belles-lettres /bɛlˈlɛtr(ə) French bɛllɛtʀ//

b

I. plural noun [also treated as sing.]

1. essays, particularly on literary and artistic criticism, written and read primarily for their aesthetic effect.

he inspired me with the desire to restore writing on art to nineteenth century belles-lettres.

‹derogatory› elegant dabbling in belles-lettres.

II. derivatives

1. belletrism /bɛlˈlɛtrɪz(ə)m /
noun


2. belletrist
noun


3. belletristic /ˌbɛləˈtrɪstɪk /
adjective


– origin mid 17th cent.: from French, literally ‘fine letters’.

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