

MEDLINE is a leading bibliographic database for medicine, medicinal chemistry and the life sciences. Given the importance of chemistry for medicine, MEDLINE includes a significant amount of abstracts in most areas of chemistry. An advantage of MEDLINE is that it’s free and available to the general public. MEDLINE contains citations of over 15 million journal articles. It begins in about 1950 (there is some older material) to the present. There are citations from approximately 5,000 journals in 37 languages. MEDLINE is a subset of PubMed® which is, in turn, one of the databases provided by US National Library of Medicine 's National Center for Biotechnology Information (Source US National Library of Medicine website; see below).

Instructions for MEDLINE®

1) MEDLINE: Go to the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) website: 2) Go to PubMed in upper left-hand corner. 3) Try an author search first. Type a name of one of our faculty in the search box at the top and submit. If no articles appear try again. If too many appear try a list of two names or more. Now you will find fewer citations. For example suppose that you are looking for a paper written by Fujita AND Stockwell. Arrive at a more reasonble number of abstracts. View one of the abstracts by clicking on its title. 4) Now try a subject search. It works just like the author search.

Google Scholar

A Google search engine focused on the scholarly literature. Works mostly like Google; see the site at:

American Chemical Society

To see a list of journals published by the ACS go to: Search these journals at:

Science - American Association for the Advancement of Science

Beware of Science Fraud

Approximately one published scientific paper per day is retracted due to some form of misconduct that ranges from plagiarism to fabricating results. Two percent of scientists say they have fudged their data in publications. Do not commit fraud in your labatory reports or during your professional career. Read: What’s Behind Big Science Frauds? By Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky May 22, 2015 in the New Your Times.

Assignment - To Do

In this initial exercise you will perform a literature search by using an online abstract service. Most operate in more or less the same way. Given the health profession orientation of many in our class you can use MEDLINE® OR the other sites listed above.

Complete Table 1

Complete Table 1 using MEDLINE to perform the search, or use or another one of the databases listed above. Be sure to put you name and the database you used and write down how many citations you find for your search.

Table 1. Subject / Keyword Search Results – The quotes are necessary where shown.

Discuss the Results for Table 1.

Notice that many of the searchs in Table 1 are linked, such as the search for Enzyme and the search for Thermodynamics AND Enzyme. Write a paragraph that discusses the differences between the connected search terms. Include in your report.

Find a Paper by Using a Search Strategy

The best databases include links so that you can download papers. However costs are usually involved. Howard University has several subscriptions that are free to you when used within the university. Come up with a total of three search terms. These may be authors or key words or some combination of these and list in the Report section. Use the search terms to find a recent research article in a primary peer reviewed journal . You many need to revise the search terms depending on your results. Try to find a paper that includes all or most of the standard paper components that we discussed in class (Abstract, Experimental (or methods), Results, Discussion and References). Do not worry if the paper does not contain an Appendix because its not included in the typical paper. Download the paper to your computer. Each student will find a unique paper. You must use a defensible search strategy; just using a paper that you happen to have does not count. After you find a paper, Reseserve I t by writing down its reference on the reservation sheet on my door.

Write a Paragraph Explainging Your Search Strategy

To get credit for this part you must successfully explain in your report how you found your paper from the databases. From your report I need to be able to find it from your description. Include in your discussion a list of your search terms such as: Term 1. Thermodynamics ; Term 2. Kinetics ; Term 3. Enzyme

Discuss the Paper Briefly

For the primary research paper that you found discuss its format. How well does it present its results? I am not looking for a detailed review, just a short assessment that should be expressed in two or three paragraphs. If you were the reviewer would you recommend major changes (why or why not)?

More Questions to Answer in Your Report

  • What is the difference between the primary and secondary scientific literature?
  • Discuss the differences between a paper in a peer-reviewed journal, a review article and a textbook.
  • Given the same paper, would scientists believe it more if it were published in Nature or a Federal Government Report? Why?
  • Discuss the peer review process. What are its virtues? Can you imagine any serious problems and deficiencies?
  • Suppose you are new to a specialized research area but familiar with the overall subject. Would it be better to begin your search with a paper in a peer reviewed journal, a review article or a textbook? Defend you answer.
  • Compare the Example Databases to Google and the Wikipedia. What are their relative strengths and weaknesses?
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Why Literature Matters in the 21st Century

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2 The Value of Literature

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This chapter first looks at the value and definition of art as it should and can be if ever it has moral value. The chapter asks the question why and how are artistic and literary activity morally valuable and excellent? For this question to merit an answer, two issues are addressed in the chapter. The first issue is the relationship of beauty to truth and goodness. In what ways are they compatible? The second issue deals with the uniqueness of beauty and in what ways is it different from the true and the good. For example, In the Republic , Plato speaks of the artist as an imitator twice removed from reality. In that sense, what we today call reality may have implications of deception in such a way that it blocks us from understanding a more essential meaning, a more genuine reality. This initiates the chapter's search for the truth and goodness of literature and literary criticism.

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What Literature Can Teach Us

Communication and research skills—and how to be a better human being

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Literature is a term used to describe written and sometimes spoken material. Derived from the Latin word  literature  meaning "writing formed with letters," literature most commonly refers to works of the creative imagination, including poetry, drama , fiction , nonfiction , and in some instances, journalism , and song. 

What Is Literature?

Simply put, literature represents the culture and tradition of a language or a people. The concept is difficult to precisely define, though many have tried; it's clear that the accepted definition of literature is constantly changing and evolving.

For many, the word literature suggests a higher art form; merely putting words on a page doesn't necessarily equate to creating literature. A canon is the accepted body of works for a given author. Some works of literature are considered canonical, that is, culturally representative of a particular genre (poetry, prose, or drama).

Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction

Some definitions also separate literary fiction from so-called "genre fiction," which includes types such as mystery, science fiction, western, romance, thriller, and horror. Think mass-market paperback.

Genre fiction typically does not have as much character development as literary fiction and is read for entertainment, escapism, and plot, whereas literary fiction explores themes common to the human condition and uses symbolism and other literary devices to convey the author's viewpoint on his or her chosen themes. Literary fiction involves getting into the minds of the characters (or at least the protagonist) and experiencing their relationships with others. The protagonist typically comes to a realization or changes in some way during the course of a literary novel.

(The difference in type does not mean that literary writers are better than genre fiction writers, just that they operate differently.)

Why Is Literature Important?

Works of literature, at their best, provide a kind of blueprint of human society. From the writings of ancient civilizations such as Egypt and China to Greek philosophy and poetry, from the epics of Homer to the plays of William Shakespeare, from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to Maya Angelou , works of literature give insight and context to all the world's societies. In this way, literature is more than just a historical or cultural artifact; it can serve as an introduction to a new world of experience.

But what we consider to be literature can vary from one generation to the next. For instance, Herman Melville's 1851 novel " Moby Dick "   was considered a failure by contemporary reviewers. However, it has since been recognized as a masterpiece and is frequently cited as one of the best works of Western literature for its thematic complexity and use of symbolism. By reading "Moby Dick" in the present day, we can gain a fuller understanding of literary traditions in Melville's time. 

Debating Literature 

Ultimately, we may discover meaning in literature by looking at what the author writes or says and how he or she says it. We may interpret and debate an author's message by examining the words he or she chooses in a given novel or work or observing which character or voice serves as the connection to the reader.

