What is Literature: Definition and 100 Discussions

Literature broadly 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.
Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as biography, diaries, memoir, letters, and the essay. 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/litteratura "learning, a writing, grammar," originally "writing formed with letters," from litera/littera "letter". In spite of this, the term has also been applied to spoken or sung texts. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, which now includes electronic literature.
Literature is classified according to whether it is poetry, prose or drama, and such works are categorized according to historical periods, or their adherence to certain aesthetic features, or genre.

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  1. pinball1970

    Your thoughts on the Lord of the Rings series

    A conversation on "great one liners from pf members" prompted me to start this thread. How were you introduced to the books? What impact did the books have on you? what age? What is special about them? How do they stand against other works of 20thC literature? and....what did you think of the...
  2. josephsanders

    High Energy Literature for introduction to O(N) vector model

    TL;DR Summary: Looking for literature on O(N) vector model Hello, We have been going over the O(N) vector model in my QFT class but the notes are not very detailed and we are not using a textbook. Does anyone know of a good QFT book which goes over this material? I have a copy of Shrednicki...
  3. Delta2

    I Entanglement and FTL signaling in professional scientific literature

    According to professional scientific literature and to our best understanding, are there any suggestions that entanglement might imply some sort of faster than light signaling between the entangled particles? I know that according to relativity nothing can travel faster than light, but what...
  4. Stal

    Computational Literature suggestions please (Topological Quantum Computers)

    Hi, I will be starting my research in topological QC (based on non abelian anyons following the work of A. Yu. Kitaev). To begin understanding this theory, I need to develop a background in the braiding group used to describe anyons, fault tolerance in quantum computers and probably condensed...
  5. R

    Good literature needed (QFT topics)

    Summary:: Trying to find good books so that I can continue writing my paper about the vacuum Hello fellow physics enthusiasts, I require your support to find good and scientific literature about: Lamb Shift Vacuumpolarisation Zero point energy It can be a long source too, so don't be afraid...
  6. bhobba

    A Gravitomagnetism: Derivation, Theory & Insights - Bill

    I often post a derivation of Maxwell's equations from Coulomb's Law and SR: http://cse.secs.oakland.edu/haskell/Special Relativity and Maxwells Equations.pdf The author has also published book about it, I sort of on a whim purchased: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1516864743/?tag=pfamazon01-20 In...
  7. Frabjous

    Intro Physics Thoughts on "A Guide to Ancient Egyptian Literature

    Anyone have any thoughts on this book? I was only able to find one short review (OSA) and the book is priced proudly. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521869021/?tag=pfamazon01-20
  8. sbrothy

    Literature Database: Find Sources for Soft Sciences

    I know about arxiv.org for natural science (is that the right term?) and pubmed for medical science. Is there a similar site for literature and the more softer "sciences"? :)
  9. ChrisVer

    A Search for literature on Quantum Gravity

    Hi all, I am looking for a pedagogical (or maybe also historical) paper that describes the attempts of quantizing gravity and the problems that appear along the lines. It is quite interesting to hear from public talks that "when we try to canonically quantize gravity as we did EM we get...
  10. entropy1

    Study Quantum Mechanics: Recommended Literature

    Hello, I want to try studying QM. I have already read Susskind Minimum QM. Now I have some trouble focussing while reading and mild dyslexia. So I only want to read the stuff I need (doesn't everyone?). HOW do I find the right sequence of the right books to progress from basic to more...
  11. Mary Conrads Sanburn

    Nobel Prize in Literature 1936 was awarded to Eugene G. O'Neil

    The Nobel Prize in Literature 1936 was awarded to Eugene Gladstone O'Neill "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy." Eugene O'Neill received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1937. During the selection process in 1936...
  12. W

    Literature on the Benjamin-Ono equation

    Hi PF, Is there someone here, who can recommend some good introductory literature on the Benjamin-Ono equation (BO)? I have skipped through the book Nonlinear PDE's for scientists and engineers by L. Debnath and in it Debnath only presents the BO equation without a thorough discussion hereof...
  13. V

    A Photovoltaic Effect in CdS or CdSe

    I have a somewhat different question to the usual sort asked. In the literature on photovoltaics numerous authors, both academic and popular refer to an Audobert and Stora who in 1932 observed the photovoltaic effect in either CdS or CdSe, depending on the author, however no citation is given...
  14. Voq

    Transistor literature (books, links, articles) for learning more about them....

    If you have any material (books, links, articles) on transistors i would appreciate that. I am looking for a way to get more general knowledge on subject. Thank you.
  15. M

    Literature survey - wing surface roughness effect on performance

    Homework Statement I am currently trying to do a literature survey on my project task 'effect of wing surface roughness on wing performance'. I have been struggling to find many research papers that are of a similar experiment to mine, however i have come across many that investigate the effect...
  16. S

    Convincing thesis students that doing the literature review is important

    hi all, I am a researcher at university and I have several bechelor and master thesis students every year. Very often, I struggle to convince students to carry out a good literature review and from their thesis, I do not get anything I have not seen, because they only read the first google...
  17. LittleMrsMonkey

    How do I know that my literature search is comprehensive?

