What is Literature?

I am enjoying reading from the 1928 edition of “Wheeler’s Literary Readers with interpretations” (the seventh reader).  The introductory section “Suggestions For Using This Book”  is alone worthwhile reading.
What is Literature?–Literature has been called an interpretation of life.  The consensus of opinion (Hosic’s*summary) defines literature as having the following characteristics and purposes:

  1. Literature enriches the experience of the reader and extends his knowledge of life.
  2. The experience which literature provides is emotional.
  3. The language of literature is symbolic.  The imagination is aroused by means of symbols and through the power of suggestion,ideas and images are built up with their accompanying meanings.
  4. Literature idealizes; that is, it presents life not only as it is, but also as it might be.
  5. Literature cultivates the moral sense.
  6. Literature is a means to the profitable employment of leisure time.




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