Definition of literature noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈlɪtrətʃə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlɪtrətʃər//
    , also NAmE//ˈlɪtrətʃʊr//
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  1. 1  pieces of writing that are valued as works of art, especially novels, plays and poems (in contrast to technical books and newspapers, magazines, etc.) French literature great works of literature CollocationsLiteratureBeing a writer write/​publish literature/​poetry/​fiction/​a book/​a story/​a poem/​a novel/​a review/​an autobiography become a writer/​novelist/​playwright find/​have a publisher/​an agent have a new book out edit/​revise/​proofread a book/​text/​manuscript dedicate a book/​poem to…Plot, character and atmosphere construct/​create/​weave/​weave something into a complex narrative advance/​drive the plot introduce/​present the protagonist/​a character describe/​depict/​portray a character (as…)/(somebody as) a hero/​villain create an exciting/​a tense atmosphere build/​heighten the suspense/​tension evoke/​capture the pathos of the situation convey emotion/​an idea/​an impression/​a sense of… engage the reader seize/​capture/​grip the (reader’s) imagination arouse/​elicit emotion/​sympathy (in the reader) lack imagination/​emotion/​structure/​rhythmLanguage, style and imagery use/​employ language/​imagery/​humour/(especially US English) humor/​an image/​a symbol/​a metaphor/​a device use/​adopt/​develop a style/​technique be rich in/​be full of symbolism evoke images of…/a sense of…/a feeling of… create/​achieve an effect maintain/​lighten the tone introduce/​develop an idea/​a theme inspire a novel/​a poet/​somebody’s work/​somebody’s imaginationReading and criticism read an author/​somebody’s work/​fiction/​poetry/​a text/​a poem/​a novel/​a chapter/​a passage review a book/​a novel/​somebody’s work give something/​get/​have/​receive a good/​bad review be hailed (as)/be recognized as a masterpiece quote a(n) phrase/​line/​stanza/​passage/​author provoke/​spark discussion/​criticism study/​interpret/​understand a text/​passage translate somebody’s work/​a text/​a passage/​a novel/​a poem see also comparative literature Wordfinderauthor, book, classic, critic, drama, fiction, genre, literature, poetry, write
  2. 2literature (on something) pieces of writing or printed information on a particular subject I've read all the available literature on keeping rabbits. sales literature
  3. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘knowledge of books’): via French from Latin litteratura, from littera ‘letter of the alphabet’, (plural) ‘epistle, literature, culture’. Wordfinderaccent, alphabet, dialect, grammar, language, literacy, literature, pronunciation, translate, wordExtra examples Canadian literature written over the past thirty years He has a degree in English Literature. I picked up some literature about pensions. There is a growing literature on technological changes in developing countries. There’s an extensive literature on the subject. the current literature in science and natural history the growing body of literature on development issues the literature concerning the modernization of trade unions the literature regarding effectiveness and cost the professional literature on second language learners the scholarly literature on the rise of the environmental movement For most people, the desire to study literature begins with a love of reading. I’ve read all the available literature on keeping parrots. Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ is one of the great works of literature. sales/​promotional literature
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: literature

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