Literature is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment, and can also have a social, psychological, spiritual, or political role.
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Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as biography, diaries, memoir, letters, and essays. Within its broad definition, literature includes non-fictional books, articles or other printed information on a particular subject.
Etymologically, the term derives from Latin literatura/litteraturacode: lat promoted to code: la "learning, a writing, grammar," originally "writing formed with letters," from litera/litteracode: lat promoted to code: la "letter". In spite of this, the term has also been applied to spoken or sung texts. Literature is often referred to synecdochically as "writing," and poetically as "the craft of writing" or simply "the craft." Syd Field described his discipline, screenwriting, as "a craft that occasionally rises to the level of art."
Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, which now includes electronic literature.