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What is literature?

‘The books transported her into new worlds and


introduced her to amazing people who lived
exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships
with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest
Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She
travelled all over the world while sitting in her little
room in an English village.’
‘Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. In
enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires
and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that
our lives have already become.’
( C.S. Lewis)
... some dictionary definitions…

Books, poems, plays, etc. that Writings in which expression and form, in
people think are good, serious and connection with ideas of permanent and universal
important. (Longman Active Study interest, are characteristic or essential features, as
Dictionary) poetry, novels, history, biography and essays.
(dictionary.com)

Written material, such as poetry, novels, essays,


Written works, especially
etc., especially works of imagination
those considered of superior
characterised by excellence of style and
or lasting artistic merit: a
expression and by themes of general or enduring
great work of literature.
interest.
(Oxford Dictionaries)
(dictionary.com British edition)
Answer the following questions:
 Can you live in the past?
 Can you live in the future?
 Can you live in another place?
 Can you be a completely different person?
 Can you really understand what another person feels?
 Can you love and be loved by a prince or a princess?
 Can you die and live again?
 Can you make terrible mistakes and avoid the consequences?
If your answer to all or most of the questions is ‘no’, what you need is (good) books to read!
Great literature is the low-tech, low cost means to let you answer ‘yes’ to all these questions.
A) LITERATURE SAVES US TIME

B) CITIZENS OF THE WORLD


C) NICER PEOPLE
The books we read and the plays we see give us opportunities to see things from someone
else’s point of view. Literature makes us capable of considering the consequences of our
actions on others. This makes us more tolerant and considerate.

D) A CURE FOR LONELINESS


While people can disappoint us, books are always true friends – are never too busy for us,
giving us honest accounts of what things really are.
E) DEALING WITH FAILURE
The media delight in showing us how the great and good, the rock stars, footballers, actors,
politicians etc., make a mess of their lives. Great books don’t judge people in such a cruel,
one-dimensional way. Books can show us pity for the fallen hero and fear for ourselves as
we just see how close we can all come to destroying our own lives.

F) LITERATURE THERAPY
Literature is a type of therapy, a tool that can help us to live better, with more wisdom,
goodness and sanity.