literature | Definition, Scope, Types, & Facts | dubaiairporthotel.info
(ON READING IN RELATION TO LITERATURE forms chapter I of .. The test of a great book is whether we want to read it only once or more than once. . necessarily take place in the first rank, even as literary productions;. one actual, full-length GRE® Literature in English Test. □ test-taking .. Find a quiet place to take the test and the relation of speech to language, the detour. A literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary literature reviews. The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested.
It is surprising how few critics have declared that the antithesis is unreal, that a work of literary or plastic art is at once constructive and expressive, and that it must in fact be both. Eastern Critical theories of literature in Asian cultureshowever, have been more varied. There is an immense amount of highly technical, critical literature in India.
Some works are recipe books, vast collections of tropes and stylistic devices; others are philosophical and general. In the best period of Indian literaturethe cultural climax of Sanskrit c. There are no long epic poems in Chinese, no verse novels of the sort written in England by Robert Browning or Alfred Lord Tennyson in the 19th century.
In Chinese drama, apart from a very few of the songs, the verse as such is considered doggerel. The versified treatises on astronomy, agriculture, or fishing, of the sort written in Greek and Roman times and during the 18th century in the West, are almost unknown in East Asia. Chinese poetry is almost exclusively lyric, meditative, and elegiac, and rarely does any poem exceed lines—most are little longer than Western sonnets; many are only quatrains. In Japan this tendency to limit length was carried even further.
From the 17th century and onward, the most popular poetic form was the haikuwhich has only 17 syllables. This development is relevant to the West because it spotlights the ever-increasing emphasis which has been laid on intensity of communication, a characteristic of Western poetry and of literature generally as it has evolved since the late 19th century.
In East Asia all cultivated people were supposed to be able to write suitable occasional poetry, and so those qualities that distinguished a poem from the mass consequently came to be valued above all others. Literary language In some literatures notably classical Chinese, Old Norse, Old Irishthe language employed is quite different from that spoken or used in ordinary writing. This marks off the reading of literature as a special experience.
BBC Bitesize - GCSE English Literature - Comparing poems - Revision 3
In the Western tradition, it is only in comparatively modern times that literature has been written in the common speech of cultivated men. The Elizabethans did not talk like Shakespeare nor 18th-century people in the stately prose of Samuel Johnson or Edward Gibbon the so-called Augustan plain style in literature became popular in the late 17th century and flourished throughout the 18th, but it was really a special form of rhetoric with antecedent models in Greek and Latin. The first person to write major works of literature in the ordinary English language of the educated man was Daniel Defoe ?
Robinson Crusoe is much more contemporary in tone than the elaborate prose of 19th-century writers like Thomas De Quincey or Walter Pater. Ambiguity Other writers have sought to use language for its most subtle and complex effects and have deliberately cultivated the ambiguity inherent in the multiple or shaded meanings of words. Eliot in his literary essays is usually considered the founder of this movement. Actually, the platform of his critical attitudes is largely moralbut his two disciplesI.
The basic document of the movement is C. Only a generation later, however, their ideas were somewhat at a discount. However, ambiguity remained a principal shaping tool for the writer and a primary focus in literary criticism. Translation Certainly, William Blake or Thomas Campionwhen they were writing their simple lyrics, were unaware of the ambiguities and multiple meanings that future critics would find in them.
Nevertheless, language is complex. Words do have overtones; they do stir up complicated reverberations in the mind that are ignored in their dictionary definitions. Great stylists, and most especially great poets, work with at least a half-conscious, or subliminal, awareness of the infinite potentialities of language. This is one reason why the essence of most poetry and great prose is so resistant to translation quite apart from the radically different sound patterns that are created in other-language versions.
The translator must project himself into the mind of the original author; he must transport himself into an entirely different world of relationships between sounds and meanings, and at the same time he must establish an equivalence between one infinitely complex system and another.
Since no two languages are truly equivalent in anything except the simplest terms, this is a most difficult accomplishment. Certain writers are exceptionally difficult to translate. There are no satisfactory English versions, for example, of the Latin of Catullusthe French of Baudelairethe Russian of Pushkinor of the majority of Persian and Arabic poetry. On the other hand, the Germans insist that Shakespeare is better in German than he is in English, a humorous exaggeration perhaps.
