Certain forms of writing, however, are universally regarded as belonging to literature as an art.
Individual attempts within these forms are said to succeed if they possess something called artistic merit and to fail if they do not.
Yet through words literature elevates and transforms experience beyond “mere” pleasure.
Literature also functions more broadly in society as a means of both criticizing and affirming cultural values.
during an 18-month stint in solitary confinement started him on a path from prison to UC Berkeley, where he was majoring in English literature while struggling with the aftereffects of extreme isolation. But not everything expressed in words—even when organized and written down—is counted as literature.
Those writings that are primarily informative—technical, scholarly, journalistic—would be excluded from the rank of literature by most, though not all, critics.
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Most critics would not admit advertising copywriting, purely commercial fiction, or cinema and television scripts as accepted forms of literary expression, although others would hotly dispute their exclusion.
The test in individual cases would seem to be one of enduring satisfaction and, of course, truth.