In academia, this decoding of the text is often carried out through the use of  literary theory using a mythological, sociological, psychological, historical, or other approaches to better understand the context and depth of a work.

Whatever critical paradigm we use to discuss and analyze it, literature is important to us because it speaks to us, it is universal, and it affects us on a deeply personal level. 

School Skills

Students who study literature and read for pleasure have a higher vocabulary, better reading comprehension, and better communication skills, such as writing ability. Communication skills affect people in every area of their lives, from navigating interpersonal relationships to participating in meetings in the workplace to drafting intraoffice memos or reports.

When students analyze literature, they learn to identify cause and effect and are applying critical thinking skills. Without realizing it, they examine the characters psychologically or sociologically. They identify the characters' motivations for their actions and see through those actions to any ulterior motives.

When planning an essay on a work of literature, students use problem-solving skills to come up with a thesis and follow through on compiling their paper. It takes research skills to dig up evidence for their thesis from the text and scholarly criticism, and it takes organizational skills to present their argument in a coherent, cohesive manner.

Empathy and Other Emotions

Some studies say that people who read literature have more empathy for others, as literature puts the reader into another person's shoes. Having empathy for others leads people to socialize more effectively, solve conflicts peacefully, collaborate better in the workplace, behave morally, and possibly even become involved in making their community a better place.

Other studies note a correlation between readers and empathy but do not find causation . Either way, studies back the need for strong English programs in schools, especially as people spend more and more time looking at screens rather than books.

Along with empathy for others, readers can feel a greater connection to humanity and less isolated. Students who read literature can find solace as they realize that others have gone through the same things that they are experiencing or have experienced. This can be a catharsis and relief to them if they feel burdened or alone in their troubles.

Quotes About Literature

Here are some quotes about literature from literature giants themselves.

  • Robert Louis Stevenson : "The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish."
  • Jane Austen, "Northanger Abbey" : "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
  • William Shakespeare, "Henry VI" : “I’ll call for pen and ink and write my mind.”
  • What Is the Canon in Literature?
  • What's the Difference Between Classical and Classic Literature?
  • The Basic Characteristics of Effective Writing
  • 5 Novel Setting Maps for Classic American Literature
  • Notable Authors of the 19th Century
  • Why We Don't Read
  • What Is a Modern Classic in Literature?
  • Genres in Literature
  • American Author Maps: Informational Texts in the English Classroom
  • An Introduction to Metafiction
  • AP English Literature and Composition Course and Exam Information
  • Feminist Literary Criticism
  • High Interest-Low Reading Level Books for Reluctant Readers
  • Interior Monologues
  • Banned Books: History and Quotes
  • What Is a Written Summary?

Literary Theory and Criticism

Home › Philosophy › Value Theory

Value Theory

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on October 20, 2020 • ( 0 )

The study of value, called axiology, has three main branches: ethics, concerning the morally good; political theory, concerning the social good; and aesthetics, concerning the beautiful, or taste. One might perhaps add another branch, pragmatics, which concerns the utilitarian good or instrumental efficiency of means toward some specific end. Modern value theory may be said to have arisen with modern science, which distinguished between fact and value. For Plato , there was no discord between the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. If the Good seemed to take precedence over the True or the Beautiful, it was because it was impossible to conceive the highest perfection as inactive and heartless, because the Good added the dimension of action to that of contemplation. In contrast, modern science separated morals, aesthetics, and science, banning from the True all qualities to which decisive (i.e., intersubjectively verifiable) empirical observation was not applicable and relegating them to the domain of value. Thus was human value distinguished from natural fact, and subjectivity from objectivity. This distinction between fact and value, between qualities that by general consensus inhere in objects themselves and our preference for one object over another, has been challenged by recent critical theory.

The historical road to contemporary value theory in literary studies may be mapped upon an axiological continuum. Extrapolating from a Platonic notion of the objectivity of the Beautiful on one pole, we might continue through the more subjectivist theories of the great Enlightenment axiologists and finally conclude with our contemporary notions of value-contingency, in which all dualistic axiologies (both subjectivist and objectivist) are rejected and in which “contingency” replaces universality and naturalness. For Plato, beauty inhered in the object, was a fact of the object’s existence, insofar as it reflected the objective Form of the Beautiful ( Phaedo 100c ff., Symposium 211 ff.). By the time of David Hume ‘s essay “Of the Standard of Taste” (1757) the distinction between science and value had commenced. Beginning with the “obvious” observation of “the great variety of Taste, as well as of opinion, which prevails in the world” (226), the empiricist Hume recognizes diversity in matters of taste. Yet because he is also committed to a simplistic deterministic account of human psychology, his recognition of the relativity of value is checked and compromised. The psychological argument is, briefly, that certain “forms or qualities” of objects naturally produce feelings of pleasure or displeasure in us by virtue of our physiological constitution, and these feelings are the foundation of all general aesthetics (233). Consequently, for Hume, there are universal “objective” forms of beauty that are rarely recognized or appreciated due to what he calls “diversity in the internal frame or external situation” (244)—or contingent personal and social factors. These latter explain the varieties of taste that, as Hume says, are “too obvious not to have fallen under every one’s observation.”

what is literature value

In the Critique of Judgment (1790), Immanuel Kant is at pains to distinguish objective judgments, which are predicated upon objects (the table is brown), and subjective judgments, which are predicated upon subjective agreeableness (the wine is pleasant, it gives me pleasure, I like it), from judgments of taste, which are neither objective nor subjective in these senses but are rather both subjective and objective. They are subjective in that they express experiences I have alone, and they are objective in that everyone will agree with them as if they concerned objective properties of things. The experience I have, which is the “free play” of imagination synthesizing perception and concept (the phenomenology of which we find in book i, “The Analytic”), however, is quite independent of our “demand” for universal assent to our liking, which Kant explicates in “The Dialectic.” There he brings the phenomenological experience into alignment with his larger, logical project. We bestow upon our subjective experience the universality that accords it objective status by establishing the beautiful as the symbol of the morally good. It may be said that what has dropped out of aesthetics in the 200 years since Kant is the perceived connection between the beautiful and the morally good.

But Kantian aesthetics has not declined without a trace. By subsuming the beautiful to the morally good, Kant made it clear that humankind had no pressing need for the beautiful: the rational progress of history could occur without it. From Friedrich Schiller through the present, Kant’s notion of “free play” has been applied beyond the aesthetic arena proper, as a criticism, as it were, of life under modern conditions. Karl Marx and Marxists have echoed, more or less loudly, Schiller’s insistence upon the need for the aesthetic “free play of the imagination” as an objective condition of the rational progress of history (the liberation of all human potentialities from the roles and hierarchies of modern life) and as a corrective to the instrumentalization and rationalization of the human faculties under modernity. All such critics have correspondingly resisted the division or rationalization of knowledge in the separation of fact and value, or science, politics, and art. In addition to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The German Ideology (1846) and Leon Trotsky in “Revolutionary and Socialist Art” (1924), one might refer to the European Decadents of the late nineteenth century (e.g., Oscar Wilde’s “Soul of Man under Socialism,” 1892), the Frankfurt School of the early twentieth, and certain tendencies in critical legal studies and cultural studies . In Michel Foucault ‘s last interviews he considered a less politicized and more individualistic (rather than socialist) version of “the idea of a self which had to be created as a work of art” (362-70).

