Literature is a body of written works.
== Quotes ==
I got a glimpse into the uses of a certain kind of criticism this past summer at a writers' conference – into how the avocation of assessing the failures of better men can be turned into a comfortable livelihood, providing you back it up with a Ph.D. I saw how it was possible to gain a chair of literature on no qualification other than persistence in nipping the heels of Hemingway, Faulkner, and Steinbeck.
Nelson Algren, "The Art of Fiction No. 11: Nelson Algren", Fall 1955 interview by Alston Anderson and Terry Southern, The Paris Review, Winter 1955.The question I propose to consider is in what way one may justify the study of English on cultural and disciplinary, and not merely on sentimental or utilitarian, grounds. My own conviction is that if English is to be thus justified it must be primarily by what I am terming the discipline of ideas.As a matter of fact one hears it commonly said nowadays that literature may be rescued from the philologist on the one hand and the mere dilettante on the other by an increase of emphasis on its intellectual content, that the teaching of literature, if it is to have virility, must be above all the teaching of ideas.
Irving Babbitt, "English and the Discipline of Ideas " (1920), Irving Babbitt: Representative Writings (1981), p. 63While the guardians of “literary” fiction still give each other prizes and writers can still achieve stardom and create good work, the fact remains that it is a movement that has lost all its creative force as a movement.
Orson Scott Card, Quo Vadis? (Published in Nebula Awards Showcase 2008)Republic of letters.
Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones (1749), Book XIV, Chapter I.
Quoting a translation of Molière's 1664 "La république des lettres" (The republic of letters), see below.I don't think literature will be purged until its philosophic pretentiousness is extruded, and I shant live to see that purge, nor perhaps when it has happened will anything survive.
E. M. Forster, Commonplace Book, p. 46.It is now only in letters I write what I feel: not in literature any more, and I seldom say it, because I keep trying to be amusing.
E. M. Forster, Commonplace Book, p. 92 (26-2-32).Don't you give up on this [library] card. Because books can be solid gold. Yeah, the great ones have gotten us through the nights for centuries. Just give a writer an hour to hook you and if he can't wish him the best of luck and find someone else.
Anthony Hopkins, Hearts in Atlantis movie.It is to Rome and Roman literature that we must turn to find the earliest examples of affectionate and confidential letters passing between members of the same famliy, and between friends of the same tastes and sympathies.
Augustus Jessopp: "Letters and letter-writers". Studies by a recluse, in cloister, town, and country (3rd ed.). London: T. F. Unwin. pp. 215–257. quote from p. 221; (1st edition, 1892)I remember some artists who said this world isn't worth anything, that it is a pigsty, that we are going nowhere, that God is dead, and all those things. Bad literature is this. To expose your navel, to tell how you drank your morning coffee amid general disgust, with everything around you rotting. While the world is dying, I drink my coffee. Or I perform my little sex acts. This is old-fashioned. One must cross this neurotic curtain.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Psychomagic: The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy, (2010)The importance of distinguishing between literary and genre fiction is highlighted by scholarship that draws from both literary studies and psychological theory. Genre fiction is defined primarily by its focus on a particular topic and reliance on relatively formulaic plots. By contrast, literary fiction is defined more by its aesthetic qualities and character development than its focus on plot or a particular set of topics and themes. This distinction is recognized by publishers, who routinely list it as a publishing category; and by critics, who award separate prizes for specific genres (e.g., the Hugo awards for fantasy and the Nebula awards for science fiction), as well as prizes for general literary quality (e.g., the PEN/O. Henry Prize and the National Book Award for fiction). The distinction has also been put in terms of what attracts readers to the work: entertainment and escape for genre fiction, understanding and engagement for literary fiction (Petite, 2014). Empirical research appears to bear this out. A study of adult readers found that readers of primarily literary, romance, or mystery fiction value different features. Readers of literary fiction, compared to the others, indicated greater appreciation for figurative language (e.g., metaphor), multiple plot lines, many possible meanings, opportunities for imaginative interpretation, several shifting perspectives, and character development (Miesen, 2004). Although there are certainly exceptions and ambiguous cases, industry, critics, and ordinary readers appear to agree that literary fiction generally affords greater opportunities for interpretive engagement than more formulaic genres.
Kidd, D., & Castano, E., "Different Stories: How Levels of Familiarity With Literary and Genre Fiction Relate to Mentalizing", Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, (2016, August 8), p. 2.Today’s literature is prescriptions written by patients.
Karl Kraus, No Compromise (New York: 1977), p. 229You see all these white heroes, everybody is white, all the literature classes—your Shakespeare, your poetry — everybody’s white, and you start to feel less than.
John Leguizamo, "Broadway's John Leguizamo shares four favorite Latino heroes", Arturo Conde, NBC News, (Nov. 16, 2018).Comics, they say, are not literature – adventure strips lack artistic form, mental substance, and emotional appeal to any but the most moronic of minds. Can it be that 100,000,000 Americans are morons? Possibly so; but there seems to be a simpler explanation. Nine humans out of ten react first with their feelings rather than with their minds; the more primitive the emotion stimulated, the stronger the reaction. Comics play a trite but lusty tune on the C natural keys of human nature. They rouse the most primitive, but also the most powerful, reverberations in the noisy cranial sound-box of consciousness, drowning out more subtle symphonies. Comics scorn finesse, thereby incurring the wrath of linguistic adepts.
