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February 11, 2021

Local authors, local stories: The benefits of reading #OwnVoices authors who share your community

what is the local literature

It’s a special moment the first time you really see yourself in a book. Stories touch our hearts most when we not only see ourselves reflected in the characters we’re reading about but also when we can imagine ourselves in their proverbial shoes.

Unfortunately, for too many young readers, engaging with books that showcase someone like them is not the norm. The #OwnVoices movement is trying to change this reality by highlighting books with diverse characters written by authors who share those same identities. These books enable children to see themselves in both the book characters and connect with an authentic shared experience. #OwnVoices stories can be even more powerful when written by authors who live in the same local community and depict that community in their writing.

local authors

Local stories mirror lived experiences

Authors writing about their own communities help bring a specific neighborhood, city, or area to a larger stage in an authentic way. These authors have lived experiences in their communities and deeply understand the culture, challenges, joys, and stories that make them unique. This extra insight means that authors can represent their communities with a healthy mix of respect and criticism, portraying characters with the complexity they deserve. 

For young readers, books written by local authors set in local communities act as a mirror for their own lived experiences. These books offer an opportunity for children to make connections to both themselves and their immediate surroundings. 

Even stories depicting a slice of normal life can demonstrate to young readers that their experiences are worthy of appearing in literature and that their struggles and accomplishments are not only real, but are shared with others. Reading about characters doing ordinary things like exploring the block, visiting relatives, or going to school is highly relatable, and it can be very validating for children to meet characters that live, look, or act just like they do.

Books written by local authors depicting local settings aren’t just illustrative though, they’re simply fun to read! Recognizing the name of a familiar street, laughing at a joke only locals would understand, or imagining a special food unique to a neighborhood is thrilling to experience while reading and helps any reader become even more invested in the story and its characters.

local authors

Local authors inspire young storytellers

Beyond offering an important mirror into children’s own experiences, exposing young readers to local authors can also help children expand their career aspirations.

Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson reflects, “I didn’t know that Black women could write books, and I didn’t know why I didn’t know this,”  in a video highlighting the need for diverse children’s books .

Seeing people who grew up in similar situations and are now succeeding as authors can send a powerful message to young readers and show that they too can pursue a career in storytelling.

local authors

How to find local authors

If you are interested in adding local #OwnVoices authors to your young reader’s library, here are some great ways to discover local authors in your community:

  • Visit independent bookstores—Independent bookstores spend a lot of time curating book recommendations, including those written by local authors. These stores are also embedded within the local literacy scene, and can often recommend both established and up-and-coming authors.
  • Explore your local library—Many libraries offer a specific section dedicated to local authors and illustrators. Explore this section, or ask a librarian to recommend must-read local books within the library’s collection. 
  • Attend a local literary event—Whether online or in-person, local author talks, discussion panels, or community conversations are great ways to not only hear from local authors you already know but also to discover new ones. Local bookstores, libraries, universities, and even coffee shops routinely sponsor these events. 
  • Google your community—Don’t forget about Google! Search for local authors calling your city home, local historical events that may have inspired books, or existing book lists compiled by area blogs and organizations.

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Luck of Roaring Camp

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849—1909)

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Term applied to fiction or verse which emphasizes its setting, being concerned with the character of a district or of an era, as marked by its customs, dialect, costumes, landscape, or other peculiarities that have escaped standardizing cultural influences. The earliest American writing reflects its locale, as all literature must, but the local-color movement came into particular prominence in the U.S. after the Civil War, perhaps as an attempt to recapture the glamour of a past era, or to portray the sections of the reunited county one to the other. Specifically, American influences upon those authors known as local-color writers may be found in Down East humor and in the frontier tradition of tall tales. Other influences include the writings of Irving, the English tradition of Scott, Maria Edgeworth, and Bulwer-Lytton, and the French romantic tradition of couleur locale represented by Hugo, Mérimée, and Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. According to Edward Eggleston, another influence was the national and racial bias of the historical works of Taine, which specifically impelled him to a closer observation of his own region. In local-color literature one finds the dual influence of romanticism and realism, since the author frequently looks away from ordinary life to distant lands, strange customs, or exotic scenes, but retains through minute detail a sense of fidelity and accuracy of description. Harte's “The Luck of Roaring Camp” (1868) is usually considered the first local-color story. The most distinguished writing engendered by the movement was in the form of the short story, whose development was thus deeply affected. Besides Harte, the local-color school produced such prominent authors as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sara Orne Jewett, Mary W. Freeman, Rose Terry Cooke, and R. E. Robinson in New England; T. N. Page in Virginia; J. C. Harris in Georgia; G. W. Cable and Kate Chopin in Louisiana; Mary N. Murfree and John Fox in Tennessee and Kentucky; John Hay in Illinois; Riley and the Egglestons in Indiana; Clemens in California and on the Mississippi; E. W. Howe, Garland, and Zona Gale in the Middle West; and R. H. Davis, H. C. Bunner, Brander Matthews, and O. Henry in New York City. A broader concept of sectional differences lies behind regionalism.

