Discourse on the Art of Defining Literature

A Discourse on the Art of Defining Literature

Literature is a familiar word to many - Discourse on the Art of Defining Literature introduction. A single word yet complicated definition. What is literature? Monroe Beardsley, in his “The Concept of Literature,” has offered a constructive, descriptive, and a conceptual analysis of the definition of literature. Not only that, Beardsley aims to offer a recommendation to clarify the existing definitions of literature and restructure the definition into a clearer, concise, and more fitting to what it really tells. Beardsley has focused on two concepts to define literature—the discourse concept and the art concept.

We will write a custom essay sample on
Discourse on the Art of Defining Literature
or any similar topic specifically for you
Do Not Waste
Your Time

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.

More Essay Examples on Literature Rubric

Literature: The Discourse Concept

The word “discourse” according to Merriam-Webster is exchanging ideas verbally, it is also connected to writing, and it involves order in conceptualizing ideas. To Beardsley, the word “discourse” means “the written and spoken pieces of the natural language.” Combining these ideas, critics coined the termed “literary quality.” Quality is associated to an orderly conceptualization of ideas. Using the discourse concept, we relate literature to various literary works, which we now apply literary quality. A sample literary work is a poem. With the discourse concept, we say that a poem is both a written and spoken piece of language and that to be able to come up with a good poem, an orderly conceptualization is needed.

Literature takes many forms from poetry to prose from short stories and essays to novels. We cannot underrate the wide scope of literature. It is characterized by visualizations and strong emotions. The poet or the writer is free to express his or her ideas in any manner conventional or original.

Literature: The Art Concept

We also say that literary works are works of art. How does art relate to literature? We said literary works aim to connect to the emotions of the readers. To be able to achieve this, the literary work must be written artistically and with utmost creativity.

Understanding literature as an art needs a keen observation and sensitivity to the ideas and craftsmanship of the theme. Literary reading is an important skill to develop in order to appreciate the artistry of a literature. The semantic division of literature contains portion with implicit meanings. The poet or the writer uses metaphors, symbols, and images that add dimension and color in a literary composition. Ideas and words have to be expressed in a creative manner. The greatness of a literary piece is subjective from one person to another.

Semantic Features of Literature

The literary quality of a literature lies in the semantic features of literary works, the creativity in the formation and appeal of words and ideas. How words stir up the imagination and the emotion of its reader. Semantic feature in literature is the essence, one that really matters. Words can be played but its meaning should not be lost. Every literary work has a purpose and influence. Ideas convey in literary works cannot be just presented in a plain manner; they should be delivered with creativity. Literary works aim to touch the mind, heart, and soul of its reader.

In terms of semantic features, literature can be defined using both the concepts of discourse and art. Why, because artistic side cannot be separated from any literary works. The art concepts give the emotion to the discourse concept. Composing a literary work is not as simple as writing or speaking the organized thoughts. In any way we look at literary work, or at literature, the two concepts must be present to be able to create a masterpiece.


The concept of literature is complex and difficult to explain. Language in literature is truly useful and provides beautiful legacy. Certainly one has to understand the purpose of literature. Creation of literature entails one to be capable of using language that goes beyond the normal way. Using figurative languages can satisfy readers.

Beardsley studied the organization of words; analyze the meaning and significance of words; and the aim or purpose of making a literature. Thoughts, feelings, and experiences have to be expressed in most creative way to make literature a wonderful experience and journey to a reader.

Thus, the discourse and art concepts are both beneficial in literature. Whatever are the forms of literature; poem, essay, short stories, and the like; the creative exposition of organized ideas is what makes readers appreciate and grasp the message of the work. Literature starts in the creative mind of the writer. The mind processes the words to best describe the message. The brain also processes the creative way to express these words to the readers.

Many are inclined to love literature. A great piece of literature is able to transfer to its audience the emotions of the piece. When emotions are involved, the tendency is for many people to love the work. This we owe to the creative efforts of writers to artistically create literary works out of simple, yet organized words.

Works Cited

Discourse (Definition). Merriam-Webster Incorporated. 2008. 10 July 2008. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discourse>

John, Eileen, and Dominic Lopes. Literature: History and Criticism. Blackwell Publishing, 2004.


Haven’t Found A Paper?

Let us create the best one for you! What is your topic?

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.

Haven't found the Essay You Want?

Get your custom essay sample

For Only $13/page

Eric from Graduateway Hi there, would you like to get an essay? What is your topic? Let me help you