Reading, writing, comprehension, analysis, and interpretation increase efficiency in multiple ways including communication, documentation in other areas of study, and reflection of personal values. I think teaching literature to college students I have this job too is an opportunity to help them develop one more tool for living a better life; because it is fun, and because reading makes us better people for a million, complex reasons. Although over eighty years would pass between the publication of The Columbian Orator and the first course in American Literature at Dartmouth, members of the College would spend the intervening decades pushing the Classical envelope. For the next forty years, American Literary historians would shun the comprehensive survey to treat the history of particular themes the American Adam , forms American poetry , periods the American Renaissance , and places the American West. Yet being deeper and more self-aware requires certain virtues, in particular, a sense of respect and humility.
Why is the study of literature important? A British literature course will help you trace the origins of some of the most common phrases and colloquialisms in the English language. Writing, however, carries a grave importance, as literature simply would not exist in the accessible form it does without written word, and for that reason I believe all who can write should. Johnson did so much to rescue from unearned contempt. In a day of mindless leisure pursuits, literature stands out by engaging our mind. Earliest of all these Cox appointments, of course, is Blanche Gelfant, Robert E. Again, this is important not only because you pick up specific facts about specific countries-- it's probably impossible to learn everything you will ever need to know about every country you will ever need to deal with-- but as a general practice. An English major must also strive to understand and interpret the importance that various forms of literature have had on the society of the past and the present.
An entire culture exists in the written word, documenting the collective thoughts of everyone who cared to share them with the world. Orwell wanted us to think about that so we did not make the same mistakes in government today, but unfortunately we still do. I enjoy the chance to share my thoughts on topics that hound others as well as myself. I always tell my composition students that reading novels, poetry, essays, and articles will increase their understanding of writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, and sentence structure, all of which will increase their grades in a composition course. Scott Fitzgerald: Catcher in the Rye: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson: Some of these are available from gutenberg.
Therefore, I believe that for one to truly be a part of human society, it is critical that one take part in the evolution and self-realization that is literature, even if only in the reading aspect. To read Literature is to travel backwards through time, to see how things were, and how people who feel so far away are just like us. I love examining how words, sentences, characters, plot-lines and tropes reveal who we are as humans. Because the sheer volume of British literature from the modern period is so overwhelming, most course instructors will limit the works studied to a single author or to one of the major literary movements, such as the Renaissance or Victorian era. To some, reading involves just looking at individual words and processing them. At the College that Barlow's Columbus sees from his hill, no one is studying or teaching American Literature. A literature review must be defined by a guiding concept and should not be a list of all the material that you can find Porter, S.
This sort of bridges all three of my items above, as it means that effectively communicating with others requires making an effort to understand the likely perspectives of your audience, and that in turn requires knowing something about their context. Latin and Greek remain essential languages for understanding the Catholic Bible and the writings of the Church Fathers. By the time Chase appeared on the scene, criticism was in the saddle, and one could no longer explain literature in terms of the historical circumstances that produced it. Literature is essentially the art or written works, whether those works are fiction imaginary or non-fiction factual. These forms are then broken down into even more styles, including historical fiction, biographies, fables, epics, fantasy stories, and so many more. Perhaps that should be a requirement for liberal arts majors.
As a result, although some things are obviously of greater importance than others, everything in our own experience has significance, and our attempt to discern that significance -- as well as we can -- is part of our calling as God's servants. This then translates into being able to understand existing and potential problems and solutions. For the reasons already given: leading vicarious lives, coming to know ourselves better, learning about the world and ideas and how to be a better human being. I frequently have students who come to me complaining that they couldn't find anything in the literature that was related to their topic. There are many other benefits. That must be why literature can appear in a multitude of forms: be it poetry or prose, the sonnet or the novel, the sestina or the short story, etc. When we do this, we have the opportunity for discovering pride in our community and culture, for gaining respect for anothers, and for learning humility as we interact across cultures.
To do that, it's essential to know something about how the world works and how it got the way it is. Literature reflects human ideas, beliefs, and societies. The term for the study of Greek and Roman literature is the Classics. British literature is some of the most famous and fascinating literature ever written. Lots of scholars of arts and literature have written at great length about why the study of art and literature and history and philosophy and all the rest matters even in our modern, technological, consumerist age.
I mean the American publication of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Aids to Reflection, with a 'Preliminary Essay' by James Marsh. Literature reviews provide important background information and details about a specific research topic. We know of hardships during the Great Depression because of works such as Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. You'll need to work with, for, and sometimes around these people, and understanding how they look at the world can be enormously helpful to this process. With Robert Spiller, Willard Thorp, and Henry Seidel Canby, Johnson edited the second collaborative history of American literature, the 1948 Literary History of the United States and also compiled its Bibliography, generally considered the most useful section of the book. Most of all, my goal is to learn as much as I can about the human condition, and what it really means to be human, in all aspects.