From:   Local color   in  The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature »

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Reference entries, local color, local color fiction, local color writing.

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Characteristics Setting : The emphasis is frequently on nature and the limitations it imposes; settings are frequently remote and inaccessible. The setting is integral to the story and may sometimes become a character in itself.

Characters : Local color stories tend to be concerned with the character of the district or region rather than with the individual: characters may become character types, sometimes quaint or stereotypical. The characters are marked by their adherence to the old ways, by dialect, and by particular personality traits central to the region. In women's local color fiction, the heroines are often unmarried women or young girls.

Narrator : The narrator is typically an educated observer from the world beyond who learns something from the characters while preserving a sometimes sympathetic, sometimes ironic distance from them. The narrator serves as mediator between the rural folk of the tale and the urban audience to whom the tale is directed.

Plots . It has been said that "nothing happens" in local color stories by women authors, and often very little does happen. Stories may include lots of storytelling and revolve around the community and its rituals.

Themes : Many local color stories share an antipathy to change and a certain degree of nostalgia for an always-past golden age. A celebration of community and acceptance in the face of adversity characterizes women's local color fiction. Thematic tension or conflict between urban ways and old-fashioned rural values is often symbolized by the intrusion of an outsider or interloper who seeks something from the community.

Use of detailed description, especially of small, seemingly insignificant details central to an understanding of the region.

Frequent use of a frame story in which the narrator hears some tale of the region.

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Regional literature incorporates the broader concept of sectional differences, although Judith Fetterley and Marjorie Pryse have argued convincingly that the distinguishing characteristic that separates "local color" writers from "regional" writers is instead the exploitation of and condescension toward their subjects that the local color writers demonstrate.

One definition of the difference between realism and local color is Eric Sundquist's: "Economic or political power can itself be seen to be definitive of a realist aesthetic, in that those in power (say, white urban males) have been more often judged 'realists,' while those removed from the seats of power (say, Midwesterners, blacks, immigrants, or women) have been categorized as regionalists."  See also the definition from the Encyclopedia of Southern Literature.

Many critics, including Amy Kaplan ("Nation, Region, and Empire" in the Columbia Literary History of the United States ) and Richard Brodhead ( Cultures of Letters ), have argued that this literary movement contributed to the reunification of the country after the Civil War and to the building of national identity toward the end of the nineteenth century. According to Brodhead, "regionalism's representation of vernacular cultures as enclaves of tradition insulated from larger cultural contact is palpably a fiction . . . its public function was not just to mourn lost cultures but to purvey a certain story of contemporary cultures and of the relations among them" (121). In chronicling the nation's stories about its regions and mythical origins, local color fiction through its presence--and, later, its absence--contributed to the narrative of unified nationhood that late nineteenth-century America sought to construct.

A variation of this genre is the "plantation tradition" fiction of Thomas Nelson Page and others.

Local Color Authors 1865-1895 Prominent African-American writers such as Charles W. Chesnutt and Frances E. W. Harper demythologize and satirize portions of the "plantation tradition" in their works.. See especially Chesnutt's " The Goophered Grapevine ," the first story published by an African American in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine (1887), and the stories in his The Conjure Woman (1899).