With contemporary critical theory in the Left or progressive tradition, it is necessary to introduce Friedrich Nietzsche , who in The Genealogy of Morals (1887) and elsewhere revealed value as a con, a tool of domination of some over others, and urged a “transvaluation of values” in the name of personal liberation. The fork that divides two major developments in contemporary value theory—the progressive branch, which includes cultural studies, critiques of science and objectivity in feminist theory, Marxism, critical legal studies, and so on, and the skeptical branch, which includes value relativists and the so-called neopragmatists—was present in Nietzsche’s critique of domination and his radical perspectivism or skepticism.

An influential tendency within the progressive critique of value is the critical legal studies movement (CLS). Although it is often confused with the recent area of study called “law and literature,” which is concerned with epistemological and interpretive problems common to both legal texts (constitutions, statutes, judicial decisions) and literary texts, the group of legal scholars that first met in 1977 under the rubric CLS were driven not by philosophical hermeneutics but by the perception, historically shared by both political economists and Marxists, that legal theory had come to justify the status quo. Attacking the dualistic foundations of liberal thought, distinctions between the state of nature and the social order, subjective and objective, private and public, CLS saw no distinctive mode of legal reasoning that could be contrasted with political dialogue and accordingly asserted that law was politics. CLS’s first task was to criticize objectivist legal theory for this rationalization of inequality, which it did in a form called “trashing” or “delegitimating,” what in literary studies is called Deconstruction . This entailed a full-scale critique of liberal economic and political theory, which occupied the first decade of the movement. CLS’s second task, uncompleted at the beginning of the 1990s, was to propose something else, to transform the institution of the law.

In aesthetics, CLS’s attack upon dualistic formulations of fact and value, subjective and objective, private and public, has taken a more progressive turn than similar attacks in “law and literature.” An important and prolific, if idiosyncratic, CLS writer, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, has proposed a reintegration of the extraordinary or art and the everyday. He urges us to transform the modern realms of private life and ideals—art, romantic love, religion—from their mystifications under current conditions into tools for the enrichment of ordinary life, so that imaginative literature, for example, would not be the realm of artistic alienation (say no to society) and sublimation (a dream of freedom, autonomy, personality) but rather a window upon possibilities of other social relations, a view that has much in common with Schiller’s liberation of human potentialities as derived from Kantian “free play.” “The extraordinary,” Unger writes,

makes it possible to grasp the ideal, and to contrast it with one’s ordinary experience of the world. In this sense, the extraordinary is the starting point for the critique and transformation of social life. It poses the task of actualizing in the world of commonplace things and situations what has already been encountered as a divine liberation from the everyday…. In the course of this actualization both the extraordinary and the everyday must be changed. The final and most important change would be the disappearance of the distinction between them. ( Knowledge 232)

Yet Unger’s awareness of the double-edged value of art— its alternate function as haven or escape—also has much in common with Nietzsche’s critique of value as domination, or a fraud.

The extraordinary representation of the ideal in art, religion, and love has a two-faced significance for everyday life. On the one hand, it can offer the self temporary refuge. In this sense, the extraordinary is a mystification, the aroma that sweetens the air of the established order. Its very availability makes the absence of the ideal from everyday life seem tolerable and even necessary. Because the sacred, art, and love are separated out from banal events, everything in the ordinary world can become all the more relentlessly profane, prosaic, and self-regarding. (232)

In other forms than Unger’s, the critical practice of CLS, lying somewhere between the progressive project and that of the pragmatists, to whom we shall presently turn, is allied with cultural studies. Like CLS, in its assertion that law is politics (rather than “above” or “outside of” politics), cultural studies considers that the production of the literary canon, the consumption, or meaning , of imaginative literature, and the status of the literary community’s cultural capital are within the realm of politics. Like CLS, in its various “trashings,” cultural studies has deconstructed such knots of ideology in literature as subjective/objective, self/other, public/private, and extraordinary/ everyday; and like CLS, it has argued that deconstruction that merely works on the status quo is ultimately a conservative practice. Like CLS, in its positive program to transform the law by reintegrating it with everyday life, cultural studies wants to reintegrate the extraordinary (called art or literature) with the ordinary (called popular culture ). Like CLS, in its critique of the liberal subject as autonomous agent in pursuit of selfinterest derived from the social position of dominant males, cultural studies reevaluates subjectivity and situates the “literary subject” in relation to other past, present, and even future forms as a product of culture rather than nature. Like CLS, in its assault on hierarchy, cultural studies replaces Culture with a capital C as an elite cultural capital with a pluralistic, diverse conception of cultures.

These last goals bring us to the other major branch of contemporary value theory, to those who see progressive aesthetics as ultimately misguided, oppressive, or insufficiently pluralistic. These are the contemporary skeptics or value relativists or, in a weaker form, pragmatists. Following upon structuralist and poststructuralist critiques, this branch denies that value, including literary value, is a property of objects, subjects, or psychological processes between subjects and objects, arguing that it is instead a product of the dynamics of cultural systems. Although his own work is often more overtly political (“overtly” because relativists would deny the distinction between political and other practices), value relativists and pragmatists often cite Pierre Bourdieu to illustrate the contingency of value.

In contradistinction to Kant, Bourdieu considers that aesthetics has functioned as a negative force in human progress. Accusing the French educational establishment of merely reproducing bourgeois ideology and therefore reproducing the status quo, in Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (1979, trans., 1984) Bourdieu argues that aesthetic “distinction,” or taste, is solely a product of education, family, and the social trajectories of economic class and status. He has traced the establishment’s aesthetic preference for form and style to its distance from economic necessity and the bluecollar taste for content (“realism”) and moral or recreative agreeableness to engagement with material conditions. For Bourdieu, who provides a sociology of the institution of the art world, rather than the symbol of a freedom that can be (in Kant, ought to be ) shared universally, taste has come to be institutionalized in a manner that excludes and oppresses. The “disinterested” aesthetic no longer refers to freedom but is reduced to a class-based preference for form. Contrasting Bourdieu, whom she calls “postaxiological,” with earlier axiologists, Barbara Herrnstein Smith writes,

He emphasizes that, because these learned patterns of cultural consumption tend to be experienced as internal preferences and interpreted as evidence of different natural inclinations and competences, taste also functions to legitimate the power of the socially dominant. Specifically, the cultural objects and practices favored by the dominant classes … are legitimated as intrinsically superior by the normative institutions controlled by those very classes; at the same time, the tastes of the dominant for those objects and practices areinterpreted as evidence of their own natural superiority and cultural enlightenment and thus also their right to social and cultural power. Moreover, this doubly legitimating interpretation is accepted and reproduced not only by those who benefit most directly from it but by everyone, including those whose subordination it implicitly justifies. (76)

Such analyses of value as institutional hegemony, whether called postaxiological or post-Nietzschean, make up the greater efforts of the new value relativists, whose project is to question and critique objectivist, or dualistic, thought. Thus, Smith sees literary value as neither objective (a property of objects and commanding universal assent) nor subjective (personally whimsical, locked into the consciousness of individual subjects, or without interest or value to others) but rather as a changing function of multiple contingent variables. For her, when we make an explicit judgment of a literary work, we articulate an estimate of how well the work will serve certain implicitly defined functions for a specific implicitly defined audience that is conceived of as experiencing the work under certain implicitly defined conditions. The project of cultural criticism, then, is not some universalist progressive trajectory but the examination of how literary values are formed, sustained, and exercised.

