belles-lettres

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belles-lettres

(bĕl-lĕ`trə) [from the French for literature, literally "fine letters"], literature that is appreciated for the beauty, artistry, and originality of its style and tone rather than for its ideas and informational content. Earlier the term was synonymous with literature, referring particularly to fiction, poetry, drama, criticism, and essays. However, belletristic literature has come to mean light, artificial writing and essays extolling the beauties of literature.
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belles-lettres

literary works, esp essays and poetry, valued for their aesthetic rather than their informative or moral content
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
According to this schema, nature writing is formed in the intersection of three marginally overlapping types of texts: scientific texts, belletristic texts, and pragmatic texts (Tuur, 2007).
Brenner's affinity for Tolstoy is implicit in his early belletristic works: In the Winter (Ba-Horef 1903), Around the Point (Mesaviv Lenekuda 1904), and One Year (Shana Ahat 1909), which by and large reflect his personal experiences.
A special category is formed by prominent writers, whose diary keeping existed in a complex relation to their belletristic writings, themselves increasingly devoted to the transformative task of bringing the Soviet citizenry out of spontaneity and into party-minded consciousness.
Stowe, for example, while she privileged the activist over the belletristic in many respects, nevertheless registered among at least some of her contemporaries as a prestigious literary figure.
Therefore, to understand the scope of Darwin's legacy for literary studies, it is first of all essential to regard the literary not merely as belletristic ornament, nor merely as ready sociological data for investigations of patterns of human behavior, (13) but as complex engagements with the questions--existential, ethical, sociopolitical, psychological, representational--that arise in the aftermath of revolutionary scientific discoveries.
This will, in terms of my writing at least, allow an evaluation of my call to be--and aim to be--entertaining and informative, via 'belletristic musings' and 'subjective responses', as opposed to the 'artspeak' language that has fostered many satirical comments and formulaic guides.
Yet discussions of the Conrad-Naipaul succession that stress either the cartographic or the ethnographic theme, as it were, tend to be superficial; they remain tied to Bandung-Conference topics such as "race," "the Third World," "colonialism," or "exploitation" (all vintage 1955 and of Marxist pedigree) that provoke much emotional heat but shed little philosophical or belletristic light.
(10) The result was an onslaught of belletristic theorising about what those standards should be--and thus where the 'Gothic', the novel, and the Protestant recasting of Catholic icons fit within them--from the periodical essays on aesthetics in Addison and Steele's Spectator and Tatler to the theorising about the 'Gothic' in Nathan Drake's Literary Hours or Thomas Mathias's Pursuits of Literature (both 1798).
(3) In 1972 Terry Eagleton effectively pronounced Hazlitt a fellow traveler in his essay, "William Hazlitt: An Empiricist Radical." Rare for a revisionist analysis, this essay not only rejects comfortably belletristic readings of Hazlitt but also qualifies the alternative reading.
Coleridge, too, earned a measure of acclaim, but there were rumors about his emotional and psychic stability, gossip about his drug use, and later on about his plagiarism, and of course whatever public veneration he enjoyed was for his lectures and belletristic writings, not his poetry.
(42) For although most of these materials, like many modern invocations of Chaucer, may make cavalier use of the facts of both the poet's biography and literary achievement, they have nonetheless surely complemented the efforts of professional editors, booksellers, belletristic amateurs, and professional academics to keep Chaucer in currency--and current--for over six centuries.
A discussion of the second canzone, "Donna pietosa e di novella etade," long recognized as paralleled in content by its accompanying prose, but distinguished from it by the use of artificial, rather than natural narrative order, adopts belletristic criteria that the first chapter had admirably transcended.