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Other Capitals of the Nineteenth Century pp 33–50 Cite as

Local-Colour Literature and Cultural Nations

  • Josephine Donovan 5  
  • First Online: 18 October 2017

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature book series (PMEL)

Instead of following the time-honoured organisation of literatures around nations or empires, I propose in this article that a more accurate mapping of the worldwide literary landscape would draw attention to cultural ‘nations’, that is separate regional locales that have their own dialects, cultures, histories, ethnic identities and literatures, independent of the dominant national or imperial discourse. Nineteenth-century local-colour literatures are rooted in just such cultural regions, located on the margins of their respective nations, in places such as Emmental, Swabia, Westphalia, Bohemia, Alsace, Languedoc, the Scottish Highlands, Western Ireland or Ulster, and rural areas of New England. Each of these regions had their own unique culture, traditions and dialects, forming thus a separate cultural ‘nation’.

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An early version of this article was presented as a paper at the 2014 American Comparative Literature Association meeting in New York City, in a seminar organised by Richard Hibbitt. My thanks to Dr Hibbitt and other seminar participants for their stimulating comments. A more extensive discussion of the issues raised in this article may be found in my European Local - Color Literature ( 2010 ). Unless otherwise noted, all translations are mine.

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Donovan, J. (2017). Local-Colour Literature and Cultural Nations. In: Hibbitt, R. (eds) Other Capitals of the Nineteenth Century. Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

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Regionalism and local color fiction, 1865-1895, '); document.write(' timeline '); document.write(' --------------------'); document.write(' search'); document.write(' literary movements'); document.write(' authors'); document.write(' sites'); document.write(' classes'); document.write(' bibliographies'); document.write(' to 1650'); document.write(' 1650-1699'); document.write(' 1700-1749'); document.write(' 1750-1799'); document.write(' 1800-1809'); document.write(' 1810-1819'); document.write(' 1820-1829'); document.write(' 1830-1839'); document.write(' 1840-1849'); document.write(' 1850-1859'); document.write(' 1860-1869'); document.write(' 1870-1879'); document.write(' 1880-1889'); document.write(' 1890-1899'); document.write(' 1890s music'); document.write(' 1900-1909'); document.write(' 1900s music'); document.write(' 1910-1919'); document.write(' 1910s music'); document.write(' 1920-1929'); document.write(' 1920s music'); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); // end hiding contents --> © 1997-2017. donna m. campbell. some information adapted from resisting regionalism: gender and naturalism in american fiction, 1885-1915 (athens: ohio university press, 1997) and from "realism and regionalism" in a companion to the regional literatures of america, ed. charles crow (2003)., note: the information on this page has been copied verbatim on other web sites, often without attribution, but this is the originating site., to cite this page on a works cited page according to current mla guidelines , supply the correct dates and use the suggested format below.  if you are quoting another author quoted on this page, either look up the original source or indicate that original quotation is cited on  ("qtd. in") this page. the following is drawn from the examples and guidelines in the mla handbook for writers of research papers, 7th ed. (2009), section 5.6.2., campbell, donna m. "regionalism and local color fiction, 1865-1895." literary movements . dept. of english, washington state university. date of publication or most recent update (listed above as the "last modified" date; you don't need to indicate the time). web. date you accessed the page., about this site. no longer supports Internet Explorer.

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Aloha International Journal of Multidisciplinary Advancement (AIJMU)

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The traditional “paper and pen” method of student records handling manual enrolment system has been bungling the advising and enrolment process every semester. More related issues were raised by stakeholders who compelled the school to acquire and install a new system. The fundamental objective of the system was to bring the level of student record into a structured form. With such a mindset, the system was assumed to consequently improve the conduct of advising and enrolment processes in the school. To expedite the comparison, the author chose the queuing methodology as it allows generate low – cost and affordable technologies include SMS as well as barcode which area also injected into the computerized enrolment system. Further, in programming the application system, the author as FOSS advocate himself, used open – source web engineering tools along the lines of Apache 2 for web service, PHP 5 for server – side scripting, MYSQL for database service, XML AJAX, Code 3 of 9 bar codin...

babangida ibrahim

Mayleen Dorcas Castro

—Online processing is one of the many advantages of the use of internet technology. Enrollment procedures in many universities not only in the Philippines usually done in manual process even with the advent of internet and with many sophisticated technologies. The purpose of this study is to design and develop an Online Registration and Grade Evaluation System in advancing the Pre-Enrollment Procedure. The system can help improve student's registration, grade evaluation and record keeping system of Bulacan State University, one of the Universities in the Philippines. The system can provide online registration of students, viewing of grades through their personal account, creation of subjects and curriculum, managing of different user accounts for faculty members and students, online evaluation of grades using the subject prerequisite system and printing of evaluation certificates and grade checklist of the students. The developed system can help the different Colleges of the University in terms of their enrollment procedure which can minimize inaccuracies and errors. 

