Nepal contains part of the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. Eight of the fourteen eight-thousanders are located in the country, either in whole or shared across a border with China or India.
It is the strangest of prisons – the aisles stretch endless, divided into names and crackled spines, Melvil Dewey’s ingenuity modified. Books are placed into careful rows, offered genres and assumptions. Horror sprawls to your left; romance is found to your right; and ahead, tucked in far more impressive corners, is the elusive literature. It is kept alone, a solitary reminder of important works and their allusions. Metaphor is found amongst the pages, and delicate symbolism. They offer truths no other category can imagine. They are the elite of all prose. And they must hidden from the supposed lesser works, with their shelves to serve as sentinels, protective.
And you blame the easy temptation when you steal a stack and begin to divide it, taking it far from its prestigious bounds. The books mingle with other categories and become finally understood.
Because literature is not the common conception – all ancient scribbling and clever alliteration. It instead encompasses all stories and all devices: from the grim noirs to the Regency passions, the apocalyptic fiction to the creature clashes. It is not meant to be reserved for those tales that merely elevate. It is instead offered to all forms of the written word.
Literature, simply defined, is the art letters. It is not meant to describe the supposed classics. It is instead to provide a broad explanation of all ink. Divided into distinct categories of fiction, non-fiction and verse, it ensures that every page is given its proper respect; and, while many may choose to ignore the assumed crasser works, they are to still to be considered part of the literary movement.
Books are forever cataloged, understood by their themes and structures. This is an aid that can’t be denied within stores and libraries; making every search an easy thing. To offer the title of ‘literature’ to only a precious few of these works, however, is as misleading as it is incorrect. They are all to be given the name.
Genre is of no consequence. The letters are all that apply.