Similarly, in his debates with legal and “law and literature” theorists, Stanley Fish hoped to redirect the inquiry into interpretation away from the self-conscious deliberation of the individual judge or critic and toward the battlefield of institutional practice, thus revealing the politics of legal or literary interpretation and, again, destabilizing the fact/value dichotomy. Fish contends that arguments based upon higher moral principles or theories, or even rationality per se, are the means by which institutional actors ply their trade and advance their interests. Each institutional faction will try to establish its own governing rules as the supposedly neutral principles that constrain interpretation. Fish insists that there are “no principles above interest, only principled interests” (“Interpretation” 501). Heretofore feminist and cultural critics have differed with Fish upon his notion of interpretive community, which, they claim, is typically based upon some monolithic or idealized version of “the profession” and is insufficiently differentiated or pluralistic. It may be said that Fish has had little to say about the ways in which institutional practices in law or literature change. Here, feminist and cultural critics have been most sensitive to the subtle articulations of pluralism, difference, and institutional change.

There are, then, three main areas of debate in the academy on the question of literary value. The first area centers on the humanistic attempt, following Mattew Arnold , to use literature to supply transcendent values to unify a pluralistic culture, the crudest recent attempt being Allan Bloom’s. The second involves the leftist attempts to promote progressive culture through the traditions of critical theory and expansion of the curriculum beyond national, gendered, and generic boundaries. The third includes analyses of the institutionalization of literary value, as in Herbert Lindenberger’s historical account of the “Great Books” or “Western Culture” courses in U.S. undergraduate curricula or Fish’s long-standing preoccupation with interpretive communities, especially professional communities, that constrain interpretation by “deep” standards of rationality that determine such issues as what constitutes a good argument or what counts as evidence.

Further Reading Andrew Arato and Eike Gebhardt, eds., The Essential Frankfurt School Reader (1978); Matthew Arnold, Lectures and Essays in Criticism: The Complete Prose Works of Matthew Arnold, vol. 4 (ed. R. H. Super, 1962); Pierre Bourdieu, La Distinction: Critique sociale du jugement (1979, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice, 1984); Drucilla Cornell, “The Poststructuralist Challenge to the Ideal of Community,” Cardozo Law Review 8 (1987), “Toward a Modern/Postmodern Reconstruction of Ethics,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 133 (1985); Louis Dumont, “On Value, Modern and Nonmodern,” Essays on Individualism: Modern Ideology in Anthropological Perspective (1986); Stanley Fish, Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies (1989), “Interpretation and the Pluralist Vision,” Texas Law Review 60 (1982); Michel Foucault, The Foucault Reader (ed. Paul Rabinow, 1984); Regenia Gagnier, Subjectivities: A History of Self-Representation in Britain, 1832-1920 (1991); Sandra Harding, The Science Question in Feminism (1986); Harvard Law Review 99 (1986, special issue on CLS); David Hume, “Of the Standard of Taste,” Essays Moral, Political, and Literary (ed. Eugene F. Miller, 1963); David Kairys, The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique (1982); Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement (1790, trans. Werner S. Pluhar, 1987); Mark Kelman, A Guide to Critical Legal Studies (1987); Duncan Kennedy and Karl E. Klare, “A Bibliography of Critical Legal Studies,” Yale Law Journal 94 (1984); Herbert Lindenberger, “On the Sacrality of Reading Lists: The Western Culture Debate at StanfordUniversity/’ Comparative Criticism 2 (1989); Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964); Friedrich Nietzsche, Das Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik and Zur Genealogie der Moral (1871 and 1887, The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, trans. F. Golffing, 1956); Plato, The Collected Dialogues including the Letters (ed. E. Hamilton and H. Cairns, 1973); Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989); Friedrich Schiller, Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen (1795, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, in a Series of Letters, trans. Reginald Snell, 1965); Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (1988); Stanford Law Review 36 (1984, special issues on CLS); Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution (trans. Rose Strunsky, 1975); Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Knowledge and Politics (1976), Passion: An Essay on Personality (1984); Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man under Socialism,” The Artist as Critic: The Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde (ed. Richard Ellmann, 1969). Source: Groden, Michael, and Martin Kreiswirth. The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

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What is literary value.

Professor Lynette Hunter

Professor Lynette Hunter

  • Extra Reading

Most people have little idea of what literary value is, yet we cannot learn about literarture that does not get into print. This lecture looks at publishing as a capital-intensive industry with a structure of editors and readers trained to gauge audience reception and marketing possibilities. Publishers rarely take risks, yet it takes a long time to learn how to read writing from cultures and places outside the ones we have been trained to recognise.

Writers who will be discussed include Arthur Miller, Sylvia Plath, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott and Nayantara Sahgal.

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15 October 1997

What is Literary Value?

What is literary value? That is the question I will be asking throughout these lectures, although they are not particularly linked in any other way. For this first lecture, I would like to raise a few direct and immediate questions related to ‘What is literary value?’ Do you read any more? If you do, how do you choose what you read? Do you ever get the sense that someone is choosing for you?

I do not expect a specific answer, either from today’s questions, or from the larger issue of value. Throughout the recorded history of writings about literature, oratory, story-telling, or the verbal arts in general, it has never been the case that people have found a specific answer. One of the earliest texts on oratory, storytelling and the then new custom of writing, talks about the way that we only find what we value through the interaction between speaker and audience, writer and reader: those communities that lie behind the word ‘communication’. That idea, of interaction, comes from Plato’s Phaedrus. This will be one of the few references I make to Rhetoric, under which name these lectures are given. But since I am a student of rhetoric, let me set the record straight: rhetoric is for me, the art of persuasion. In everyday English we tend to think of ‘rhetoric’ as manipulation, coercion and complexity - persuasion to do things we don’t want to, and hence, bad. But persuasion is also toward ‘good’ action. We can never take for granted that people will know what a ‘good’ action is. I hope we have all had the experience of changing our minds, with the attendant grim sense of humiliation or possibly the joyous ‘thank God I found that out before I did it’. Or, remember the horror and disgust at the projected floggings in Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago, and the equally forceful surprise from Saudi Arabia that people in England did not seem to want justice to be done. Rhetoric is there precisely to deal with such differences. Not to ignore them or eradicate them, because sometimes differences have to remain for a time and we need ways of continuing to talk to each other, but there to provide the possibility of negotiation and discussion.

During the Renaissance, there was an interesting way of differentiating rhetoric from logic, which is also persuasive. Logic was symbolised by the ‘closed fist’, a fist possibly of anger, or aggression, and certainly closed in upon itself, in its own world. In contrast, rhetoric was symbolised by the ‘open hand’, the hand that gives, or that shakes hands, even with people we are not sure we trust. You can see this close to home in young children who cannot get their way over something because they cannot explain or get it into the right words. They stand there, tense fists at their sides, clenched and frustrated. Of course, as they learn how to articulate, to discuss, it is often the adults who then stand with clenched fists, feeling outwitted and sometimes correctly. But learning those skills with words is learning about rhetoric. Rhetoric’s open hand always tries to form a community of communication.

I have said rather a lot about rhetoric because it is fundamentally tied to value. It is the way people argue over, worry about and, frequently, come to decisions about value, so that they can act and do things. But for writing today, for the whole range of how we use words, value is a problem.

