Literature vs Fiction
Given that fiction and literature are two words that are often confused due to the similarity in their meanings and usage, it is best to learn the difference between literature and fiction. Though we say these two words some similarity in their meanings and usage, they do have a difference. That is why we cannot use fiction and literature interchangeably. From the two terms, literature can be known as an umbrella term under which fiction comes. Both words, fiction and literature, are nouns. Literature has its origin in the Latin term littera. Fiction also has a Latin, French origin. Therefore, let us now have a detailed account of the difference between literature and fiction.
What is Literature?
Oxford dictionary says that literature is “Written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.” For example,
Her last book was a great work of literature.
Literature is, in fact, any creation in writing. Literature comprises of several literary forms. These various literary forms include poetry, prose, novel, play, short story, essay and the like. Fiction is a part of literature. However, all forms of literature are not fiction.
Literature is a specific course of study conducted by universities and colleges.
What is Fiction?
According to the Oxford dictionary the definition of the word fiction is “Literature in the form of prose, especially novels that describes imaginary events and people.” While literature is any creation in writing, fiction is an imaginative work of writing. In reality, fiction becomes a part of literature.
While literature has several literary forms such as novel, prose, play, etc. fiction refers to a novel or a short story that is imagined by the author. For example, fairy tales, folklore fall under fictions as they are stories spun by story tellers for pleasure. In the case of fairy tales, they give moral lessons to children, as well. The story explained in a fiction need not have happened in real life. Flying carpet genies in lamps can be real in Aladdin but not in real life. This is the reason autobiography is also classified under non-fiction. The writer develops his own style of describing his own story in an autobiography, but he is telling a story that has happened. It is not imagination. Therefore, autobiography is non-fiction. In the same way, biographies are also classified under non-fiction since they also deal with stories that had happened in real life.
Though universities and colleges conduct courses in literature they only offer diplomas in creative writing. Fiction falls under the category of creative writing.
What is the difference between Literature and Fiction?
• Literature is any creation in writing. Fiction is imaginative work of writing.
• While literature has several literary forms such as novel, prose, play, etc. fiction refers to a novel or a short story that is imagined by the author.
• Though universities and colleges conduct courses in literature they only offer diplomas in creative writing. Fiction falls under the category of creative writing.
As a matter of fact, as the present trend would have it fiction chiefly comprises of the novel. In other words, all novelists are called as fiction writers. All novelists are said to have contributed to the corresponding literature, as well. Thus, fiction becomes the subset of literature. These are the main differences between the two words, namely, literature and fiction.
- Difference Between Novel and Fiction
- Difference Between Fiction and Non-Fiction
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