Aptisi Transactions On Technopreneurship (ATT)

Aptisi Transactions on Technopreneurship Journal

MTs Al-muhtadiin is the first private vocational school in the sub-district of Sukadiri, at the beginning of the opening of this school, it received quite a positive response with proven opening in 2017 around 62 students registered themselves as students at MTs Al-Muhtadiin. The new student registration system at MTs Al-Muhtadiin is already running effectively and efficiently. In analyzing the running system used the method of analysis and depiction of the system using UML (Unified Modeling Language) and in data collection used interview, observation and literature study methods. The results of the analysis of the system that runs in the admission of new students at MTs Al-Muhtadiin are still running manually with the help of Microsoft Excel in the process of making reports.

geraldine landicho


ijc (ilearning journal center)

APTISI Transactions on Management

Park ChimChim

New Directions for Higher Education

Don Hossler


Okpeh H A R R S I O N Jacob


Hampo JohnPaul , Johnpaul Hampo


antony okeno

Namakau Lubinda

Andini Ramadhani

Jhon Keneth Namias

International Journal for Research in Applied Science & Engineering Technology (IJRASET)

IJRASET Publication

Zenodo (CERN European Organization for Nuclear Research)

Manju Bargavi

Roshan Banu

dionel dumaliang

oğuzhan menemencioğlu , Ferhat Atasoy

fikirte alemu

Cabdiraxmaan Maxamuud Cali


IJIRST - International Journal for Innovative Research in Science and Technology

Hassan H Saleh

belay asmamaw

Horlarwhale Obayomi

International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications

safaa Sayed

International Journal of Leading Research Publication (IJLRP), vol. 1, no. 1, pp.43 -50

Racheal Akinbo

IAEME Publication


ayobami olaosebikan

International Journal of Advanced Technology and Engineering Exploration

Mussa Ally Dida

Blessing Okeoghene Omobo

Kliss Æme-Crespin

International Journal of Engineering and Advanced Technology

Dr. Bharat Bhushan Naib

International Journal of Scientific Research in Science and Technology

International Journal of Scientific Research in Science and Technology IJSRST

Jamaluddin Mondal

nicole noble

nivra oznola

Fathelrhman MOHAMMED

Oriental journal of computer science and technology



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Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Language, Literature, and Arts Education (ICLLAE 2019)

Local literature development through fable/legend in junior high school.

Local literature is a culture that is owned by an area or region and reflects the social conditions in the region. The use of local literature in learning in schools is also an effort to empower culture so that is not displaced by western culture brought by globalization. This study aims to describe local literature as empowerment support of regional literature through learning fables or legends in schools. This research is qualitative research with a qualitative descriptive approach. The sample in this study involved two Indonesian Language teachers from different schools. The data obtained through interviews and analysis of documents in the form of syllabus, lesson plans, one main book, and two enrichment books. The results obtained from this study were (1) the application of local literature has not been implemented in the field, (2) there was a mismatch between syllabus, lesson plans, and textbooks.

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what is the local literature

Make a Difference: Read Local Authors

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Stacey Megally

Stacey Megally is a writer, runner, and incurable bookworm. Her writing has been featured in The Dallas Morning News, Running Room Magazine, The Bookwoman, and on stage at LitNight Dallas and the Oral Fixation live storytelling show. When she isn’t knee-deep in words or marathon training, she’s hanging out with her smart, funny husband and their two extremely opinionated dogs. Instagram: @staceymegallywrites

View All posts by Stacey Megally

You shop local, you eat local—but are you reading local, too? If you’re not, you’re missing out. Local authors and the stories they tell can change your life—and your community. And all you have to do is read a book you love.

Here are just a few reasons you should read books by local authors, plus a few tips on how you can find their books.

what is the local literature

There’s Something for Everyone

Whatever your go-to genre, from memoir to thriller to children’s books and more, you’re bound to find one by a local author. And you can define “local” however you’d like: your city, your state or province, or anything in between.

