Written literature: what it is, how it arises, types and main features


What is written literature?

When we talk about written literature, we refer to one of the main divisions that take place in the world of literature, in terms of its main classification of types of literature. That is, it is one of the two most important categories that includes a large amount of content and that in turn, we can divide into another series of categories.

Thus, written literature refers to the set of written works or texts that have been produced and recorded by human beings throughout history. In this way we have a large number of texts that we can divide into three categories: literary text, non-literary text and digital text, a much more recent category that comes with the digital era.

How does written literature arise?

Although it is difficult to define the origin of written literature, the closest approximations allow us to place it in Classical Greece, in particular with the tradition of Western literature. There, it arose from the transcription of epic texts attributed to Homer, such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, fundamental texts in the history of literature.

In its beginnings, it was only literature of oral transmission, reason for which its composition was structured in verse and was decisive for the development of other later literary works that will leave the first texts to humanity as the Greek tragedies with authors such as Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles. Thus, throughout history, important works were consolidated and written with varied resources for their care and safety, so that the printing press, an element that also divides the development of literature, will be fundamental for the continuation of written literature, mainly.

What is written literature

Text Types

As we mentioned, within the written literature we have three main categories on which all texts are organized. Thus, first we have the literary text, then there is the non-literary text and then the digital texts. Each of these categories allows us to locate all types of texts that we can find today.

Now, if we have said that written literature is properly texts, it is necessary to mention that this term refers to all the statements that are part of a written document. These statements, in turn, are sets of signs and symbols that are part of a language and convey a message.

Main characteristics

It is important to consider that much of the written literature initially existed as oral literature, so it is with the passage of time that it began to be recorded so that it would not fall into oblivion. Now, let’s look at the main characteristics of written literature:

Permanence over time

One of the main features of texts, in any of its categories, has to do with the fact that the content or message that is printed in them, has the ability to last over time. That is to say, it is a message that can be read accurately long after it has been produced, since it is registered and has the advantage of remaining intact, also considering the production of copies.

Broader reach

Whether we are referring to the physical object of the book or the text, which even in its digital format is valid for this feature, we have that texts or written literature also has the advantage of being able to cross borders. It is not only a matter of traveling a distance in time, but also of place, since it can reach exactly other areas of the world and the same message can be read in other spaces.

Impossibility of interaction

The message or content of the text is already registered, so there is no possibility of generating an interaction with the information that is captured. In other words, in this case, the receiver does not have the possibility of intervening or modifying the content because he/she will only have access to it when it is finished.

Text planning

Unlike the spontaneity in which oral literature is developed, which is recorded in speech immediately, written literature has a planning process in which, before reaching the receiver, he/she can modify aspects of its content, make corrections and so on, before reaching him/her.

If you want to know more about other aspects of literature, the second most important category within the types of literature and more, remember that in our section dedicated to this artistic field you can find a lot of information to continue learning.