To understand as to why we should read Literature effectively it is necessary that we delve into the evolutionary aspect of literature, if not in detail at least in it\’s brevity. Though from the nascent stages of human evolution, the man\’s quest for gaining an insight into the arts and culture was prevalent, the main thrust upon this quest had got substantially triggered off with the advent of the Renaissance period of europe. P This instinctive quest was basically propelled by the man\’s curiosity to understand the causal factors responsible for the individuality and the uniqueness among the the sections of human beings. If we take a look at the vedic period wich has its roots in the East, this quest presumably had germinated much earlier to many of the other cultures the world wide. P The Vedas segmented into Upanishads [i. e. vedic treatises dealing with the broad philosophical concepts and problems] had their basic focus upon the necessity of socialization of the human beings, by debating issues pertaining to moral, evil and of good, necessary for peaceful and hormonious co-existence. Similarly when we take a look at the western culture, we find that literature was dominated by the religion with church prevailing at the helm of the human affairs.
P With the advent of the Renissance period the quest had got highly accentuated by the humanist concepts and socialization. The field of literature had foused its attention mainly on History and politics. At this juncture it would be more appropriate to take a look at the master piece of Spencer\’s \”The FAERIE QUEEN\”P produced during the Renaissance period. P The first book personifies the Holiness, the second one Temperance, the third one Chastity, the fourth one Friendship the fifth one Justice and the sixth one Curtesy. Now if we take a look at the cardinal virtues we have seven of themP 1. Justice 2. Prudence 3. Temperance 4. Fortitude 5. Faith 6. hope and 7. Charity. It is well settled that if we keep all these virtues which when instilled among the people would lead to proper socialization and socially hormonious co-existence. But if we keep these in mind and launch a search for them no science or no other art would be as complete and useful as the art of literature. The different generes of literature in the form of poetry, prose,drama or any other form of literature are the manifestations of this good social order.
P As Mahatma gandhi had observed that of all the arts that a man tries and learns to cultivate perhaps the most difficult art of accomplishment is the art of living. P It consists in true understanding of the life and so regulating ones conduct to reach that goal nearer and nearer everyday. P Let us learn that art and that literature which speaks to millions and millions of people, it is justified that literature is the main source usefull to learn the art of living.
Literature is part of our cultural heritage which is freely available to everyone, and which can enrich our lives in all kinds of ways. Once we have broken the barriers that make studying literature seem daunting, we find that literary works can be entertaining, beautiful, funny, or tragic. They can convey profundity of thought, richness of emotion, and insight into character. They take us beyond our limited experience of life to show us the lives of other people at other times. They stir us intellectually and emotionally, and deepen our understanding of our history, our society, and our own individual lives. In great writing from the past we find the England of our ancestors, and we not only see the country and the people as they were, but we also soak up the climate of the times through the language itself, its vocabulary, grammar, and tone.
We would only have to consider the writing of, Boswell, and side by side to see how the way writers use language embodies the cultural atmosphere of their time. Literature can also give us glimpses of much earlier ages. Glimpses of Celtic Ireland in the poetry of, or of the Romans in Shakespeares plays, for example, can take us in our imaginations back to the roots of our culture, and the sense of continuity and change we get from surveying our history enhances our understanding of our modern world. Literature can enrich our experience in other ways too. London, for example, is all the more interesting a city when behind what we see today we see the London known to Dickens, Boswell and Johnson, or Shakespeare. And our feeling for nature can be deepened when a landscape calls to mind images from, say, Wordsworth, or Ted Hughes. The world of English literature consists, apart from anything else, of an astonishing array of characters, from the noble to the despicable – representations of people from all walks of life engaged in all kinds of activities.
Through their characters great authors convey their insights into human nature, and we might find that we can better understand people we know if we recognise in them characteristics we have encountered in literature. Perhaps we see that a certain man\’s behaviour resembles that of in Antony and Cleopatra, or a certain woman is rather like The Wife of Bath in \’s Canterbury Tales. Seeing such similarities can help us to understand and accept other people. Good works of literature are not museum pieces, preserved and studied only for historical interest. They last because they remain fresh, transcending as well as embodying the era in which they were written. Each reader reading each work is a new and unique event and the works speak to us now, telling us truths about human life which are relevant to all times. Whether we choose to study it or read it for pleasure, when we look back over our literature we are looking back over incredible richness. Not just museum pieces, but living works which we can buy in bookshops, borrow from the library, or download from the internet and read today, right now.