It Boosts Your Local Economy

Supporting the authors in your neighborhood helps keep the money circulating in your own community—the same way stopping by your neighborhood coffee shops, markets, and boutiques does.

Bonus points if you buy a local author’s book at an indie bookstore. Now you’re not only helping the author, but you’re also helping the local bookshops contribute to your community, including by offering more job opportunities. If you’re looking for an indie bookstore near you, check out Book Riot’s 2019 favorites .

It Keeps the Literary Scene Thriving

The more support local authors get, the more likely they are to stay and help build a strong literary community that inspires interesting, imaginative, and thoughtful stories. How does this affect us as readers? The better, more varied, and more personal stories we read, the more things we have to think and talk about with each other.

You’ll Feel More Connected to Where You Live

Have you ever thought, “Hey, I know that street!” while you were reading a novel? Or smirked at a joke only locals would get? It’s kind of thrilling. You find yourself even more invested in the story and its characters—all because it takes place in a setting you know and love. And a story like that can only be written by someone who knows your community as well as you do.

But reading local authors can also help you learn a thing or two about the place you call home. Look for a book about an intriguing historical event in your city. Or pick up a novel that tells the story of a part of your community that’s different from the part you know.

You Can Share Your Neighborhood With the World

Your community has some incredible stories to tell—you know that, but shouldn’t everyone else know that, too? The world needs books about all different kinds of people and the places where they live. Local authors can help bring your neighborhood’s stories to a bigger stage in the most authentic way. In fact many of them already are. Tayari Jones, who wrote Leaving Atlanta , The Untelling , Silver Sparrow , and An American Marriage , set all four of her novels in her hometown of Atlanta. In an interview with Book Riot , Tayari Jones explains her mission to “cultivate a resurgence in regional literature.”

But don’t forget to do your part. When you find a story you really connect with, share it with your friends and family who don’t live near you.

It’s Easier to Meet Local Authors

Hold on to that burning question you have after reading an amazing book—if you live in the same neighborhood as the authors you read, you may just get to ask them in person. Chances are, they’ll be showcased at local readings, signings, and other literary events. Check for the ones in your area at bookstores, libraries, universities, and museums.

How to Find Books by Local Authors

Ready to support your local literary community? Here are a few ways to get started.

So if you haven’t already, add some books written by local authors to your TBR list. It’s good for your community, it’s good for your brain, and it’s good for your soul.

what is the local literature

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What is Literature? || Definition & Examples

"what is literature": a literary guide for english students and teachers.

View the full series: The Oregon State Guide to English Literary Terms

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What is Literature? Transcript (English and Spanish Subtitles Available in Video; Click HERE for Spanish Transcript)

By Evan Gottlieb & Paige Thomas

The question of what makes something literary is an enduring one, and I don’t expect that we’ll answer it fully in this short video. Instead, I want to show you a few different ways that literary critics approach this question and then offer a short summary of the 3 big factors that we must consider when we ask the question ourselves.

Let’s begin by making a distinction between “Literature with a capital L” and “literature with a small l.”

“Literature with a small l” designates any written text: we can talk about “the literature” on any given subject without much difficulty.

“Literature with a capital L”, by contrast, designates a much smaller set of texts – a subset of all the texts that have been written.


speaker gesturing to literature with a small "l" rather than with a big "L"

So what makes a text literary or what makes a text “Literature with a capital L”?

Let’s start with the word itself.  “Literature” comes from Latin, and it originally meant “the use of letters” or “writing.” But when the word entered the Romance languages that derived from Latin, it took on the additional meaning of “knowledge acquired from reading or studying books.” So we might use this definition to understand “Literature with a Capital L” as writing that gives us knowledge--writing that should be studied.

But this begs the further question: what books or texts are worth studying or close reading ?

For some critics, answering this question is a matter of establishing canonicity.  A work of literature becomes “canonical” when cultural institutions like schools or universities or prize committees classify it as a work of lasting artistic or cultural merit.

The canon, however, has proved problematic as a measure of what “Literature with a capital L” is because the gatekeepers of the Western canon have traditionally been White and male. It was only in the closing decades of the twentieth century that the canon of Literature was opened to a greater inclusion of diverse authors.