But again, Shakespeare is resistant to translation into French. His English seems to lack equivalents in that language. The very greatest translations may become classics in their own right, of enduring literary excellence the King James Version of the Bibleappearing inis an outstanding examplebut on the whole the approximate equivalence of most translations to their originals seems to have a very short life.
The original work remains the same, of lasting value to its own people, but the translation becomes out of date with each succeeding generation as the language and criteria of literary taste change. Nothing demonstrates the complexity of literary language more vividly. Yet the values of great literature are more fundamental than complexity and subtleties of meaning arising from language alone.
Works far removed from contemporary man in time and in cultural background, composed in a variety of languages utterly different from one another in structure, have nevertheless been translated successfully enough to be deeply moving. The 20th century witnessed an immense mass of the oral literature of preliterate peoples and of the writings of all the great civilizations translated into modern languages. Translations of these literatures often distorted the original stories and, at best, captured only their essence.
However, without these translations, such stories would most likely be forever lost. The craft of literature, indeed, can be said to be in part the manipulation of a structure in time, and so the simplest element of marking time, rhythmis therefore of basic importance in both poetry and prose. Prosody, which is the science of versification, has for its subject the materials of poetry and is concerned almost entirely with the laws of metreor rhythm in the narrowest sense. It deals with the patterning of sound in time; the number, length, accentand pitch of syllables; and the modifications of rhythm by vowels and consonants.
In most poetry, certain basic rhythms are repeated with modifications that is to say, the poem rhymes or scans or both but not in all. Since lyric poetry is either the actual text of song or else is immediately derived from song, it is regular in structure nearly everywhere in the world, although the elements of patterning that go into producing its rhythm may vary. The most important of these elements in English poetry, for example, have been accent, grouping of syllables called feetnumber of syllables in the line, and rhyme at the end of a line and sometimes within it.
Other elements such as pitch, resonancerepetition of vowels assonancerepetition of consonants alliterationand breath pauses cadence have also been of great importance in distinguishing successful poetry from doggerel verse, but on the whole they are not as important as the former, and poets have not always been fully conscious of their use of them.
The rhythms of prose are more complicated, though not necessarily more complex, than those of poetry. The rules of prose patterning are less fixed; patterns evolve and shift indefinitely and are seldom repeated except for special emphasis.
So the analysis of prose rhythm is more difficult to make than, at least, the superficial analysis of poetry. Structure The craft of writing involves more than mere rules of prosody. First, the literary situation has to be established. The reader must be directly related to the work, placed in it—given enough information on who, what, when, or why—so that his attention is caught and held or, on the other hand, he must be deliberately mystified, to the same end.
Aristotle gave a formula for dramatic structure that can be generalized to apply to most literature: Nevertheless, the scheme does provide a norm from which there is infinite variation.
Neoclassical dramatists and critics, especially in 17th-century France, derived from Aristotle what they called the unities of time, action, and place. This meant that the action of a play should not spread beyond the events of one day and, best of all, should be confined within the actual time of performance.
Nor should the action move about too much from place to place—best only to go from indoors to outdoors and back. There should be only one plot line, which might be relieved by a subplot, usually comic. These three unities—of time, place, and action—do not occur in Aristotle and are certainly not observed in Classical Greek tragedy. They are an invention of Renaissance critics, some of whom went even further, insisting also on what might be called a unity of mood.
Great early novels such as the Chinese Dream of the Red Chamber ; first published in English and the Japanese Tale of Genji early 11th century usually develop organically rather than according to geometrical formulas, one incident or image spinning off another.
The 19th century was the golden age of the noveland most of the more famous examples of the form were systematically plotted, even where the plot structure simply traced the growth in personality of an individual hero or heroine. The latter 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed an attack on old forms, but what the new writers evolved was simply a new architecture. Novelists such as Joseph ConradFord Madox FordVirginia Woolfand, in his later period, Henry James developed a multiple-aspect narrative, sometimes by using time shifts and flashbacks and by writing from different points of view, sometimes by using the device dating back to Classical Greek romances of having one or more narrators as characters within the story.
This technique, which was first perfected in the verse novels of Robert Browningin fact reached its most extreme development in the English language in poetry: Content of literature The word as symbol The content of literature is as limitless as the desire of human beings to communicate with one another.
