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is a quality generally applied to the genre of literary fiction
Literary fiction is a term that came into common usage during the early 1960s. The term is principally used to distinguish "serious fiction" which is a work that claims to hold literary merit, in comparison from genre fiction and popular fiction . In broad terms, literary fiction focuses more upon...
. A work is said to have literary merit (to be a work of art) if it is a work of quality, that is if it has some aesthetic value.
The concept of "literary merit" is impossible to define, and it is hard to see how such an idea can be used with any precision or consistency by policy makers, magistrates or judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...
s. A common response to this criticism is that, while the process of establishing literary merit is difficult, fraught with dangers, and often subjective, it is the only method currently available to separate work that has significant cultural value from work that is ephemeral.