These classes, known as “Polite Letters”, “Belles Letters” or “Literature”, are provided mainly for such works as volumes of poetry, drama, and fiction.
Here are grouped all books whose primary interest is the form in which they are written – all books which are written and read, not as real contributions to any subject, but as examples of their form. These classes are in some of their divisions, subject classes, e.g. all works on the “forms”, including books of literary criticism, are given a place usually in the first few divisions of the schedules. The arrangement within the class varies in the main bibliographical schemes. The Decimal Classification divides first by language, then into the forms Poetry, Drama, etc., and finally chronologically:
- 800 Literature
- 820 English literature
- 821 English poetry
- 822 English drama
- 823 English fiction
- 824 English essays
- 825 English oratory
- 826 English letters
- 827 English satire, humour
- 828 English miscellany
Within the chronological periods, the arrangement is alphabetical by author. Brown adopted a different arrangement in his literature class, which consists of four form groups:
N 000 Fiction
300 Essays and Miscellanea
A special number is provided within these groups where all literary works are arranged in alphabetical order of author, irrespective of language and period, e.g. N020 Individual Novelists; N150 Individual Poets, N250 Individual Dramatists; N305 Individual Essayists. If necessary, however division of any of the broad heads according to language can be made by adding the number of the country from the History and Geography class to the special “Notational” division supplied:
N202Q5 represents Italian Drama; N202 being the number for National Drama and Q5 abbreviated geographical number for Italy.
The arrangement of the History, Topography, and Geography classes of bibliographical schemes may be said to be based on form as much as on subject. Here the place is the subject, and history and and geography the points of view from which the place is considered. In the Decimal Classification such title as “History of England” and “History of Germany” are placed by country in class 900 History at 942 and 043 respectively. The arrangement in the Subject scheme is more obvious; each geographical place is given a fixed number in the History and Geography classes, and a number from this Categorical Table is added according to the form:
- U580 Derbyshire; U580.10 History of Derbyshire; U580.33 Geography of Derbyshire.