‘Literature’ has always seemed to me a rather unsatisfactory word. There is something fussy about it; it lacks the simple force of such equivalent terms as ‘music’ or ‘art’. Still, we cannot do without it. No other word covers the same ground.
And what does literature consist of? Poetry and fiction and drama, obviously; but a great deal more as well. In principle, the term embraces any piece of writing that captures the imagination. Hamlet and David Copperfield are English classics, but so are The Compleat Angler, Reflections on the