Types of literature: what are they, classification of types of literature and their characteristics


What are the types of literature?

The literary world is one of the oldest fields of artistic expression and, therefore, one of those that has developed the most over time, which is why today we can find a great variety of them, oriented to different areas and specific purposes. The types of literature are a way of classifying literature that has been developed.

Now, when we speak of types of literature, in a first form of classification, we refer mainly to the way it has developed over time. After identifying this, it will be possible to find another series of divisions that allow us to identify them on the basis of the purposes of literature, structures and specific characteristics.

What are the types of literature?

In general terms, when we speak of literature we refer to the art of expression that can take two media. On the one hand, the written medium and on the other, the spoken medium. This distinction makes it possible to identify a division and, to this extent, to organize the types of literature that exist, which, in turn, contain other important divisions. Within the types of literature we have oral literature and written literature:

Oral literature

This first classification is distinguished mainly by the channel of transmission, since its channel of diffusion is the voice. It is a literature that finds its support in memory, but also in voice and corporal expression. It can have several functions within society, such as entertainment, teaching, reinforcing the identity of a community, remembering, honoring, among others.

It is characterized because given its oral transmission, often marked by the passage of generations, the author is generally anonymous. It also happens that, due to this passage, the stories are adapted to the contexts to which they arrive and elements of the local tradition and culture are incorporated and continue their course within the generations.

Written literature

As its name indicates, it is that literature that is formally recorded in the field of writing. It arises when it is recorded in a specific language and is characterized by the fact that after its passage from generation to generation, it continues to maintain the same information without any room for modifications that would alter the work.

Unlike oral literature, written literature has an identified author or group of authors and provides more information about the time of its creation, origin, etc. It is important to keep in mind that much oral literature has been recorded in written form, although it still maintains anonymous authors.

What are the types of literature

General characteristics of the types of literature

Through oral transmission or in its written record, literature has been one of the most relevant means of artistic expression and has given rise to a great variety of recognized artists throughout history from different parts of the world. Here are some key characteristics of the types of literature:

Characteristics of oral literature

Among the main characteristics, we find the following:

Modifications of literature

As we announced, oral literature has the condition of being subject to changes and/or modifications in which it incorporates elements or even loses some of them. This is fundamentally due to the form in which it is transmitted, given that for the adoption of them, many peoples or communities can modify aspects.

Ease of dissemination

The most important stories that would later become myths and legends known on a larger scale, emerged as oral literature. Their knowledge was possible due to the passage from generation to generation at a time when writing had not been invented, this facilitated that, despite the modifications, we could know part of that kind of initial content that emerged from different regions many centuries ago.

Incorporation into everyday life

All members of a social group are also producers of oral literature. This is due to the fact that since childhood we listen to this type of literature and, at the same time, we reproduce it in different spaces, which is why it is part of our life from a very early age.

Characteristics of written literature

Its main characteristics are:

Duration over time

Since written texts are recorded physically or digitally, they have the ability to endure with the passage of time and their arrival in different regions and/or cultural contexts.

Length and specific structure

Since it is a formal record of literature, it has a determined length and thus a defined structure that is marked by specific elements that cannot be modified.

Absence of interaction

Written literature does not generate a space for interaction during the course of the composition of the text, so that in its writing, the author has no knowledge about the reaction of the readers or provides a space for its final construction.

Remember that in our literature section you can find much more information about other elements of literature to continue learning more about this artistic expression.