The thousands of years, perhaps hundreds of thousands, since the human species first developed speech have seen built up the almost infinite systems of relationships called languages. A language is not just a collection of words in an unabridged dictionary but the individual and social possession of living human beings, an inexhaustible system of equivalents, of sounds to objects and to one another. Its most primitive elements are those words that express direct experiences of objective reality, and its most sophisticated are concepts on a high level of abstraction.
Words are not only equivalent to things, they have varying degrees of equivalence to one another. Eventually a language comes to be, among other things, a huge sea of implicit metaphorsan endless web of interrelated symbols.
As literature, especially poetry, grows more and more sophisticated, it begins to manipulate this field of suspended metaphors as a material in itself, often as an end in itself. Thus, there emerge forms of poetry and prose, too with endless ramifications of reference, as in Japanese waka and haiku, some ancient Irish and Norse verse, and much of the poetry written in western Europe since the time of Baudelaire that is called modernist.
Themes and their sources By the time literature appears in the development of a culturethe society has already come to share a whole system of stereotypes and archetypes: Literature may use such symbols directly, but all great works of literary art are, as it were, original and unique myths.
The subject matter of literature is as wide as human experience itself. Myths, legendsand folktales lie at the beginning of literature, and their plots, situations, and allegorical metaphorical narrative judgments of life represent a constant source of literary inspiration that never fails. This is so because mankind is constant—people share a common physiology. Even social structures, after the development of cities, remain much alike. Whole civilizations have a life pattern that repeats itself through history.
Egyptian scribes, Japanese bureaucratsand junior executives in New York City live and respond to life in the same ways; the lives of farmers or miners or hunters vary only within narrow limits. However, progression of time may still be an important factor in a thematic review.
The only difference here between a "chronological" and a "thematic" approach is what is emphasized the most: Note however that more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order.
A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods within each section according to the point made. Methodological A methodological approach focuses on the methods utilized by the researcher. For the Interbnet in American presidential politics project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of American presidents on American, British, and French websites.
Or the review might focus on the fundraising impact of the Internet on a particular political party. A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed.
Other Sections of Your Literature Review Once you've decided on the organizational method for your literature review, the sections you need to include in the paper should be easy to figure out because they arise from your organizational strategy. In other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period; a thematic review would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue.
However, sometimes you may need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you but include only what is necessary for the reader to locate your study within the larger scholarship framework.
Here are examples of other sections you may need to include depending on the type of review you write: For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals. Questions for Further Research: What questions about the field has the review sparked? How will you further your research as a result of the review?
Writing Your Literature Review Once you've settled on how to organize your literature review, you're ready to write each section. When writing your review, keep in mind these issues. Use Evidence A literature review in this sense is just like any other academic research paper.
Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence to show that what you are saying is valid.
- Comparing poems
Be Selective Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the research problem, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological. Use Quotes Sparingly Some short quotes are okay if you want to emphasize a point, or if what the author said just cannot be rewritten in your own words.
Sometimes you may need to quote certain terms that were coined by the author, not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. Do not use extensive quotes as a substitute your own summary and interpretation of the literature. Summarize and Synthesize Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each paragraph as well as throughout the review.
Recapitulate important features of a research study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study's significance and relating it to their own work. Keep Your Own Voice While the literature review presents others' ideas, your voice the writer's should remain front and center. For example, weave references to other sources into what you are writing but maintain your own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with your own ideas and wording.
Use Caution When Paraphrasing When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author's information or opinions accurately and in your own words. Common Mistakes to Avoid The most common mistakes made in reviewing social science research literature are that the researcher: Thinking interdisciplinarily about a research problem can be a rewarding exercise in applying new ideas, theories, or concepts to an old problem.
For example, what might cultural anthropologists say about the continuing conflict in the Middle East? In what ways might geographers view the need for better distribution of social service agencies in large cities than how social workers might study the issue? However, particularly in the social sciences, thinking about research problems from multiple vectors is a key strategy for finding new solutions. Consult with a librarian about identifying research databases in other disciplines; almost every discipline has at least one comprehensive database devoted to indexing its research literature.
While conducting a review of the literature, maximize the time you devote to this part of writing a research paper by thinking broadly about what you should be looking for and evaluating. Review not just what scholars are saying, but how are they saying it. How are they structuring their ideas? But when we read a story or a poem out of class-hour, we read for amusement. Amusement and study are two different things.