If I were to ask you to write down on a piece of paper the four most important writers in your life, you would probably want first to know what the list was for- education? Revelations about your inner life? Representing your culture to another’s? If the list were for education, I can almost guarantee that there would be a high level of consistency. When I have asked other groups about this, they invariably come up with Shakespeare, one 19th century novel, one Romantic poet and usually a modernist like James Joyce. The choice reflects the ‘canon’, that set of authorised and authorising texts about which I shall say more in a moment. If the list were for revealing inner life, it would be bound to be much more varied, although I would guess that there would be quite a bit of consistency depending on your age or cultural background. But if the list were for reaching out to another community and saying, this is our best, or this best conveys what we value, would we choose important texts on the basis of style? or narrative? or culture? How could we not put Shakespeare’s writing on the list, even if we are not English? All over the English-speaking world, except the United States, there have been schemes of education modelled on the ‘O’ level or GCSE, and the ‘A’ level, to which Shakespeare has always been central, even in India, Canada or Jamaica. Claire Harris, from Trinidad and Tobago says: 

“We studied the British syllabus, then wrote exams set and marked in England. We learned English folk songs, put on Gilbert and Sullivan. British gym mistresses taught us Morris dancing among other survival skills.”

Read for example the poem by Derek Walcott, Ruins of a Great House, which is filled with references to, among other, Horace and Shakespeare and John Donne. So, even if we work in a very different cultural world, can we leave out those common grounds for understanding? And if we do include them, how do we make room for the other more immediate stories, songs and poems?

What gets into and what stays out of the canon is largely decided by an interlocking relationship between education and publishing, and I will now go on to talk about each of these. First, education. When Matthew Arnold, in the 1860s to 70s, along with others, proposed and saw through the passing of the Education Acts, he was faced with, among many other things, a problem of what the pupils were to learn. The 1870s were in effect revolutionary: suddenly, within 10 years, every city, town, village, hamlet, in England had to teach its young people between the ages of 6 to 12. Space had to be found; in many places schools were built, and are still with us causing problems today; children had to be habituated to going to school, teachers had to be found, and decisions had to be made about what to teach. The teachers were frequently women, or impoverished men, neither with sufficient income to buy several copies of individual authors, so Arnold and his associates compiled a textbook, an anthology of the texts thought most appropriate for teaching the young people of England, and of course making it possible to examine them all on the same basis.

Arnold’s anthology brought together valued literature for teaching. It contained among other things, work by Shakespeare, Pope, the Romantic poets who had been so influential on Arnold’s generation, and, writing by his friends: Tennyson, Browning and himself. It was class specific to the upper middle classes (with the exception of Shakespeare), and it was wholly writing by men. This should not surprise us. Arnold after all lived in a period when the value of English writing was going through enormous upheaval. Writing of any kind takes education and time, and if you are writing to earn a living time is short. As you probably know, it was only in 1709 that writers were legally recognised as having any right over their published writing; when copyright was invested in the writer, the writer became an author and could control the money earned from their writing. Yet it was not until the late 19th century, only about 100 years ago, that they really started to do so. Although writers today would no doubt claim that they were not paid sufficiently.

That writers started to be paid a reasonable wage was one of the many revolutions brought about by Charles Dickens, himself the archetype of the lower middle class man ‘made good’. One of the best known examples of his help was the contract negotiation he worked on with Mrs Gaskell. She had received a pittance for her first book, but went on to make £200 for the second - still not much by Dickens’ standards, but no mean sum. Curiously enough, it was during the latter part of the 19th century that writing in English came to be valued so highly that it could be taught for the first time in universities along with the classics. Writing for money had been long-despised, even putting your name on a piece of writing was not considered correct in those days before the writer self-consciously attempted to create a media personality that would turn them into a commercial entity. Broadside ballads or chapbooks, the cheap-books carried rolled up by peddlers along with their buttons and ribbons, was not ‘literature’, and the people who wrote it probably did not have much time to spend re-writing and polishing; the time they spent writing was not leisure but work. So, prior to the end of the 19th century, most of the valued English writing was written by people with education, time and money.

Arnold’s canon remained in place for 50 years, until after World War I and another extraordinary decade, the 1920s, years of swift widening of the franchise. 1929 was the year when England finally attained adult enfranchisement, and again, for someone my age, born shortly after the second World War, it requires an act of imagination to understand what that rather dry ‘fact’ might mean to people. It is an experience that fascinates me, and from my readings over many years of texts from that period, I would suggest that people not only felt an extraordinary excitement because of the way a ‘vote’ was seen as an access to political power, but also that they felt they had a right to access cultural power. Certainly during this time F R Leavis along with T S Eliot and others, set about reforming the canon. They added women, for example Jane Austen and George Eliot. They added writers from different class positions such as Thomas Hardy and D H Lawrence. And they added some of their friends, including T S Eliot.

That canon is still largely in place, 70 years later. Nearly every ‘A’-level student reads some Shakespeare, possibly some Chaucer, and maybe some Pope, usually a Romantic poet and always a 19th century novelist, and then one or two 20th century writers. It is quite extraordinary though, that there are few texts from the major treasury of English-language literature in the United States, and rarely any from the immense wealth of English-language writing from Commonwealth countries. Americans in the canon include Sylvia Plath and Arthur Miller, and it is interesting to speculate about why they are there. Plath, one supposes, because she lived in England, wrote here, married here (famously), died here and is buried here. Perhaps she counts as English, and certainly more so than say James Joyce or Samuel Beckett. More to the point may be the way in which her life and death were presented to English society. Recent studies of her literary fame point out the way that media interest turned an undeniably good poet into someone who could stand for a generation of women.

Arthur Miller is more of a problem. Miller, along with Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams, had plays produced in this country all through the decade immediately following the second World War, when, arguably, there was little new happening in English theatre. But after a further decade, this time of silence, at the end of the 1960s when American Studies were taking off, it was Miller who entered the canon with his plays The Crucible and Death of a Salesman. Miller may have been adopted because his plays are comparatively accessible. You only have to remember that The Crucible was produced in this country the same year as Beckett’s Waiting for Godot to recognise the conventional, almost 19th century technique in Miller’s work. Also, I suggest, the subject matter of his plays was considered more appropriate for young people. The issues in The Crucible,about what dreadful things people do when given access to power, are more palatable than the overt portrayals of sex and violence in O’Neill and Williams. But again, the unique aspect of Miller, is that he created an image for himself. After all, he had been married to Marilyn Monroe; he had mixed with the great and the good in American politics; he self-consciously carved out a role for himself in the civil rights world of the 1960s, as a social commentator, for example, retrospectively constructing The Crucible as a play about McCarthyism when it predated that period. One of his directors, Elia Kazan, suggested that he was simply trying to cover up the fact that the play was about a failed marriage. His timing was impeccable, for his productions returned to England just in time to catch the wave of interest in American Studies, and in a time of financial leniency that even saw a Centre for Miller Studies set up at the University of Essex.

Despite these and a few other additions, there has not been a lot of movement in the canon, nor is there much overt debate. Yet I cannot over-emphasise its importance: we train all our young people to read by way of these writers; they acquire most of their sense of literary value and aesthetic taste from these writings. Yet in this country of extraordinary diversity of verbal cultures, we rarely include others, even though we are very good at claiming the Scots and the Irish as English in order to do so. There have been open and vociferous debates in the United States, in France, in the Netherlands, in Spain, in Canada, about the canon, but not here. In the American debate that has continued to flare up at least since 1990, Frank Kermode has come out with implacable statements on ‘literary value’ and how to identify it. He has faced equally implacable opponents from the black community or the community of women’s studies, so that some universities in the States teach, for example, only literature from the black communities. They fight it out in the pages of the New York Review of Books and elsewhere. But here, Alistair Fowler’s statement from the 1980s, that if women had written anything worth reading it would already be in the canon, has simply not been taken up.