And here’s another problem with that definition: if inclusion in the canon were our only definition of Literature, then there could be no such thing as contemporary Literature, which, of course, has not yet stood the test of time.

And here’s an even bigger problem: not every book that receives good reviews or a wins a prize turns out to be of lasting value in the eyes of later readers.

On the other hand, a novel like Herman Melville’s Moby-Di ck, which was NOT received well by critics or readers when it was first published in 1851, has since gone on to become a mainstay of the American literary canon.


graphic with cover of Melville's "Moby Dick" and quote

As you can see, canonicity is obviously a problematic index of literariness.

So… what’s the alternative?  Well, we could just go with a descriptive definition: “if you love it, then it’s Literature!”

But that’s a little too subjective.  For example, no matter how much you may love a certain book from your childhood (I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar ) that doesn’t automatically make it literary, no matter how many times you’ve re-read it.

Furthermore, the very idea that we should have an emotional attachment to the books we read has its own history that cannot be detached from the rise of the middle class and its politics of telling people how to behave.

Ok, so “literature with a capital L” cannot always by defined by its inclusion in the canon or the fact that it has been well-received so…what is it then? Well, for other critics, what makes something Literature would seem to be qualities within the text itself.

According to the critic Derek Attridge, there are three qualities that define modern Western Literature:

1. a quality of invention or inventiveness in the text itself;

2.  the reader’s sense that what they are reading is singular. In other words, the unique vision of the writer herself.

3. a sense of ‘otherness’ that pushes the reader to see the world around them in a new way

Notice that nowhere in this three-part definition is there any limitation on the content of Literature. Instead, we call something Literature when it affects the reader at the level of style and construction rather than substance.

In other words, Literature can be about anything!


speaker telling a secret with photo of Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" in the background

The idea that a truly literary text can change a reader is of course older than this modern definition. In the English tradition, poetry was preferred over novels because it was thought to create mature and sympathetic reader-citizens.

Likewise, in the Victorian era, it was argued that reading so-called “great” works of literature was the best way for readers to realize their full spiritual potentials in an increasingly secular world.

But these never tell us precisely what “the best” is.  To make matters worse, as I mentioned already, “the best” in these older definitions was often determined by White men in positions of cultural and economic power.

So we are still faced with the question of whether there is something inherent in a text that makes it literary.

Some critics have suggested that a sense of irony – or, more broadly, a sense that there is more than one meaning to a given set of words – is essential to “Literature with a capital L.”

Reading for irony means reading slowly or at least attentively.  It demands a certain attention to the complexity of the language on the page, whether that language is objectively difficult or not.

In a similar vein, other critics have claimed that the overall effect of a literary text should be one of “defamiliarization,” meaning that the text asks or even forces readers to see the world differently than they did before reading it.

Along these lines, literary theorist Roland Barthes maintained that there were two kinds of texts: the text of pleasure, which we can align with everyday Literature with a small l” and the text of jouissance , (yes, I said jouissance) which we can align with Literature. Jouissance makes more demands on the reader and raises feelings of strangeness and wonder that surpass the everyday and even border on the painful or disorienting.

Barthes’ definition straddles the line between objectivity and subjectivity. Literature differs from the mass of writing by offering more and different kinds of experiences than the ordinary, non-literary text.

Literature for Barthes is thus neither entirely in the eye of the beholder, nor something that can be reduced to set of repeatable, purely intrinsic characteristics.

This negative definition has its own problems, though. If the literary text is always supposed to be innovative and unconventional, then genre fiction, which IS conventional, can never be literary.

So it seems that whatever hard and fast definition we attempt to apply to Literature, we find that we run up against inevitable exceptions to the rules.

As we examine the many problematic ways that people have defined literature, one thing does become clear. In each of the above examples, what counts as Literature depends upon three interrelated factors: the world, the text, and the critic or reader.

You see, when we encounter a literary text, we usually do so through a field of expectations that includes what we’ve heard about the text or author in question [the world], the way the text is presented to us [the text], and how receptive we as readers are to the text’s demands [the reader].

With this in mind, let’s return to where we started. There is probably still something to be said in favor of the “test of time” theory of Literature.

