Basically, the first step of any subject according to curriculum is to define it and this is the same for literature, we have to make sure we have a definition up here to assist those of our students visiting us.
Literature is one of the broadest concept to define, although there is no rigid and accepted definition of the term literature but there are similar definition that gives you hint on what the bullet or main point is about, that is, what literature generally and on the other hand, specifically entails. The point is therefore, before delving into the subject, reading about it and being able to make relevant contributions, you must be able to conceptualize the term literature in your own words. Every essential litterateur must be able step out of the bounds of already arranged group of words posed as a definition to creating a better and self-understanding meaning that is of course, in line with existing literature or body of knowledge.
We’ll go further to define literature looking at it from the historical perspective and then the contemporary scholarly perspective.
It is difficult to not have various perspective in most scholarly terms and literature is not exempted, Historians believe that the meaning of words are related to their origin and the first use of the word, so to indemnify any term, it is sagacious to examine the origin of the term and then, can be expounded from the first point of use. The term literature was first used in the 14th century inscribed from a the Latin word, ‘lit(t)eratura’ meaning writing, grammar, learning gotten from the actual Latin word ‘littera’ meaning letter. Then there is the combination of English and French (Anglo French) which formed our key word ‘Literature’ and this was interpreted to mean the ‘knowledge of books’.
Back in the early centuries every scholar was a regarded as a litterateur and believed to be in the field of literature, this explains why even scholars like Aristotle who were more of science are recorded as partakers of literature.
We now look at the latter….. Which is of major concern to us here.
Today there are thousands of definition outlined by several tutors in the field which simplifies to a great extent the understanding of literature but like two edged blade has also increased the complexity of the concept of literature. Literature has moved from the mere writing or penning of knowledge to include dimensions of artistic expressions Like suspense, rhythm, myths, legend etc.
Definitioin of Literature by several authors
Literature is a major form through which people can exhibit their culture.
Ighodalo, M, O.
Literature is simply defined as an imaginative rendition of an artist put into writing. It represents the way of life in a society through play, poem and novel.
Above this definition he also says literature is the work of art that is contrary to science.
Ayakoroma, B, F.
Literature is the body of written works of a language, period, or culture; imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value; or the body of written work produced by scholars or researchers in a given field , for example , medical literature or Christian literature
Literature is seen as a form of expression in which ideas of local and universal interest are presented. It is presented in form of poetry, romance history biography essays and other forms of writing.
We move on to Sum the definitions,
Since there are lots of definitions stationed differently as examined above which, in a way makes it difficult to pick one only and exclude the others, we can infer a summary from the definitions outlined above to contributing to the existing body of knowledge. Therefore without much ado, we can say that literature is not just a writing on a particular subject that compounds knowledge but it is used to address the creative work of art that are expressed through writing, it is creativity spoken and written and a home for culture.
That concludes the topic for now defining literature, in order to be sure you got it, you should scribble some words into a paper about literature and compare it with what other scholars have said. This way you’d paint a really good definition for yourself and you’ll also understand what literature is.
We hope this article was of any help to you!
Thanks for reading!