What is the difference between a literary work and an ordinary book? Is this purely academic?
If you think the difference matters, please explain why? Moreover, if you think that popular texts do fall into the category of literature, can you clarify why you think so?
When I was young and in college genre fiction was looked down on. Now Mysteries are very popular and whether they are recognized as literature many of the Authors are highly considered by critics.
Mark Twain, who might now be considered a major literary writer, was considered a mere humorist in his day. Charles Dickens wrote popular serialized novels.
I no longer care. What is a mere popular book now might be a considered a great piece of literature later. On the other hand writers that critics rave over now may become unknown in the future.
An ordinary book, you know, the type you like to read, has a plot, a story line, it is going somewhere, it has a beginning, a middle and an end, and you want to get there, and you stay with it. Writers of Literature (the capital is deliberate) are so afraid of any element of plot or story creeping in to ruin their wonderful use of erudite language and prose, they often tell the end at the beginning.
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