A "literary text" is a work of writing, such as a book or poetry, that is intended to convey a tale or entertain, such as a fictitious novel. Its main purpose as a literature is generally aesthetic, but it may also convey political statements or ideas. By contrast, a "non-literary text" is a document or artifact that is not designed to present information or ideas in an entertaining way. For example, a recipe would be considered a non-literary text.
In general, the term "literary text" is used to describe works which use language well and are therefore interesting to read or listen to. This includes novels, poems, essays, stories, and speeches. Non-literary texts include documents, such as letters or reports, that use language to communicate information or ideas. For example, a contract would be considered non-literary because it is not designed to be readable or enjoyable to read.
Some definitions of literature limit literary works to words put down on paper, ignoring other media such as music and film. Other definitions include any written work, no matter how formal or informal, that uses words to express an idea. Still others include only works that use language to convey information or ideas.
Literature is defined as "the art of reading and writing for pleasure", so anything that falls under this definition is considered literary.
In literary theory, a text is any item that can be "read," whether it be a piece of literature, a street sign, a building layout on a city block, or clothing fashions. It is a logical sequence of signals that conveys some type of information. Texts are produced by human authors using certain conventions for language and format. Thus, texts contain both linguistic and non-linguistic material.
Books are collections of texts. A book can be anything that has texts on its pages: a magazine, a newspaper, an anthology, etc. Books may also be referred to as publications or journals. The term "literary" is usually added to describe works of fiction or poetry.
Texts in books can be divided into three general categories: main, supplementary, and marginal. "Main" texts are those that form the body of the work being discussed. They often include stories, poems, plays, etc. "Supplementary" texts provide additional information about the topic at hand. For example, a biography would be considered supplementary to a study of modern French poetry because it provides information about the life of the author. "Marginal" texts are those that lie outside the main flow of the argument. For example, citations from other works appear on margins when they are used as evidence or support for an idea or concept. Annotations are made on margins when someone adds commentary or criticism to a text.
The majority of written works fit within a restricted range of text theory's kinds. A poem is a text where the parts are formed by lines of verse (or prose if not divided into lines) and usually contain an abstract meaning message as well.
Texts can also be visual images such as paintings, drawings, and photographs. Visual texts are thought of as a subcategory of illustration. Texts that consist solely of visual imagery without any associated words are called visual poems.
Finally, texts can be audio recordings such as songs or speeches. These are called textual sources. Audio files can be included in publications as illustrations or embedded in web pages as background music or podcasts.
The term text has many different meanings in different contexts. In general usage, a text is any item of writing, including books, journals, newspapers, letters, emails, online articles, blogs, etc., that convey information or express ideas. In this sense, a text can be as simple as a single sentence or as complex as a novel.
In academic contexts, a text is any segment of a work of literature or science that presents a coherent idea or proposition.