the power of literature

By: streetdiscrete

Mar 29 2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized

3 Comments

Aperture:f/2.6
Focal Length:5.8mm
ISO:200
Shutter:1/100 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot A590 IS

I am an English major and this stack of books pretty much tells you why. Literature challenges how we think both as individuals and as a collective. Words, their intricate composition, and their embedded meaning, hold the potential to open up our minds. Literature is like the millions of conversations we have everyday only refined, into something more focused and permanent. If you’ve ever written a story, a poem, an academic paper or even a blog post you know the feeling of slaving over language, trying to find that perfect moment where the words just feel right. Imagine the authors of all these texts, editing and re-editing or composing on the fly. Think about the care and intention that went into these works of literature, the great possibilities of meaning existing within each text. Literature, texts, the written or composed word is the greatest medium through which to explore…or at least, that’s my thinking.

The idea isn’t to get lost in books or language, instead its to see how texts inform our existence, how they reaffirm or posit against our perceived realities. Novels are texts, poems are texts, essays and articles are texts. But so are songs, and movies, paintings, commercials; they are all texts, imbued with knowledge and the capacity for meaning-making. Studying literature teaches me how to read these texts, how to derive meaning from experience, how to see the grand narratives at play. Life itself is a field of conflated, tentative, vaporous texts just begging to be read. And that’s just what I’m trying to do.

“America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.”

-excerpt from “America” by Allen Ginsberg

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3 comments on “the power of literature”

  1. I am an English Major too ( literature at that) LOL – I love this picture and the post!!! I really love your quote “Studying literature teaches me how to read these texts, how to derive meaning from experience, how to see the grand narratives at play. Life itself is a field of conflated, tentative, vaporous texts just begging to be read. And that’s just what I’m trying to do.” SO TRUE !!!!


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