Value Of Literary Studies Essay Research Paper

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Value Of Literary Studies Essay, Research Paper VALUE OF LITERARY STUDIES Literature is a body of written works, wherein the name is often applied to those imaginative works of poetry and prose distinguished by the intentions of their authors and the excellence of their execution. Literature may be classified according to a variety of systems, including language, national origin, historical period, genre, and subject matter. The current meaning generally attached to the term literature–a body of writing by a people or by peoples using the same language is a relatively modern one. The term itself, derived from the Latin word littera (”letter of the alphabet”; litterae, “letters”), is ancient enough; but in ancient times literature tended to be considered separately

in terms of kinds of writing, or genres as they came to be called in the 18th century when the term literature took on its modern meaning. In preliterate societies oral literature was widely shared; it saturated the society and was as much a part of living as food, clothing, shelter, or religion. In barbaric societies, the minstrel might be a courtier of the king or chieftain, and the poet who composed liturgies might be a priest. But the oral performance itself was accessible to the whole community. As society evolved its various social layers, or classes, an “elite” literature began to be distinguishable from the “folk” literature of the people. With the invention of writing this separation was accelerated until finally literature was being experienced individually by

the elite (reading a book), while folklore and folk song were experienced orally and more or less collectively by the illiterate common people. From this alone, it is already evident that a class-divided society did exist during those times, in the context of Eagleton’s observations of literature as an ideology. For me, Literature brought about some semblance of order in the midst of possible chaos, which was starting to ensue between the working class (masses) and the dominant elite class, by impressing on them some sense of decency and civility, and thus pacifying them in the process so as they would not rise in arms and engage in a disruptive and violent political revolution against the dominant class. I think that somehow, through the use of literature, the masses in a way

emulated the dominant elite class of their decency, refinement, and culture since it was the latter’s kind of literature in the first place. As a consequence of that, the masses didn’t find the need to rise in arms nor to engage in a violent revolution against the elite anymore. Again, it was because of the influence brought about by literature, which in turn brought some sense of decency into the minds of the masses. And to some extent, the masses were not able to resort to a violent uprising anymore. And also plus the fact that majority of the masses were illiterate if not uneducated to start with, which explains their, in a way, irrational, impulsive, and somewhat “barbaric” behaviour, which would have pushed them to rise up against their masters and engage them in a

violent and bloody revolution. Literature then turned out to be the pacifier of the working class. That once they got hooked to the elite’s kind of literature, they somehow realized that a gory revolution was not the solution to their woes and that there were other ways and means to which they can fight for their rights as human beings. And from the way I understand the text of Eagleton, he is saying that the best way to get to the masses, the best way to prevent the masses from rising up in arms is to get first to the middle class. Arnold recognized this urgency to ‘Hellenize’ or cultivate the middle class during that time by means of exposing them and transfusing into them something of the traditional style of aristocracy, who are already ceasing to be the dominant class