Monday, 5 August 2013

About Literature

The word literature comes from the Latin word 'litterae'.  

It literally means 'things made from letters'.

Just as with things made of bricks, or of clay, paint or notes, the result can be just a useful tool, craft... or art.

Nowadays we speak of literature when a work of fiction reaches a higher or deeper level. 

For reading a book is not the same as reading literature: the latter is an experience. 

The message might no longer be explicitly told or explained, but slips in between the words and leaves you in a state of mind you have not experienced before. 
 A great novel is as the 'Mona Lisa': you read it once, and it can forever haunt you. If it makes a great impression, it is impossible to forget throughout your whole life, and even becomes one of its corner stones.
A very good book can be so unforgettable because:

1. It sets the imagination and senses to work. Unlike watching a movie, which is sitting back and letting someone elses imagination or direction wash over you, reading is an activity. It pushes all buttons of personal imagination, senses, memories, comparisons, longings and dreams. And thus intrusive.

2. Whereas a movie lasts around 2 hours, many a novel is a companion for days, if not weeks on end. Words, sentences, thoughts or ambiance keep lingering all throughout the day... you can call it a holiday, simultaneously with your day to day life.

Any word of fiction can teach you something. Great literature though opens one new eye after the other, enabling you to look at things from all possible sides, from the outside as well as the inside, from all possible characters and personalities. 

Literature makes a human mild

From fully ego-centric, we slowly move towards human-centric; instead of zooming in into a highly personal feel, we pan out, forever further away, until we are almost looking from the moon at humanity as a whole. 

Literature provides us with new levels of understanding. 

It can sooth and comfort, teach or open eyes, be a companion or make us feel understood, provide us with new insights or suddenly make us understand behaviour that always was a mystery to us.

Literature is a door towards our own depth... and that of all humans around us.


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