Literary and non-literary text FacebookTwitterWhatsAppPrint

literary text is a work of art (in a broad sense), with strong rhetorical components and that accounts for an eminently subjective point of view. On the other hand, non-literary texts have a referential function, often informative and with purposes.

Literary textNon-literary text
DefinitionIt is a text with poetic features, rhetorical figures, subjective and without a clear purpose. Polysemic and open to the idea of ​​audience.It is an objective and referential text, where the idea of ​​community and specific purposes prevail. There is an important control in the direction and receivers or particular audiences.
ExamplesNovels, stories, legends, poetry, among others.Journalistic texts, a body of laws or scientific expressions.

Literary text

A literary text (beyond the vastness of its field) has a poetic, original, subjective tinge and with its varied rhetorical elements (ornamentation of language) tries to generate various effects on the reader . It can be said that his language is connotative in part.

In the literature, the objective and referential aspect can be completely set aside, taken in part or totally. In this sense, in the literary world, the concept of truth, of what it is in a concrete sense, begins to blur.

Likewise, the same high rhetorical level makes them polysemic texts, of sufficiently open significance. What is the answer to a fragment? The moral of the play? The meaning of its creator? Many of these issues are not unique and become more complex, especially if the author is dead (that does not mean that his opinion changes throughout his biography).

There is a Luddism in literature that is not observed in other genres. Invented stories and characters, unverifiable facts; but also a certain amount of realism, which in a sort of gradation can give an account of a totally possible world to an absolute fiction (think of Lovecraft).

Philosophically we can say that literary texts are self-referential . And this simply refers to the fact that there are no truths or realities on the outside, which are necessarily worshiped. No, they can be absolutely fictitious facts, plots that never existed and universes characterized by an absolute alienation to ours.

A literary text often has a time stamp (more or less obvious); but nevertheless a priori it can fulfill its function at any time and place . Of course, interpretations will continue to proliferate, as readers will be very diverse.

Here there is no informative function, it does not simply give an account of facts or at least it is not the main reason. What prevails is the poetic and even the aesthetic, in a sense of the beauty that the work itself generates (it breaks with a utilitarian purpose).

Examples of literary texts

The literary field is extremely wide, where you can find realistic positions (let’s think of a certain naturalism of the French 19th century), but also different degrees of fiction. Also, from another point of view, they can be more or less dramatic, entertaining, terrifying, with teachings, philosophical, among other categories.

Literary texts assume different forms that also affect their content. Good examples are poetry subjected to verse (a rhythm in its evolution), novels, short stories, dramas and even legends (assuming that many of them had a realistic character for some people). 

Non-literary text

The non-literary text has an informative and referential functionality, with a specific purpose, objective features and the use of a denotative language (leaving aside folds or ulterior motives) . For this reason, here reality and truth are concepts that emerge with an inescapable force: they cannot be ignored, even from a moral point of view.

In non-literary texts there is no self-sufficiency or self-referentiality. They are intended for an exterior, they submit to the imperatives of very strictly controlled communication . A good example of this is journalistic texts, although in certain formats, such as editorials, the media can develop its point of view.

Here the specific audience matters. Somehow, if we remove the market imperatives, a literary text is self-sufficient and, on the other hand, without being contradictory, it is subjected to the enormous battery of meanings that readers can give it.

On the other hand, a non-literary text is ejected towards the others, it depends to a great extent on those others and it is also essential to take care of what is said, not to appeal to ulterior motives or grand metaphors. Their language, to a large extent, is denotative.

The poetic is put aside and reality counts, which is understood by the harshness of what it is . If there were two deaths in an event, that is the fact. Poetic art is an unnecessary addition, which does not collaborate in a referential and informative functionality where transmission aspects must be taken care of as much as possible.

In the non-literary text, a police force is developed to a great extent in the sender and receiver relationship. By this we mean that we try to influence or close the interpretive fence of the person receiving the message to the maximum (beyond that, many times it is impossible).

Examples of non-literary texts

Non-literary texts are enormously varied. Its functionality is always present: it can be to inform, educate, publicize, regulate, among others . We think of the great diversity of journalistic texts, texts of a scientific and educational nature; but also imperatives such as rules, norms and laws.

Naturally, all of this will also be determined by the audience you are targeting. If in a literary text this did not matter (audiences are created anyway or the market helps to do so), here it does because even the vocabulary will change. A journalistic text is addressed to the entire population, with a language that is simple enough for the facts to be understood; a scientific text is limited to a particular portion of people, using a technical vocabulary because the idea is an exclusive disclosure, biased or for specialists.

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