There is no debate about why the work of a major English language writer from India, Nayantara Sahgal, is not in the canon in England - although she will be speaking here in Gresham College on 1 December. Sahgal, who could be compared to a more visible and engaged Indian version of Doris Lessing, has produced work which stems from the 150 year tradition of English language writing in India. Her writing is part of a common cultural base not only for Asian-Indian writers in India and here, but also for several generations of English writers and readers who recognise the need to understand a part of their cultural heritage. However, neither the cultural mediators, nor the educational and publishing institutions that maintain that mediation, know how to value her writing. It may even be the case that their current activities prevent that valuing. She herself says that, “the publicity, the hype, the commerce surrounding [a novel] are so relentless that this most magical way of passing one’s time has been relegated like all else - like music, art, and sport - to the status of merchandise, and ourselves to one more form of bombardment”.

The canon is necessary for education partly, they say, to ensure equable examinations, largely because it offers a common cultural ground for people so that if, for example, you want to explain something by referring to a story or a poem, the person you are speaking to can understand your point, but also because in the end you cannot read everything. So how do you choose? Well, on the whole, we allow the canon to choose for us. Possibly more telling, the canon is necessary for publishing. So many of the criteria by which people decide on literary value are at root to do with publishing.

Look for example at the Orange Book Prize debate of the early summer this year. The Orange Book prize is a prize awarded to a book, in English, written by a woman. Last summer the debate started because someone in the New Statesman complained that publishing was being taken over by women: women editors, women publishers, women readers and now women writers. Lisa Jardine, an eminent scholar at Queen Mary and Westfield, defended the prize, pointing out that women frequently get left off other lists, which is indeed the case, and saying that the prize was a celebration of the richness and variety of women’s writing. And she has a point; after all there would not be the same complaints about say a prize for writing by people from the black community. But, she then went on to say that men’s writing in England was parochial and limited, of no interest to anyone outside a very small world. This of course attracted swift retaliation and questions like: shall we then give the world a literary equivalent of Benny Hill? Jardine responded, at one point saying that it was all right for Jane Austen to be parochial because most people lived in that way then....but do not do so now. The Orange Book Prize debate was rather like the American canon debate, but in effect it was all about publishing. However, my point is that implicitly behind all the arguments was the idea that eventually we could agree on who was right. We would, in the end, know who was right about value.

I do not think that value works like this anymore, if it ever did, because now we lack the rules of thumb for deciding what to read. We do not need to worry about the lack of agreement, but we do need to worry about the difficulty of determining value for ourselves.

England is a nation of scribblers. Nearly everyone is the country can write and if they cannot we get very worried about it. We train young people for 10 years of their early life, 5 to 15 or 16 years of age, to read and write. In the process they learn not only how to fill in licence applications and read cinema listings, but also about the canon and canonical value. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of people every year who try to get into print. Not only with letters to newspapers, which I happen to think an immensely difficult literary form, but full size books: novels, travel writing, cookery, sport, poetry, politics, biography. And the result is: that there is so much there that it is frightening. Wherever I travel at the moment I find that even book reviewers, critics and writers reading around their own work, are saying that they just cannot keep up. Perhaps this is why we still pay attention to the Booker Prize: the judges are supposed to have read so much.

What is your experience of bookshops these days? The sheer enormity of Waterstone’s or Bargain Books, where they try to control your sense of being overwhelmed by categorising books, creating physically small spaces for science fiction, or poetry, or humour, or philosophy. I am sure that is one of the reasons we continue to go back to the same shop, because they become familiar and relatively secure in the face of the enormity of publication. But they are a far cry from those small, often dark and frequently slightly seedy bookshops described so well by George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying, where you had a personal relationship with the impoverished owner and may even have kept an account. I have to admit that, faced with so many books, I do buy a book at times by its cover. I read the reviews on the back, nervously aware that they may all have been written by friends of the author, I go through the inside back flap about the author trying to work out if they have a life interesting enough to write about something interesting, and know all the while that this is of course walking into manipulation by the publisher’s marketing designer. But it works. Look for example at the difference between the covers of two publishings of Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners: completely different messages are sent out by one, which has a sober dark green cover with an elegant illustration on the front, and the other, which appears to be a kind of Mills and Boon lookalike. Or, consider the first tin foil cover, found on Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel. I used to think that tin-foil would never get on to ‘serious’ books until the recent Rushdie-West collection of Asian-Indian literature out this summer.

And so, to publishers:   The circle of publishing relations looks something like this:   Publishing, until very recently, has, of necessity, been a capital-intensive industry. If you are a publisher, you have to put all your money upfront to produce books that possibly no one will buy. Because of the way that books are printed, it has not made sense to produce a few and test the market, so you need to decide from the start whether you will print 300 or 3,000 or 300,000. So publishers have to be very sure of their markets, and of their products. When a writer submits a manuscript, the publisher’s editor will decide if it fits in with other things the publisher is selling on their list. They may send the script right back, or they may send it out to publishers’ readers who are asked for an opinion. On the basis of that response, they may ask the writer to rewrite, recast, excise whole sections, and so on. Eventually it comes back, and the publishers can go through the procedure of copy-editing, design and production. But publishers and booksellers work in close co-operation. During the 19th century, the massive circulating library called Mudie’s was the final arbiter on any literary book. Publishers regularly sent Mudie’s upcoming scripts, to ensure that Mudie’s would take them into their stock, hence guaranteeing a profit. If Mudie’s Readers objected to elements in the script, such as the colour of the heroine’s hair, the entire character of the villain, or the language used, then back it would go to the writer for changes. These days similar exchanges still take place between certain high street booksellers and publishers. Even if the book is a ‘classic’ it may need editing for the present day. In fact, publishers do not on the whole like producing classics unless there is a very good reason, such as a film version coming out. There needs to be a definite cultural impetus to bring them back, and the strongest impact is made by education. The canon is very good at this, in fact it is usually only the things in the canon that get reprinted. An excellent example is the gradual trawl toward popularity of books by the Brontes. Part of the result of women being allowed to take university degrees (only in 1949 at Cambridge), meant that women got jobs in universities, and by the 1970s were beginning to ask why it was mainly writing by men that was taught. As a direct result of that institutional change, people went searching for classics by women writers, and found, or re-discovered, the Brontes. Wuthering Heights,Jane Eyre and the rest, are now staple parts of the canon, and publishers, seeing the thousands of copies that could be sold because required for a course, have responded to demand. But they are not very good at being pro-active, and find it extremely difficult to be so with new writers.

New writing in England, in any period of the time since the Renaissance, has had a very specific function. Like any other artist, the writer is a licensed critic, traditionally given the leeway to have a long and critical look at society, to satirise its conventions, to be subversive, to question and challenge, and, ultimately to construct new ways of looking at the world that society comes to value and eventually to use in shaping new conventions, new rules of thumb for behaviour. So, by definition, writers are not necessarily writing in ways that the audience will easily recognise. Indeed, among the many definitions for ‘literature’ as opposed to any other writing, is that it uses language in a way that is different from the familiar; hence ‘popular’ writing is not literature because it plays toward convention often because the writer needs to make money. Only those who do not depend on writing for their living can afford to alienate their audience. This begs the question of how readers read, for they may make conventional writing ‘literature’ by reading it differently. What is interesting is that as these writers become recognised, as their challenge to convention becomes valued, they enter the canon. The canon is thus a curious and potentially explosive paradox of change and subversion controlled within the legitimating walls of education and publishing.

