Literally Means Acquaintance With Letters (Cory, 1999) Essay

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¶ … literally means acquaintance with letters (Cory, 1999), which includes fiction and non-fiction, works. To me when I think of literature, I generally think of fiction, and works written by masters of old.

'Literature' has a pleasant taste in my mouth. I say my mouth, for already my mouth waters when I think of the abundance of restful and pleasurable hours that I have spent climbing up on the roof of an apartment hunched over a book, looking up, and seeing the mountains or the hills in the distance, and then, grudgingly, back to the book again. Literature reminds me of Trollope, and Thackery, and Dickens, and - pleasurable to a different degree, but in a different manner - the vast expense of detective genre, foremost to mind, Agatha Christie. Literature is vast. It transports me into the harsh winter climate of a Russian jail, or the deprivation of a Dickens jail, or the famine of the Bastille -- and, either way, in a trice, I experience different prison climates. or, it can transport myself back to the swashbuckling era of the French revolution in the Three Musketeers, or to the Civil War in Daphne Du Maurier's 'Jamaica Inn' or cross the globe again -- would I want peace -- to Austin's trailing British meadows. Here, I have transitorily pitched on three different countries in one go, all in a cost- and time-economical manner, and I have selected my experiences.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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I find that I tend to incline towards Russian literature, particularly to Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky for their psychological insights, British literature -- specifically of the Victorian period (here primarily Hardy, Dickens, Austin, Bronte (all of the sisters)), Elliot, Trollope, Thackerey, James) for their moral content and the style of their words, French literature (particularly Victor Hugo and Sartre (and Camus)), American literature (primarily, O'Cather, and Du Maurier) for its pioneering, swashbuckling cadence, and German literature (solely Goethe; I was fascinated by his autobiography). I like some Spanish literature, too, and Brazilian -- these have inspired philosophical stimulations; as well as Japanese and Asian that have had a ditto effect on me.

What is amazing, I discover, is that each country's literature reflects the essence of the country, supporting, perhaps, the assertion of those who divide people and country into races. There is a distinct characteristic of a certain country that persists throughout the generations.

This attribute, to, can change through the years. British literature, for instance, has modified itself strongly due to its specific age. Beowulf has a quite different cadence to Robin Hood and then to 'The Mysteries of Udolpho' and then to Gulliver Twist and then to Well's 'The war of the Worlds', or to Burgess' dystopian novel, 'A Clockwork Orange.' Each would be unable to recognize the other. Reflecting on this, I quite understand Habermas' argument that one cannot criticize literature from the contemporary standpoint, since one lives in -- and, therefore, perceives constructs -- from an utterly different mindset and different furniture of experiences. Perhaps, the closest one can come to criticizing literature of a particular epoch is to totally and scholastically immerse oneself within that period. and, nonetheless, even by doing so, one can never understand truly what the author himself has experienced. To that end, the best one can reap from one's reading is a certain flash and insight, never the 100% authentic picture.

Literature can also mean poetry, and here I enter a different sphere. I find poetry sometimes tedious, other times glorifying. I suppose, it depends on the subject. When I seek moral support, I find that poetry helps me… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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