Beautiful literature is the conceptual cohesion that emerged on the one hand as a translation of the French belles lettres , but on the other hand became necessary when the word literature was redefined in the 19th century . In the preceding definition of the term, literature was the field of science within which one could define an area of " beautiful sciences ", the area of the belles lettres . In the redefinition of the 19th century, literature became the area of linguistic tradition, whereby a core field was determined: literature in the narrower sense of the term was the area of linguistic tradition that gained value as art .
Today one speaks of beautiful or beautiful literature when one wants to make it clear that one does not mean linguistic tradition as a whole, but rather dramas , epics and poetry - literature “in the narrower sense of the word” versus non- fiction or specialist literature on the other hand. The term is retained in this function, although it is now clearly out of date: Modern novels, dramas and poems are usually no longer written in order to be appreciated for their "beauty" - the development of the genres summarized here was at the end of the 18th , Not foreseeable at the beginning of the 19th century.
- Rainer Rosenberg: A confused story. Preliminary considerations for a biography of the concept of literature. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 77 (1990), pp. 36-65.
- Olaf Simons: Marteau's Europe or the novel before it became literature. Amsterdam 2001, pp. 85-94.