As a matter of fact, every book worth reading ought to be read in precisely the same way that a scientific book is read—not simply for amusement; and every book worth reading should have the same amount of value in it that a scientific book has, though the value may be of a totally different kind. For, after all, the good book of fiction or romance or poetry is a scientific work; it has been composed according to the best principles of more than one science, but especially according to the principles of the great science of life, the knowledge of human nature.
In regard to foreign books, this is especially true; but the advice suggested will be harder to follow when we read in a language which is not our own. Nevertheless, how many Englishmen do you suppose really read a good book in English? Probably not more than one in two thousand of those who think that they read. What is more, although there are now published every year in London upwards of six thousand books, at no time has there been so little good reading done by the average public as to-day.
Books are written, sold, and read after a fashion—or rather according to the fashion. There is a fashion in literature as well as in everything else; and a particular kind of amusement being desired by the public, a particular kind of reading is given to supply the demand.
So useless have become to this public the arts and graces of real literature, the great thoughts which should belong to a great book, that men of letters have almost ceased to produce true literature. When a man can obtain a great deal of money by writing a book without style or beauty, a mere narrative to amuse, and knows at the same time that if he should give three, five, or ten years to the production of a really good book, he would probably starve to death, he is forced to be untrue to the higher duties of his profession.
Men happily situated in regard to money matters might possibly attempt something great from time to time; but they can hardly get a hearing. Taste has so much deteriorated within the past few years, that, as I told you before, style has practically disappeared—and style means thinking. And this state of things in England has been largely brought about by bad habits of reading, by not knowing how to read.
For the first thing which a scholar should bear in mind is that a book ought not to be read for mere amusement.
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Half-educated persons read for amusement, and are not to be blamed for it; they are incapable of appreciating the deeper qualities that belong to a really great literature.
But a young man who has passed through a course of university training should discipline himself at an early day never to read for mere amusement. And once the habit of the discipline has been formed, he will even find it impossible to read for mere amusement. He will then impatiently throw down any book from which he cannot obtain intellectual food, any book which does not make an appeal to the higher emotions and to his intellect.
But on the other hand, the habit of reading for amusement becomes with thousands of people exactly the same kind of habit as wine-drinking or opium-smoking; it is like a narcotic, something that helps to pass the time, something that keeps up a perpetual condition of dreaming, something that eventually results in destroying all capacity for thought, giving exercise only to the surface parts of the mind, and leaving the deeper springs of feeling and the higher faculties of perception unemployed.
On Reading in Relation to Literature
Let us simply state what the facts are about this kind of reading. A young clerk, for example, reads every day on the way to his office and on the way back, just to pass the time; and what does he read? A novel, of course; it is very easy work, and it enables him to forget his troubles for a moment, to dull his mind to all the little worries of his daily routine.
In one day or two days he finishes the novel; then he gets another. He reads quickly in these days. By the end of the year he has read between a hundred and fifty and two hundred novels; no matter how poor he is, this luxury is possible to him, because of the institution of circulating libraries. At the end of a few years he has read several thousand novels.
Does he like them? No; he will tell you that they are nearly all the same, but they help him to pass away his idle time; they have become a necessity for him; he would be very unhappy if he could not continue this sort of reading.
It is utterly impossible that the result can be anything but a stupefying of the faculties. He cannot even remember the names of twenty or thirty books out of thousands; much less does he remember what they contain.
The result of all this reading means nothing but a cloudiness in his mind. That is the direct result. The indirect result is that the mind has been kept from developing itself.
All development necessarily means some pain; and such reading as I speak of has been employed unconsciously as a means to avoid that pain, and the consequence is atrophy.
Of course this is an extreme case; but it is the ultimate outcome of reading for amusement whenever such amusement becomes a habit, and when there are means close at hand to gratify the habit. At present in Japan there is little danger of this state of things; but I use the illustration for the sake of its ethical warning. This does not mean that there is any sort of good literature which should be shunned.
A good novel is just as good reading as even the greatest philosopher can possibly wish for. The whole matter depends upon the way of reading, even more than upon the nature of what is read. Perhaps it is too much to say, as has often been said, that there is no book which has nothing good in it; it is better simply to state that the good of a book depends incomparably more for its influence upon the habits of the reader than upon the art of the writer, no matter how great that writer may be.