William Moulton Marston, "Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics", The American Scholar, Winter 1943-44, p. 35-44.Many psychologists have treated literature as a whole as a mere vehicle of withdrawal from the harsh realities of existence: forgetful of the fact that literature of the first order, so far from being a mere pleasure device, is a supreme attempt to face and encompass reality-an attempt beside which a busy working life involves a shrinkage and represents a partial retreat.
Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization (1934), Chapter 6, § 9, p. 314-315La république des lettres.
The republic of letters.
Molière, Le Mariage forcé, scene 6 (1664).Literature is news that stays news.
Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading (1934), Ch. 8The quest to discover a definition for "literature" is a road that is much traveled, though the point of arrival, if ever reached, is seldom satisfactory. Most attempted definitions are broad and vague, and they inevitably change over time. In fact, the only thing that is certain about defining literature is that the definition will change. Concepts of what is literature change over time as well.
Simon Ryan; Delyse Ryan. "What is Literature?". Foundation: Fundamentals of Literature and Drama. Australian Catholic University. Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.When people cannot write good literature it is perhaps natural that they should lay down rules how good literature should be written.
George Saintsbury, A Last Vintage, p. 172.During the last quarter of a century all the authority associated with the function of spiritual guidance ... has seeped down into the lowest publications. ... Between a poem by Valéry and an advertisement for a beauty cream promising a rich marriage to anyone who used it there was at no point a breach of continuity. So as a result of literature’s spiritual usurpation a beauty cream advertisement possessed, in the eyes of little village girls, the authority that was formerly attached to the words of priests.
Simone Weil, “Morality and literature,” On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God, R. Rees, trans. (1968), p. 164
=== Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations ===
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 461.Literature is the thought of thinking Souls.
Thomas Carlyle, Essays, Memoirs of the Life of Scott.Literary Men are * * * a perpetual priesthood.
Thomas Carlyle, Essays, State of German Literature.I made a compact with myself that in my person literature should stand by itself, of itself, and for itself.
Charles Dickens, speech at Liverpool Banquet (1869).But, indeed, we prefer books to pounds; and we love manuscripts better than florins; and we prefer small pamphlets to war horses.
Isaac D'Israeli, Curiosities of Literature, Pamphlets.Time the great destroyer of other men's happiness, only enlarges the patrimony of literature to its possessor.
Isaac D'Israeli, [The Literary Character, Illustrated by the History of Men of Genius (1795-1822), Chapter XXII.Literature is an avenue to glory, ever open for those ingenious men who are deprived of honours or of wealth.
Isaac D'Israeli, [The Literary Character, Illustrated by the History of Men of Genius (1795-1822), Chapter XXIV.Our poetry in the eighteenth century was prose; our prose in the seventeenth, poetry.
J. C. and A. W. Hare, Guesses at Truth.The death of Dr. Hudson is a loss to the republick of letters.
William King, letter (Jan. 7, 1719). Same phrase occurs in the Spectator. Commonwealth of letters is used by Addison, Spectator, No. 529. Nov. 6, 1712.* * * A man of the world amongst men of letters, a man of letters amongst men of the world.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, On Sir William Temple.There is first the literature of knowledge, and secondly, the literature of power. The function of the first is—to teach; the function of the second is—to move, the first is a rudder, the second an oar or a sail. The first speaks to the mere discursive understanding; the second speaks ultimately, it may happen, to the higher understanding or reason, but always through affections of pleasure and sympathy.
Thomas De Quincey, Essays on the Poets, Alexander Pope.La mode d'aimer Racine passera comme la mode du café.
The fashion of liking Racine will pass away like that of coffee.
Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné, according to Voltaire, Letters (Jan. 29, 1690), who connected two remarks of hers to make the phrase; one from a letter March 16, 1679, the other, March 10, 1672. La Harpe reduced the mot to "Racine passera comme le café?"We cultivate literature on a little oat-meal.
Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir (1855), Volume I, p. 23.The great Cham of literature. [Samuel Johnson.]
Tobias Smollett, letter to Wilkes (March 16, 1759).
=== Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) ===
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
A beautiful literature springs from the depth and fullness of intellectual and moral life, from an energy of thought and feeling, to which nothing, as we believe, ministers so largely as enlightened religion.
William Ellery Channing, p. 385.God be thanked for books! they are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are the true levelers. They give to all who will faithfully use them the society, the spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of our race,
William Ellery Channing, p. 385.From the hour of the invention of printing, books, and not kings, were to rule the world. Weapons forged in the mind, keen-edged, and brighter than a sunbeam, were to supplant the sword and battle-axe. Books! lighthouses built on the sea of time! Books! by whose sorcery the whole pageantry of the world's history moves in solemn procession before our eyes. From their pages great souls look down in all their grandeur, undimmed by the faults and follies of earthly existence, consecrated by time.
Edwin Percy Whipple, p. 386.Be less concerned about the number of books you read, and more about the good use you make of them. The best of books is the Bible.
Christian Scriver, p. 386.The great standard of literature as to purity and exactness of style is the Bible.
Hugh Blair, p. 386.Thou mayest as well expect to grow stronger by always eating, as wiser by always reading.
Thomas Fuller, p. 386.It is right for you, young men, to enrich yourselves with the spoils of all pure literature; but he who would make a favorite of a bad book, simply because it contains a few beautiful passages, might as well caress the hand of an assassin because of the jewelry which sparkles on his fingers.
Joseph Parker, p. 386.
== See also ==
== External links ==