literature as one of the fine arts; imaginative writings as distinguished from technical and scientific writings, esp. when characterized by a polished, highly literary style and, often, a somewhat dilettantish manner
Fr, lit., beautiful letters, fine literature
See belles-lettres in American Heritage Dictionary 4
plural noun(used with a sing. verb)
Literature regarded for its aesthetic value rather than its didactic or informative content.
Light, stylish writings, usually on literary or intellectual subjects.