After all, only a small percentage of what is published today will continue to be read 10, 20, or even 100 years from now; and while the mechanisms that determine the longevity of a text are hardly neutral, one can still hope that individual readers have at least some power to decide what will stay in print and develop broader cultural relevance.

The only way to experience what Literature is, then, is to keep reading: as long as there are avid readers, there will be literary texts – past, present, and future – that challenge, excite, and inspire us.

Interested in more video lessons? View the full series:

The oregon state guide to english literary terms, contact info.

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writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays.

the entire body of writings of a specific language, period, people, etc.: the literature of England.

the writings dealing with a particular subject: the literature of ornithology.

the profession of a writer or author.

literary work or production.

any kind of printed material, as circulars, leaflets, or handbills: literature describing company products.

Archaic . polite learning; literary culture; appreciation of letters and books.

Origin of literature

Synonym study for literature, other words from literature.

  • pre·lit·er·a·ture, noun

Words Nearby literature Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use literature in a sentence

If you want to understand the flamboyant family of objects that make up our solar system—from puny, sputtering comets to tremendous, ringed planets—you could start by immersing yourself in the technical terms that fill the scientific literature .

Poway Unified anticipates bringing forward two new courses – ethnic studies and ethnic literature – to the school board for review, said Christine Paik, a spokeswoman for the district.

The book she completed after that trip, Coming of Age in Samoa, published in 1928, would be hailed as a classic in the literature on sexuality and adolescence.

He also told Chemistry World he envisages the robots eventually being able to analyze the scientific literature to better guide their experiments.

Research also suggests that reading literature may help increase empathy and understanding of others’ experiences, potentially spurring better real-world behavior.

The research literature , too, asks these questions, and not without reason.

She wanted to know what happened over five years, or even 10, but the scientific literature had little to offer.

The religion shaped all facets of life: art, medicine, literature , and even dynastic politics.

Speaking of the literature you love, the Bloomsbury writers crop up in your collection repeatedly.

literature in the 14th century, Strohm points out, was an intimate, interactive affair.

All along the highways and by-paths of our literature we encounter much that pertains to this "queen of plants."

There cannot be many persons in the world who keep up with the whole range of musical literature as he does.

In early English literature there was at one time a tendency to ascribe to Solomon various proverbs not in the Bible.

He was deeply versed in Saxon literature and published a work on the antiquity of the English church.

Such unromantic literature as Acts of Parliament had not, it may be supposed, up to this, formed part of my mental pabulum.

British Dictionary definitions for literature

/ ( ˈlɪtərɪtʃə , ˈlɪtrɪ- ) /

written material such as poetry, novels, essays, etc, esp works of imagination characterized by excellence of style and expression and by themes of general or enduring interest

the body of written work of a particular culture or people : Scandinavian literature

written or printed matter of a particular type or on a particular subject : scientific literature ; the literature of the violin

printed material giving a particular type of information : sales literature

the art or profession of a writer

obsolete learning

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Literary Research in Harvard Libraries

Foreign language literatures.

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Start with the MLA International Bibliography

  • The MLA International Bibliography is both international and multilingual, making it a great general tool for research in literary scholarship. You can use the drop-down list to specify a Subject Literature by nation or region (Scottish, North African, etc.).
  • Since the MLA is based in the U.S., though, there's a natural bias toward anglophone literature and toward works by American scholars. To find databases and bibliographies specific to your subject literature, please ask me (Odile) for recommendations. You're also welcome to explore Harvard's Databases list .

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Pro tip : learn the MARC codes for your languages of interest , for catalog searching (e.g. in HOLLIS Advanced Search )

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BEYOND LOCAL: To better understand addiction, students in this course take a close look at liquor in literature

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The following article, written by  Debra J. Rosenthal , John Carroll University  originally appeared on The Conversation and is published here with permission:

Title of course:

Alcohol in American Literature

What prompted the idea for the course?

I got the idea for the course when I was writing a chapter on the temperance movement in American literature for my doctoral dissertation. I ended up reading a lot of fiction and poetry about alcohol and the anti-alcohol movement. I thought it would be fun to teach a class that surveyed American literature through a booze-themed lens .

Since alcohol affects and disables people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or class, it is easy to find literature about the impact of alcohol from many points of view.

What does the course explore?

