Literature: An Introduction

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The established notion of literature: - It is very difficult to define literature. It primarily refers to written compositions or texts or the “rasa-imbued texts that give aesthetic delight. Besides written literature, we have also oral literature, in the form of songs or chanting .Indian tribal literature is the best example as far as oral literature is concerned. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines literature : “Pieces of writing that are valued as works of art, especially novels, plays and poems (in contrast to technical books and newspapers, magazines etc. Chief Characteristics of Literature The Chief Characteristics of literature: We are now in a position to enlist some of the essential qualities of literature. They are- (i) Literature is artistic:- Literature is characterized by its artistic quality ; it is the expression of life in words of truth and beauty .That’s why , we have many writers but few artists. Let’s quote last two lines of John Keats’ Ode: On a Grecian Urn: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,-that is all, Ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know”. (ii) Literature is suggestive: Literature is known for its suggestive quality; it makes an appeal to our emotions and imagination. John Donne writes in one of his Holy Sonnets: “One Short sleep past, we wake eternally” (iii) Literature is permanent: The third quality of literature is its permanence. In other words, literature lasts long. The Mahabharata andThe Ramayana are ancient Sanskrit epics. They are still popular. They are still relevant. (iv) Universal Interest: Literature is read because of its universal interest; it defies boundary; it knows no nationality, nor any bounds save those of humanity .It is chiefly concerned with elementary ... ... middle of paper ... fully formed in Ulysses (1922). More philosophically, he came to feel that time and space are artificial, and that all is related, and that art should be a symbol of that relationship Works Cited Abrams ,M.H. A Glossary of Literary terms. New York and New Delhi: Macmillan, 2004. Abrams, M.H. and G.G.Harpham. A Handbook of Literary Terms. New Delhi: Cengage Learning, 2009. Evans, Sir Ifor. A short History of English Literature. London: ELBS& Penguin Books, 1966. Hudson, W H. An Outline History of English Literature .Delhi: AITBS ,2003. Long, William J. English Literature : Its History and its significance for the life of the English speaking world. Delhi: A.I .T.B.S. publishers and distributors, 2003. Kumar, Sukrita Paul( ed ) . Cultural Diversity, Linguistic plurality and Literary Traditions in India. New Delhi: MacMillan, 2005.
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