    Say I want to do molecular dynamics simulations on a crystal of a specific substance. I get on Scopus and search for it, say going back a couple of years with the results, and then I also check the references in these papers. How can I be kind of sure that this background research is adequate?
  18. ohwilleke

    I Looking for literature re imperfect quantum gravity models

    Preface There are lots of times in physics when we use approximations of a more accurate or fundamental physics theory because it is easier to work with. For example, in quantum chromodynamics (QCD) lots of calculations are done using the Schwinger-Dyson equations rather than the actual...
  19. T

    Discrete Graph Theory book or literature that dives into these concepts

    I need recommendations on literature to read. Basically i do not understand these section of Frank Harary's book on graph theory since the definition of what a boundary and a cycle vector is not clearly defined. I have googled literature on it but I am having a tough time finding the right...
  20. PetSounds

    GEB: Exploring Douglas R. Hofstadter's Strange Loops

    Lately, I've been hooked on Douglas R. Hofstadter's book Gödel, Escher, Bach. In it, he discusses the idea of "strange loops"—often apparent logical paradoxes—and argues that they are the key to understanding consciousness. He includes witty dialogues, as well as examples of "strange loops" in...
  21. S

    Perry Mason in court in literature

    The depiction of courtroom proceedings in the TV series "Perry Mason" was unrealistic - but how realistic was the portrayal of courtroom proceedings in the Perry Mason novels? I haven't read many of the Perry Mason novels. In the few I read, Perry Mason, like any good lawyer, settled things...
  22. Logic Cloud

    I Symmetry in Physics: Books/Papers for Physical Theories

    I am looking for books/papers pertaining to symmetry principles in physics. I am particularly interested in literature aimed at deriving physical theories from their underlying symmetries, but all recommendations are welcome. I already know of the books Symmetries in Fundamental Physics by...
  23. P

    A Masters Thesis Topics and Literature

    hello I am searching for master Thesis topic in "the types of defects and the influence of this defects on the optical, electrical and magnetic properties" I will be very grateful if you could give a link to any professor that has such a topic or similar to this.
  24. P

    What are the two ways to study literature?

    I mean there's one way to read a book where the author becomes all important to the narrative, (like his/her life, why it was written, the era it comes from, etc) ) and then the other way is where what the author writes has a life of its own, and takes on meanings that the author might not even...
  25. TheMathNoob

    Help with literature essay about the film Thelma and Louise

    Prompt 3. How do you read the final scene of Thelma and Louise? Is it a fitting conclusion to the film? Does it shed new light on meanings of the road? The main topic in the course is road narratives. I need feedback for my essay. It's just a 3 page essay. I need also new ideas to finish my paper.
  26. P

    What does this sentence mean (literature)

    Its one specific phrase that is confusing me and its from Samuel Johnson's Preface to Shakespeare. I bolded the exact words that are giving me problems and I also provided the sentences before and after to provide context. (I understand what he is saying wrt how Shakespeare mixes comedy and...
  27. H

    A question on a notation used in hyperelastic literature

    Could someone please tell me what the tilde sign stands for in this equation:$$w_{0}\left(e_{ij}\right)=\int s_{ij}d\tilde{e_{ij}}=\frac{1}{2}\,\underline{\underline{s}}:\underline{\underline{e}}$$ where and ##\underline{\underline{e}}## is the Green Lagrangian strain tensor and...
  28. Ubique

    Which Type of Sci-Fi is Better: Hard or Soft?

    I am a passionate sci-fi fan because of the specific ideas and themes the genre allows authors and readers to experience. It is unique among the literary scene for focusing specifically on a discipline(s) present in every aspect of our lives; that from which we can't escape: SCIENCE. Sci-Fi is...
  29. G

    Literature for QM to QFT step-by-step

    Hi all, can anybody help me to find literature that takes the reader on a step-by-step path from non-relativistic quantum theory to relativistic quantum theory? I imagine something like that: it starts with a single harmonic oscillator, analyzes the non-harmonic oscillator (does the...
  30. A

    Help finding Literature Sources (Solubility of Potassium Nitrate)

    I am typing up a lab report for an introductory chemistry course. Basically we determined the entropy and enthalpy for the dissolution of potassium nitrate in water. The exp. values I found are close to each other but I'm supposed to compare to literature sources and I'm finding frustratingly...
  31. matqkks

    MHB Why do most mathematics literature use 2L for the period of a function?

    Why do most mathematics literature use 2L for the period of a function? Is it related to heat equation with a rod of length L?
  32. GiantSheeps

    Hard Science Fiction Fans: Recommendations & Farside by Ben Bova

    If anyone else here is a fan of hard science fiction, do you have any recommendations? I just read Farside by Ben Bova and I really enjoyed it, so I'd say it's worth a read if you come across it.
  33. Naomi

    What Novel are You Reading? Holiday Read Recommendations?

