Literature is the imaginative manipulation of perspective…

Just wanted to paste this blurb into my blog, so that I can throw away the piece of paper I’d been keeping.  It’s much easier to keep track of information on this blog than in my paper files (what a mess).  It comes from the College of DuPage department of English and Composition.

What is literature?

Literature is the imaginative manipulation of perspective so that readers can make sense of the world that is both familiar and foreign. It brings us into contact with that world by telling stories, dramatizing situations, expressing emotions, and analyzing or advocating ideas. Either in written, oral, or visual form, literature challenges readers to identify, examine, question, learn, and reconcile values most precious to our sense of self and culture. Ultimately, literature is a celebration, a testament to the creative accomplishments of all peoples.

We study literature because:

  1. It helps us grow, both personally and intellectually;
  2. It provides an objective base for knowledge and understanding;
  3. It links us with the broader cultural, philosophic, and religious world of which we are a part;
  4. It enables us to transcend our immediate time, place and culture and to make connections with other human beings and their concerns;
  5. It encourages us to develop mature empathy with all forms of life -human, animal, and vegetable;
  6. It expands our appreciation for the beauty of form as well as increases our sense of beauty in the world;
  7. It sharpens our sense of moral and aesthetic judgment;
  8. It stimulates our imagination and creativity;
  9. It demonstrates the importance of irony, ambiguity, and obliqueness;
  10. It heightens the power of the language;
  11. It makes us emotionally and mentally sophisticated human beings;
  12. It teaches us to articulate and defend our point of view;
  13. It increases our writing ability;
  14. It creates open-mindedness;
  15. It helps us to accept and manage conflicting points of view;
  16. It promotes problem-solving and analytical skills;
  17. It prepares us to become decent human beings;
  18. It can allow us to escape from our own concerns;
  19. It permits us to see the world with new eyes;
  20. It reminds us that we are not alone.

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