Friday, January 1, 2010

Starting off with an easy one: what is literature?

I love the written word, so I'm starting off the year with a quote.

"Umberto Eco defines literature as any text that moves beyond the confines of its media. When people start to talk about the characters as if they are friends, the book is no longer just a book - it has become literature."

I like this idea.  I think it's important to notice how no value judgment is made; we're not defining good and bad, just literature or not-literature.

How do you feel about it? Do you agree with Eco, or do you think this definition is too broad? How do you define literature?

1 comment:

  1. Well, as definitions go, it's rather broad- "moving beyond the confines of its media" seems to me to apply, for instance, to written directions to a friend's house. The bit about talking about characters as friends helps; at least an important function of literature, to my mind, is to draw us into its world to the degree that it "comes alive" for us. But then it's not really that it's moving beyond the confines of its media, so much as inviting us beyond the confines of our reality, right?