chapter  44
14 Pages

LITERATURE

ByPETER LAMARQUE

The term ‘literature’ is used with different senses, not necessarily related to art. In the most general sense it encompasses virtually all printed matter, as when we speak of the literature on urban planning or the Ford Sierra. In a second, more restricted, sense – literature as ‘belles-lettres’ – the term applies only to ‘fine writing,’ writing that has ‘literary merit.’ This would include the King James Bible, Hume’s History of England, the Gettysburg Address, as well as certain philosophical or theological treatises, biographies, memoirs, letters, even some journalism. The occasional essay was considered an important literary form in the nineteenth century. When Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill received the Nobel Prize for Literature this second connotation was assumed.