EDIT: Oops, should've ended the title with a question mark. So, I have a question (as if you couldn't tell from the title). It's been bugging me for a while. What makes literature "good"? Here's why I ask. There seems to be two ways to look at it. One is the "quality" of the literature. However, isn't that too much like beauty? Literary quality really seems as though it is in the eye of the beholder. I've read books that are "good literary quality" and shook my head. I've read books of "bad literary quality" and have been completely enthralled. Isn't the point of the story to capture your readers, take their focus away from their world and your writing, and pull them completely into the world that you're creating (fiction), or re-creating (non-fiction storytelling)? If that is true, then isn't the quality of literature (in comparison to other published books) at least somewhat based on sales of the book, because it is a measure of how much the literature has reached the audience and persuaded them to live in the world that has been re/created? In other words, it has re/created a world that people want to live in - or a world of which people want to learn? Literary awards are given for books that sell hundreds of copies - maybe thousands. But if they haven't reached they're audience, then why is it good literature? Twilight (for instance) is pretty much universally panned by published writers, yet it sold millions, drawing teens and adults alike into a different world of vampires. It successfully communicated a story - achieving the most basic point of (fiction) literature - in a way that blew the measurables of the charts. So really, what is good literature? Is it a special use of language in a story, or is it a special ability to communicate a story that enthralls the reader? I lean a bit to the latter, mainly because in the end, language is nothing more or less than the primary tool used for communication - so if someone can utilize the communicative tool in a way that reaches others, then they have made a good literary achievement. ____ Mods - sorry if this is in the wrong section. I just thought it should be in general writing since it deals with the way we both approach our writing, and judge other writing.