As I indicated earlier, writers of valued literature whose work ended up in the canon, initially wrote from their own experience, their own needs and their own vision. The writing carried out a very important political function by waking people up to questions that needed to be asked and values that needed to be affirmed. Yet they did so within their experience, addressing issues and hopes specific to that group. Now, although the group from which they came was powerful, just as the politicians who claimed to represent the people while they really only represented a small group, just so the artists also only represented a small group of people. Until well into this century, publishers like educators, seemed to have much less of a problem in assessing value. As Nayantara Sahgal says, “present writing may well be an elite rehearsal for the more representative performance yet to come”. Granted, there were still too many books to publish but at least the audience was more or less defined, and you knew who you could get to review things. But now artists come from all segments of society, from different class positions, with different gender positions, and with different colours of skin. These new writers write about their concerns but do not necessarily claim to represent their audience, nor, if they are writers new to England, would it make much sense to us if they did. Rather they frequently work by opening the door to discussion within their communities, and potentially among other communities. I would suggest that writers or poets are no longer Shelley’s legislators of the world, but rather, negotiators of the local. This requires a rather different approach to literary value.

Canons need to be there, although we need new ways of negotiating them, but we also need to create new ways of valuing and of reading for new situations. In a rather British way, the educational system has been slowly changing the canon - certainly in universities, more slowly in A-Level syllabuses - with an impact on publishing that means that the general reader sees new books. It’s almost surreptitious. Yet while it may work for the people who value new reading communities, surreptitiousness does not necessarily help to encourage discussion among different communities. That discussion and negotiation has actively to be learned, rather that conventionally accepted. We do not want simply to pay lip service to other writing communities, for this becomes a kind of populism that accepts that there are a lot of different standards in a lot of different places, while evading any attempt to try to work on what might be valued in that other writing, how it might communicate, or not, with our own. Value is not something universal that we will all agree to, but something we work on within local settings - something we can participate in not simply ‘receive’.

How do we find those settings? That’s a difficult question, and I hope in some of the later lectures to address that issue, while challenging many of the grounds we take for granted in literary value.

© Lynette Hunter 2012

This event was on Wed, 15 Oct 1997

professor lynette hunter

Professor of Rhetoric

Lynette Hunter was the Gresham Professor of Rhetoric between 1997 and 2000.

She is currently Professor of the History and Rhetoric of Performance at the...

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CBSE Class 10 English Important Textbook Questions for Board Exam 2024: Short and Long Answer Questions for Last Minute Practice

Cbse class 10 english important questions: check class 10 english important textbook questions to prepare for 3 and 6 mark questions for the upcoming cbse board exam. all questions are based on repeated topics from the prescribed syllabus for cbse class 10 english..

Gurmeet Kaur

CBSE Class 10 English Important Textbook Questions: In the CBSE board exam 2024, class 10 English (Language and Literature) question paper will have short and long answer type questions from English textbooks - First Flight and Footprints without Feet. These questions will appear in the literature section of the paper with short questions carrying 3 marks each and long answer questions for 6 marks each. Here, in this article, we have collated short and long answer questions from some of the most important topics occurring in the English textbooks prescribed for CBSE Class 10. With the help of these important questions, students can assess their preparedness and prepare more effectively for the upcoming CBSE Class 10 English board exam in 2024.

Important* CBSE Class 10 English Best Resources and Tips for Last Minute Preparations

CBSE Class 10 English Important Short Questions from First Flight

Answer the following questions in 40-50 words each. (3 Marks for each)

(i) Explain how the description of the devastation caused by the hailstorm reflects the sadness within Lencho, in A Letter to God?                                                 

(ii) What did the Buddha want Kisa Gotami to understand?

(iii) Who are Paders and why are they called friends of the chidren?  

(iv) Why did the woman at the control room look strangely at the pilot of old Dakota?       

(v) Write a short note on the relationship between the author and his pet Mijbil.                                  

(vi) According to the poet, what do ‘Fire and Ice’ represent? Do you agree with him?

(vii) What tells you that Anne loved her grandmother?

(viii) Describe the magnificent views of the tea estate with reference to the lesson, ‘Tea from Assam’.

(ix) What happened when Maxwell decided to transport Mijbil to England by air?

(x) What did the baker do first once he reached a house?

(xi) Evaluate the line - Some say the world will end in fire/Some say in ice - in the context of volcanic eruptions, forest fires, meteor collisions, melting ice caps, etc.?

(xii) What details did Valli pick up about the bus journey? How did she pick up these details?

(xiii) 'Paper has more patience than people'. Elucidate.

(xiv) Why did Lencho write a letter to God?

CBSE Class 10 English Important Short Questions from Footprints Without Feet

(i) What compels Griffin to become a homeless wanderer without clothes?

(ii) The entry of one character in The Midnight Visitor brought a twist in the ending. Explain.

(iii) What was the passion of Horace Danby and how did he satisfy it?  

(vi) Why did Matilda throw the invitation spitefully?

(v) What information did Ausable give about the imaginary balcony? Why did he do so?

(vi) Richard's mother was his companion and spent a lot of time with him. A parent should try to be a companion to a child. Justify.

(vii) What were the factors which contributed in making Ebright a scientist?

(viii) Why was Dr Herriot confident that Tricki will be in the hospital room soon?

(ix) Why was Matilda Loisel always unhappy?

(x) How is Ausable different from other secret agents?

(xi) Why is Mrs. Pumphrey worried about Tricki?

(xii) Why does Horace Danby steal every year?

(xiii) Who is Fowler and what is his first authentic thrill of the day?

(xiv) State one likely reason the writer of The Midnight Visitor chose to characterise Ausable as short and fat.

CBSE Class 10 English Important Long Questions from First Flight

Answer the following questions in 100-120 words. (6 marks for each)

(i) ‘Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ describes the value of freedom in life and how it is necessary for civilization to grow. What value do you derive out of it to make life an enjoyable experience?

(ii) How did Anne Frank use her writing skills in convincing her teacher?                   

(iii) Is it right to confine wild animals into cages? Why or Why not?

(iv) What do you think is the value of courage ? Discuss it in relation to the story 'His First Flight'.

(v) Paper has more patience than people. This was how Anne the girl feels in the lesson “From the Diary of Anne Frank”.

(vi) As a girl/boy of almost the same age group can you identify yourself with Anne’s emotions. Also refer to the similar feelings of Amanda. Describe how Anne and Amanda must have felt and highlight the reasons which would have forced Anne to write a diary and Amanda to long for loneliness.

(vii) His father and mother had come around calling to him shrilly, upbraiding him, threatening him. What role was played by the family of the seagull to train him in the art of flying?

(viii) It is true that without the help of the members of family, the young seagull could not fly. Elaborate.

CBSE Class 10 English Important Long Questions from Footprints Without Feet

(i) Hari Singh didn’t board the express and returned to Anil. It shows that everyone has some conscience that they do not put in practice. Elaborate with reference to ‘The Thief’s story’.

