It could be read poetically instead of practically

It would be apt, at this point, to define what literature
is. It has often been contested as the subject
of worth and used in varying and oftentimes vague ways. The etymological
origins of the word offer assistance in that area. “Literature is derived from
the classical Latin word litteratura
which means “use of letters, writing, system of letters, alphabet, instruction
in reading and writing, writings, and scholarship.” Importance is given to
act of reading and writing and the form rather than the texts themselves. The
word literature can be used to signify quality: The Oxford English Dictionary
includes a definition of literature as “Written works, especially those
considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.” It is important to note that
this distinction does not include the texts which do not adhere to the standard
form or merit requisite to be labelled “good”. This definition of literature as
a work that has possesses “lasting artistic merit” raises the question: how is
this artistic merit defined and by whom? One must also wonder what fits in the
category of merit and what is excluded because of the various social, political
or concerns.


As long as what is being read is written text, the
definition of literature should be the reader’s prerogative, thus allowing
literature to assume all possible manifestations. Since defining literature
universally is next to impossible as one cannot take into the multitudes of
disparities in opinion of what constitutes it as such across the wide geological,
cultural and chronological spectrum. Therefore, to account for all the
manifestations of literature we can define it to include any written text as it
need not be something “special”. However, that would again, imply that common
written text, take for example a grocery list or a note to self, is that it is
read and considered as art. An application for leave could be read poetically
instead of practically and could be
considered literature. Similarly, the great classics can just be seen as a
collection of sentences or words or even symbols when it comes to literature
that needs translation. A work in Qenya holds no merit or importance and cannot
be appreciated by someone who is not well versed in the language and hence,
subjectively, cannot be considered as literature. The definition relies on the
readers’ perspectives and this delimitation of definition allows room to
account for the previously mentioned disparities to be resolved.

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