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What is literature?

What is literature?

Here are some definitions of literature:

  • Creative writing of recognised artistic value.
  • Written works of fiction and non-fiction in which compositional excellence and advancement in the art of writing are higher priorities than are considerations of profit or commercial appeal.
  • Literature is literally "an acquaintance with letters" as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning "an individual written character (letter)"). The term has generally come to identify a collection of texts. The word literature as a common noun can refer to any form of writing, such as essays or poetry; Literature as a proper noun refers to a whole body of literary work, world-wide or relating to a specific culture...
  • lit·er·a·ture n.

    1. The body of written works of a language, period, or culture.
    2. Imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value: "Literature must be an analysis of experience and a synthesis of the findings into a unity"
    3. The art or occupation of a literary writer.
    4. The body of written work produced by scholars or researchers in a given field: medical literature.
    5. Printed material: All the available collected literature on the subject.
    6. Music: All the compositions of a certain kind or for a specific instrument or ensemble: the symphonic literature.

Good literature has something important to say about life. If we take the time to read and understand the literature that we study in Higher Gaelic, it should help us to learn more about life.

It may be that we do not agree with what the writer says. Nevertheless, the act of studying it will have made us think more carefully about the topic on which the writer focuses.

At Gaelic Higher (Learners) level the Gaelic literary texts studied will be mainly from the 20th and/or 21st century. You will be studying a selection of texts from at least two genres. The genres studied can include: poems, short stories, drama and/or novels.

The word genre in literature means a type or style of writing. Therefore, poetry is a genre (a type of writing). Within the genre of poetry you can have different types (or genres) of poetry such as ballad, narrative, epic, sonnet and so on.)

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