In a previous lecture I tried to call your attention to the superiority of the child's methods of observation to those of the man; and the same fact may be noticed in regard to the child's method of reading. Certainly the child can read only very simple things; but he reads most thoroughly; and he thinks and thinks untiringly about what he reads; one little fairy tale will give him mental occupation for a month after he has read it.
All the energies of his little fancy are exhausted upon the tale; and if his parents be wise, they do not allow him to read a second tale, until the pleasure of the first, and its imaginative effect, has begun to die away. Later habits, habits which I shall venture to call bad, soon destroy the child's power of really attentive reading. But let us now take the case of a professional reader, a scientific reader; and we shall observe the same power, developed of course to an enormous degree.
In the office of a great publishing house which I used to visit, there are received every year sixteen thousand manuscripts. All these must be looked at and judged; and such work in all publishing houses is performed by what are called professional readers. The professional reader must be a scholar, and a man of very uncommon capacity. Out of a thousand manuscripts he will read perhaps not more than one; out of two thousand he may possibly read three.
The others he simply looks at for a few seconds—one glance is enough for him to decide whether the manuscript is worth reading or not. The shape of a single sentence will tell him that, from the literary point of view. As regards subject, even the title is enough for him to judge, in a large number of cases. Some manuscripts may receive a minute or even five minutes of his attention; very few receive a longer consideration.
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Out of sixteen thousand, we may suppose that sixteen are finally selected for judgment. He reads these from beginning to end. Having read them, he decides that only eight can be further considered.
The eight are read a second time, much more carefully. At the close of the second examination the number is perhaps reduced to seven. These seven are destined for a third reading; but the professional reader knows better than to read them immediately. He leaves them locked up in a drawer, and passes a whole week without looking at them.
At the end of the week he tries to see whether he can remember distinctly each of these seven manuscripts and their qualities. Very distinctly he remembers three; the remaining four he cannot at once recall. With a little more effort, he is able to remember two more. But two he has utterly forgotten. This is a fatal defect; the work that leaves no impression upon the mind after two readings cannot have real value.
He then takes the manuscripts out of the drawer, condemns two those he could not rememberand re-reads the five. At the third reading everything is judged—subject, execution, thought, literary quality. Three are discovered to be first class; two are accepted by the publishers only as second class. And so the matter ends. Something like this goes on in all great publishing houses; but unfortunately not all literary work is now judged in the same severe way.
It is now judged rather by what the public likes; and the public does not like the best. But you may be sure that in a house such as that of the Cambridge or the Oxford University publishers, the test of a manuscript is very severe indeed; it is there read much more thoroughly than it is likely ever to be read again.
Now this professional reader whom we speak of, with all his knowledge and scholarship and experience, reads the book very much in the same way as the child reads a fairy tale. He has forced his mind to exert all its powers in the same minute way that the child's mind does, to think about everything in the book, in all its bearings, in a hundred different directions.
It is not true that a child is a bad reader; the habit of bad reading is only formed much later in life, and is always unnatural. The natural and also the scholarly way of reading is the child's way. But it requires what we are apt to lose as we grow up, the golden gift of patience; and without patience nothing, not even reading, can be well done.
Important then as careful reading is, you can readily perceive that it should not be wasted. The powers of a well-trained and highly educated mind ought not to be expended upon any common book. By common I mean cheap and useless literature. Nothing is so essential to self-training as the proper choice of books to read; and nothing is so universally neglected.
It is not even right that a person of ability should waste his time in "finding out" what to read. He can easily obtain a very correct idea of the limits of the best in all departments of literature, and keep to that best. Of course, if he has to become a specialist, a critic, a professional reader, he will have to read what is bad as well as what is good, and will be able to save himself from much torment only by an exceedingly rapid exercise of judgment, formed by experience.
Imagine, for example, the reading that must have been done, and thoroughly done, by such a critic as Professor Saintsbury. Leaving out of the question all his university training, and his mastery of Greek and Latin classics, which is no small reading to begin with, he must have read some five thousand books in the English of all centuries—learned thoroughly everything that was in them, the history of each one, and the history of its author, whenever that was accessible.
He must also have mastered thoroughly the social and political history relating to all this mass of literature. But this is still less than half his work. For, being an authority upon two literatures, his study of French, both old and new French, must have been even more extensive than his study of English.
And all his work had to be read as a master reads; there was little more amusement in the whole from beginning to end. The only pleasure could be in results; but these results are very great.