Literature, as a term, etymologically comes from Latin “litaritura/litteratura” which means “writing formed with letters”. “Litteratura” also comes from “litera/littera” which signifies “letter or handwriting”. The term was used to refer to all written accounts. The concept has changed meaning over time to include texts that are spoken or sung (oral literature), and non-written verbal art forms.
Literature as a term is also used to describe written and sometimes spoken material. It is mostly and commonly referred to works of the creative imagination, including poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and in some instances, journalism, and song.
More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to using language in ways that differ from ordinary usage. But generally, literature means the body of written works.
Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction and whether it is poetry or prose. It can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short story or drama, and works are often categorized according to historical periods or their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre).