The concept of "literature" is notoriously vague and defies definition, yet at the same time it is indispensable in an age where traditional subject boundaries are breaking down. This volume discusses possible ways of defining the concept in such a manner that it can be productively deployed heuristically in varied historical and cultural contexts. At the same time, phenomena such as fictionality and literaricity are taken as the starting point for a search for common features of literature. The following topics are dealt with: 1. Aspects of 'Literature' as a prototype, 2. Fictionality, 3. Historical aspects of the phenomenon of 'Literature', 4. Cultural and social aspects of the phenomenon of 'Literature', 5. The constitution of literature as an object in literary studies.