In the search of the definition he is necessary the concepts «literature« and “literary”, there arose the discipline of the Theory of the Literature, which starts for delimiting its study object: the literature. At the beginning of the XXth century, the Russian Formalism is interested by the literary phenomenon, and investigates on the features that define and characterize the above mentioned literary texts, i. and., on the literaturidad of the work. Roman Jakobson raises that the literature understood like literary message, has peculiarities in such a way that they make her different from other speeches; this special interest in the form is what Jakobson calls Functions of the language / function poetic art, for which the attention of the issuer relapses on the form of the message (or, what is the same, there is a “will of style” on the part of the writer). In effect, it has determined linguistic productions which essential function is to provide literary pleasure, an esthetic nature delight, as regards the thought aristotélico. The language would combine redundancies and detours of the norm, to move away from the common language, to cause surprise, to be renewed, to impress the imagination and the memory and to attract attention on its peculiar expressive form.

The literary language would be a stylized language and with a particular transcendency, destined to the durability; very different from the expressions of the language of common use; destined for its immediate consumption. The literature, on the other hand, demands for tradition that a support sustentable: “The Ingenious Gentleman of the Gentlemanly Figure” might not have written if the Books of Knighthood should not exist earlier. A literary text cannot be estimated of immanent and autonomous form, but as a result of other texts: intertextuality.

Wolfgang Kayser, in the middle of the XXth century, glides to change the term «Literature« into that of «Belles Lettres«, separating them from the speech and from not literary texts, to the effect that the literary-poetical texts are a structured set of carrying phrases of a structured set of meanings, where the meanings recount to independent realities to the one that speaks, an objectivity and proper unit being created this way.

The term literature and its adjectives

Castagnino, in its book: What is the literature?, it investigates on the concept and how it spreads to realities like the writing, the history, the didactics, the oratory and the criticism. According to Castagnino, the word literature acquires sometimes the value of collective name when it names the set of productions of a nation, epoch or current; or it is a theory or a reflection on the literary work; or it is the sum of knowledge acquired by means of the study of the literary productions. Other concepts, as that of Verlaine, point at the literature like something superfluous and cardboard-like, necessary for the pure esthetic creation. Later, Claude Mauriac proposed the term “aliteratura” in contrast to «literature« in the contemptuous sense that Verlaine was giving him. All these specifications do of the literature a proposal that depends on the perspective from which it focuses. This way, Castagnino concludes that the attempts of delimiting the meaning of «literature«, more than a definition, constitute a sum of limiting and specific adjectival uses.

If it is considered to be the literature in accordance with its extension and its content, the literature might be universal, if it includes the work of all the times and places; if it limits itself to the literary works of a nation in particular, it is a National literature. The productions, generally written, of an individual author, who for having conscience of author, of creator of a literary text, usually signs its work, are part of the refined literature, while the anonymous productions fruit of the community and of oral transmission, sometimes gathered later in writing, shape the Corpus Christi of the popular or traditional literature.

According to the object, the literature will be obligatory if he looks for norms and general beginning; historical – critical if the approach of its study is genealogical; compared, if one attends simultaneously to the examination of works of different authors, epochs, to subject-matters or historical, geographical and cultural contexts; compromised if he adopts politically active positions opposite to the society or the state; pure if only he proposes like an esthetic object; ancillary, if its purpose is not the esthetic pleasure but it is to the service of extraliterary interests.

According to the expressive means and procedures of the ebook, Castagnino proposes that the literature takes the poem and the prose as forms of expression and its achievements are evident in literary, universal genres that are, more or less developed, in any culture; lyric, epic and dramatic. Lyric declarations are those that express personal feelings; Epics, which are constituted in expression of a collective feeling shown by means of narrative ways, and Dramatic arts, that objetivan the feelings and the individual problems communicating them across a direct dialogue. It would be necessary to add also the didactic genre to these classic literary genres. The literary phenomenon has always been in constant evolution and transformation, in such a way that the criterion of belonging or not of a work to the literature can change along the history, on having changed the concept of “literary art”.

Barthes: the literature as practice of writing

For Barthes the literature is neither a Corpus Christi of works, nor either intellectual category, but a writing practice. As it registers or as text, the literature is out of the power because in her there is taking place a displacement of the language, in which they supply effect three potency: Mathesis, Mímesis, Semiosis.1 Como the literature is a sum of knowledges, every knowledge has an indirect place that makes a dialogue possible with its time. As in the science, in at whose interstices the literature, always backward or moved forward is employed with regard to her: “The science is vast, the life is subtle, and to correct this distance it is that we are interested in the literature.” On the other hand the knowledge that mobilizes the literature is neither finished nor final. The literature only says that he knows of something, it is the big mortar of the language, where the sociolectos diversity is reproduced constituting an extreme language or grade zero, achieving of the literature, of the exercise of writing, an infinite reflexibility, one to act of signs.