I pair my course with a medical doctor who teaches a course on the biology of addiction . In the biology course, students learn about the biological and physiological effects of diseases of addiction, substance use and abuse , dependency and recovery.

The core curriculum at John Carroll University requires students to take paired courses from different departments that are linked together. A colleague who teaches biology courses approached me about linking my alcohol class to her addiction class. Students must take both of our courses during the same semester. The combined courses give students both a scientific and literary view of addiction.

Students read fiction, poetry and drama about many aspects of alcohol and other addictive substances: celebrating them, struggling with them, even prohibiting and regulating them. Students compare the literary representations of substance and alcohol abuse with medical descriptions and impacts. For example, when my class reads Kristen Roupenian’s viral short story “ Cat Person, ” we talk about the role of alcohol in reducing inhibition when casually dating.

What’s a critical lesson from the course?

My goal is for students to come to a better understanding of how alcohol influences literature. They learn how some writers portray the way alcoholism further marginalizes minorities. For example, characters in Sherman Alexie ’s “ The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven ” are enrolled members of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. They live on the reservation and have great difficulty finding or keeping a job. Many characters suffer from intergenerational trauma, poverty and a pervasive addiction to alcohol.

For their final project, students must pitch a movie that offers a compelling plot with relatable characters. The storyline must be backed up by a deep understanding of the science of disease and addiction.

What materials does the course feature?

• “ Night of the Living Rez ,” by Morgan Talty, explores addiction and poverty among the Penobscot Nation.

• “ The Sun Also Rises ,” by Ernest Hemingway, is a classic novel set in 1920s Paris about a set of heavy-drinking American ex-pats dealing with the trauma of World War I.

• We visit Karamu House , the U.S.’s oldest continuing African American theater, to watch a performance of “ Clyde’s ,” a popular play by Lynn Nottage that is set in a truck stop sandwich shop that employs the recently incarcerated.

What will the course prepare students to do?

Students can be better advocates for their own personal health, and the health of others, if they understand how addictive substances affect their minds and bodies. Pre-health students in particular get a general introduction to medical issues related to addiction and how American authors have long portrayed booze.

For example, Frances Watkins Harper’s “ The Two Offers ,” written in the 1850s, is believed to be the first short story ever published by an African American woman. It is a temperance story that encourages young women not to marry a drunkard, highlighting the antebellum Black community’s concerns about sobriety and domestic well-being, in addition to freedom.

Debra J. Rosenthal , Professor of English, John Carroll University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

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Milwaukee comic shop looking to sell copy of first appearance of Spider-Man, book could go for $35K

Steve Dobrzynski, owner of Collector’s Edge Comics, holds an Amazing Fantasy #15 Marvel comic which is the first appearance of the Amazing Spider-Man on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wis. (Jovanny Hernandez/ Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Collector’s Edge Comics which currently has an Amazing Fantasy #15 Marvel comic which is the first appearance of the Amazing Spider-Man on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wis. (Jovanny Hernandez/ Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee comic book shop is looking to sell a rare copy of the first appearance of Spider-Man.

Collector’s Edge has acquired a copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, the Journal Sentinel reported. The comic book, written by Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee and published in 1962, tells the story of how Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, gained amazing powers and learns that with great power comes great responsibility.

The shop’s owner, Steve Dobrzynski, first posted photos of the book on social media last Tuesday. He told the Journal Sentinel a couple found the book among a dead relative’s possessions and brought it to him for help selling it. He did not name the couple.

A near-perfect copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 sold for $3.6 million at auction in Texas in 2021. The Collector’s Edge copy is worn and the edges have small tears.

Dobrzynski sent it to the Certified Guaranty Company, a Florida-based comics and collectibles grading service. The service rated the book at 3.0 on a scale of 0.5 to 10, with 0.5 being very bad condition and 10 being perfect condition. Dobrzynski said the book could fetch as much as $35,000.

“It depends, if you put it up at auction, who’s bidding on it,” he said. “If nobody’s bidding on it, it’s obviously going to sell for a bit less.”

Dobrzynski contacted some regular customers to give them a shot at buying the book before making it public, but he hasn’t gotten a yes or no from any of them yet.

“They’re thinking about it, but I can only wait so long for people to think about it,” Dobrzynski said. “If I’m selling it for someone else, my due diligence is to try to get the best possible price I can.”


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