    The holidays are upon us. With the holiday's comes time off work and school for many. What books are you reading during your spare time? Do you Have any Favorite holiday reads? Perhaps some guilty favorites? Currently I am working on four novels: 1. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene 2. Anna...
  34. C

    Radioactive decay law literature

    What book do you recommend me to read to fully understand the radioactive decay law (equation, derivation, graphs, units)?
  35. U

    Comparison for Experimental vs Literature values for alumnium

    Homework Statement I did a 'three point bend test' and a 'tensile test' on the material as-rolled Aluminium. I then messured and calculated the proepties of the metal and compared it with the literature values found on a CES software. Unfortunately, I can find significant differences for...
  36. S

    Literature on differential geometry, suggestions?

    I am reading Spivak, Calculus on manifolds, and I have a basic working knowledge of topology through Mendelson, "Introduction to Topology", I want to learn more about differential geometry, especially co variant derivatives, levi-civita connections, Ricci and Rieman curvature tensors. I know...
  37. F

    Introductory literature, quantum mechanics

    I am taking this introductory course on quantum mechanics. I am not very satisfied with the "shallowness" of the literature intended for the course, and I would like to buy a better book. Does anybody have any recommendations? Thanks :)
  38. M

    Looking for literature on a basic topic

    I've taken differential and integral calculus, and have a fair understanding of the material at this point. Last semester I had a professor show something in class that I feel is a pretty basic idea, I just haven't thought about working things in such a way. He put a derivative on the board...
  39. S

    Literature Review- Aluminium Ring

    Hi there, I'm a university student and am stuck regarding a literature review for my individual project. I was given a schematic sketch of the setup of my experiment that showed a force acting on a hollow ring, and a strain gauges attached on the ring measured strain for the set force. I was...
  40. G

    Basic literature about diffusion in confined geometries

    Hi everybody! Currently I'm working on 3-dimensional diffusion models using finite element method (FEM). I am familiar with the basic diffusion theory; i mean constant diffusion coefficients, diffusion-reaction problems, numerical methods (from Crank-Nicolson to FEM), isotropic materials...
  41. V

    Exploring Mathematics as a Language: A Linguist's Search for Inspiration

    Hello math forum, I am an undergraduate linguistic student who has absolutely no foundations in mathematics due to a variety of factors during my earlier years. My studies in philosophy and especially linguistics has brought me back to mathematics in a wild search for something that seems...
  42. J

    Quotable literature electric field at wire tips?

    Homework Statement Does anybody know where to find a source that describes the electrical field between two opposing wire tips with a small gap between them? The problem is more or less finding a quotable source, not so much solving the problem. Homework Equations Not relevant now...
  43. H

    Why is Random Error Higher than Literature Error?

    Homework Statement In an experiment to determine the Ar of Li, the % error due to random errors was calculated to be 12.1%. However, the literature value is 6.941 and my calculated value is 7.5 which means my % error s 7.45. Homework Equations Usually, the error due to the literature...
  44. D

    Molecular spectroscopy and accepted literature values

    Hi, I have finished an experiment about vibronic transitions for the N_2 molecule and I'd like to compare my results ( vibrational frequencies and dissociation energies of the electronic states interested in the N_2 second positive and N+_2 first negative band systems ) with the accepted...
  45. P

    What Are the Best Starter Books for Understanding Flight Mechanics?

    Hello! I am a student of mechanical engineering, but I always loved aircrafts, and I want to get involved with aerospace engineering as soon as possible. Could you please suggest any good books about basics of flight mechanics on university level? I googled it a bit, but there are so...
  46. T

    Literature Request: Introduction to d-wave superconductivity

    I'm looking for a pedagogic introduction to d-wave superconductivity on the level of field theory. Ideally, this would involve a derivation of d-wave superconductivity and the form of the gap parameter from some fundamental Hamiltonian (if such a derivation is even possible yet). Books and...
  47. S

    Literature Review: Teeter-Totters

    What should a literature review of a teeter-totter contain?
  48. T

    I need some recommandations for literature about periodic functions

    Hello, I know I am asking for advice about a very specific topic - periodic functions, almost periodic functions and quasi-periodic functions. I was hit by an idea and I need to know a few things more comprehensively about this topic !?~ :] I am aware that "periodic functions etc." isn't a...
  49. S

    Where can I find literature on rocket design and flight?

    I'm hoping that someone can guide me toward some literature on 'rocket science'. I know that is not very descriptive, but essentially, I would like to learn about the engineering and physics principles that govern rocket flight (to include propulsion and guidance). I have found some books...
  50. 7

    Literature recommendations for Maxwell's equations

    Hello! I am very interested in learning Maxwells equations, and learn it good. I need a recommendations for books where electrodynamics is presented from scratch and Maxwell's equations are used to explain most examples. I need examples like direct current, alternating current, and...