Literary Standards Essay

There are generally considered to be seven standards a piece of literature should abide to in order to be considered ‘literary’. If a piece of writing is considered ‘literary’ this usually suggests that it is a scholarly article or classical writing that is extremely well written and is very informative.

Literary writing can be intellectual and contain a lot of cleverly hidden meanings which ensure the writing can be enjoyed and studied on many different levels and often still enjoyed many years after it was written.

Many people believe that literature cannot be defined and literary theory should simply be thought of as way of interpreting both texts and events.

The seven standards that a piece of literature usually contains to be considered literary are:


An important feature of great literature is that it endures. Classic literature such as Dickens is still enjoyed by readers today, generations after it was originally written and in a completely different world to the one it was intended for.

This is extremely important because if a work of literature is not enjoyed 20 years after publication, it will simply be forgotten.

Universal appeal

This is similar to endurance in the fact that literature must appeal to a range of people across different age groups, nationalities, cultures and beliefs.


The literature should be well written and appeal to our creative sides with beautifully crafted phrases and sentences. Sentences such as these are often memorized and can become famous phrases.


The writer of literature will usually have a unique view of the world and will put thoughts to us in a way we have never considered. It may be thoughts about the world or it may simply be thoughts about the actual words used. Words may be used in a creative and unusual way that is entertaining and interested.

Intellectually valuable

Literary work will usually inform us about our past, our present or the world around us. It may not be in the form of facts and figures but it will help us understand our lives and realize truths about humanity and life in general. Literature should mentally stimulate us and enriches our thoughts.


Literature should carry many associations that lead beyond the surface meaning. Underlying suggestions usually carry an enormous amount of emotional power, often because it is not directly mentioned but hinted at through associations that can often be more powerful. The reader is left to establish what the author is suggesting and this captures the reader’s imagination by making think about what they are reading and engaging them into the story.

Spiritual Value

Great works of literature are often thought to have an underlying moral message that can potentially make us better people. Moral values are often written between the lines and can help us become better people. 1.ARTISTRY – this is a quality which appeals to our sense of beauty. 2.INTELLECTUAL VALUE – a literary work stimulates thought. It enriches our mental life by making us realize fundamental truths about life and human nature. 3.SUGGESTIVENESS – this is the quality associated w/the emotional power of literature. 4.SPIRITUAL VALUE – Literature elevates the spirit by bringing out moral values which make us better persons. 5.PERMANENCE – a great work of literature endures. 6.UNIVERSALITY – great literature is timeless and timely. 7.STYLE – this is the peculiar way in which a writer sees life, forms his ideas and expresses them.

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