(ii) What changes occurred in Matilda’s lifestyle after she had lost the necklace?

(iii) The story, A Triumph of Surgery is a powerful example of the importance of saying “NO”. Explain giving examples from the text related to Tricky and his illness.       

(iv) “Show off and a fake life may give temporary happiness but bring misfortune and problems in future.” Explain the statement by linking it to the desires and behaviour of Matilda Loisel.

(v) ‘Science should be used as a boon and not as a bane”. Analyse this in detail with reference to Griffin the lawless scientist in the lesson “Footprints without Feet”.

(vi) “Living beyond your means can cause mental agony and ruin.” Forgetting ground realities and having endless aspirations is not good. Elaborate this with reference to the story “The Necklace”

(vii) Why did the thief befriend Anil? Why did he steal Anil's money? Why did he come

back and put Anil's money back?

(viii) How does Think Tank compare the Martians with the people on the Earth? What guesses are made by him about the books found on earth?

(ix) In the story ‘A Questions of Trust’, Horace Danby carefully planned his theft, but was outwitted by another thief ‘The lady in red’. Would you agree that over confidence may prove fatal one day? Discuss.

Also Check|

CBSE Class 10 English Extract Based Questions from Footprints Without Feet

CBSE Class 10 English Extract Based Questions from First Flight

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  2. - What's Your Question?

  3. Literature

    Literature, a body of written works. The name has traditionally been applied to those imaginative works of poetry and prose distinguished by the intentions of their authors and the perceived aesthetic excellence of their execution. ... On the contrary, a scientific exposition might be of great literary value and a pedestrian poem of none at all ...

  4. Literary value

    Looks like literary value can change depending on which culture, society, or groups of people are consuming it. Well, that's all we have time for now on How much is it worth. End of transcript. Related resource. Textual concepts literary value poster (PDF 52 KB) Related reading.

  5. What is Literary Value?

    What is Literary Value? The post about the ways that people criticize self-publishing brings up the idea that a traditionally published book has a stamp of approval and so traditionally published books are more reliable. This is true.

  6. 1.1: What is Literature?

    A literary critic is a person who studies and analyzes literature. A literary critic produces scholarship called literary criticism. ... A meme is an image or video containing cultural values or ideas, often represented through allusion (implied reference to another work, without naming that work or its author). Memes can spread rapidly spreads ...

  7. (PDF) The Value of Literature

    In The Value of Literature, Rafe McGregor employs a unique approach - the combination of philosophical work on value theory and critical work on the relationship between form and content - to...

  8. (PDF) Values in Literature and the Value of Literature: Literature as a

    Values in Literature and the Value of Literature: Literature as a Medium for Representing, Disseminating and Constructing Norms and Values In book: Values in Literature and the...

  9. What does "lit." mean in boiling point or melting point specification?

    Abbreviations: mp, melting point; bp, boiling point; lit., literature value; and dec, decomposition. A full space is used between the number and the unit °C; the degree symbol is closed up to the C. A superscript number after "lit." denotes the number of the reference.

  10. The Value of Literature

    Smart, provocative, and engaging, The Value of Literature is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the philosophy of literature. McGregor reinvigorates debates on the cognitive value of literature, the ethical significance of narrative, the aesthetics of appreciation, and the nature of literary value itself. This book is a major achievement.

  11. On Studying the Cognitive Value of Literature

    For example, our inability to draw "messages" out of literary works becomes a cognitive benefit of literature: rather than providing answers, literary works provoke questions and prompt us to explore solutions for them. This aspect is interesting as we attribute literary value to bewilderment and perplexity that characterize literary ...


    What is valuable about literary studies? What is its point and pur-pose? In Th e Values of Literary Studies: Critical Institutions, Scholarly Agendas , leading scholars in the fi eld illuminate both the purpose and priorities of literary criticism.

  13. PDF Literary Value and the English Canon

    Literary Value and the English Canon The literary canon is often understood to mean the group of authors or works that a consensus of academics, historians and teachers recognise as worthy of study: these are the texts that are regularly in print, are studied for school examinations and in universities and which have 'status'.

  14. What is Literature

    Definition: Literature refers to written works of imaginative, artistic, or intellectual value, typically characterized by the use of language to convey ideas, emotions, and experiences. It encompasses various forms of written expression, such as novels, poems, plays, essays, short stories, and other literary works.

  15. Why Read Literature?

    Of what value is literature? It is helpful to think about the role of literature in the context of cultural problems—for literature has always persisted in the midst of and in response to a fallen, often chaotic world. Assuredly, Wordsworth's lament applies to all ages, a prescient vision of the past, present, and future:

  16. What is literature for? The role of transformative reading

    For the Transformative Reading Program (henceforth, the TR Program), the purpose of literature lies in the experience itself; and this experience is transformative. According to TR, literary reading always implies both a text and a reader in a reciprocal experience at a particular time and place. In such a fluid exchange, both text and reader ...

  17. 2. Chemical Literature

    Chemical abstracts is the most respected source of chemical information and guide to the literature. The print version began in 1907 and the electronic version began in 1967. It covers almost anything in the primary literature that can be construed to be new research in chemistry or chemical engineering.

  18. Literature

    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, ... One study, for example, suggested that the presence of familiar cultural values in literary texts played an important impact on the performance of minority students.

  19. 2 The Value of Literature

    2 The Value of Literature Mark William Roche Pages 17-48 Published: November 2004 Split View Cite Permissions Share Abstract This chapter first looks at the value and definition of art as it should and can be if ever it has moral value.

  20. What Literature Can Teach Us

    Literature is a term used to describe written and sometimes spoken material. Derived from the Latin word literature meaning "writing formed with letters," literature most commonly refers to works of the creative imagination, including poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and in some instances, journalism, and song. What Is Literature?

  21. Value Theory

    An influential tendency within the progressive critique of value is the critical legal studies movement (CLS). Although it is often confused with the recent area of study called "law and literature," which is concerned with epistemological and interpretive problems common to both legal texts (constitutions, statutes, judicial decisions) and literary texts, the group of legal scholars that ...

  22. What Is Literary Value?

    Share. Most people have little idea of what literary value is, yet we cannot learn about literarture that does not get into print. This lecture looks at publishing as a capital-intensive industry with a structure of editors and readers trained to gauge audience reception and marketing possibilities. Publishers rarely take risks, yet it takes a ...

  23. On "The Value of Literature" and "What Is Literature?"

    "The Value of Literature" (Munhak ŭi kach'i, 1910) was written shortly after Yi came back to Korea from Japan after studying at Meiji Gakuin, where he was exposed to and influenced by European...

  24. Question: What is the literature value for the molar extinction ...

    What is the literature value for the molar extinction coefficient of benzophenone in ethanol? There are 3 steps to solve this one. Who are the experts? Experts have been vetted by Chegg as specialists in this subject. Expert-verified. Step 1. S t e p 1: L i t e r a t u r e v a l u e:

  25. What makes a literary city?

    One of the unexpected pleasures of travelling as an author is the sense of feeling immediately at home in an unknown city because it has libraries, bookshops, a culture of reading and creating ...

  26. CBSE Class 10 English Short and Long Questions for Board Exam 2024

    These questions will appear in the literature section of the paper with short questions carrying 3 marks each and long answer questions for 6 marks each. ... Long Walk to Freedom' describes the ...