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Fiction or Literature?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:38 pm
by DepricatedZero ... 22&f=false

This came up in chat the other night. It's the introduction by Mary Doria Russel to A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. It's an interesting introduction, and has a few interesting comments. The most beautiful, I think, is her stepbrother's definition of literature. She says, "The best answer I got was from my stepbrother, Jack Provenzale, who doesn't sell books but is a passionate reader. He said, 'Literature changes you. When you're done reading, you're a different person.'" I think, yes, this is probably the most accurate.

Literature has morals. Not that it necessarily abides by them, but it illustrates them. Canticle damns the Cold War and Theocracy (thank you Tynk!). Compared to, say, A Spell for Chameleon, which exists purely for the luls. Not that there's anything wrong with Xanth and Fiction, mind, but they're on a different playing field.

So how do you guys define literature as opposed to fiction? What makes the greats like Catch 22, a Canticle for Leibowitz, or the Satanic Verses, literature and not just fiction?

Re: Fiction or Literature?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:42 pm
by FaithlessThinker
Strictly speaking, fiction (literary fiction) is a subset of literature.

Loosely speaking, romance, crime, science fiction etc. are not considered literature.

Wikipedia - Literature