The Importance of Studying History of English Literature


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The Importance of Studying History of English Literature: A Post-Study Reflection by Tienny Makrus

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The Importance of Studying History of English Literature

  1. 1. The Importance of Studying History of English Literature: A Post-Study Reflection by Tienny Makrus Literature is part of human life that is passed from generation to generation and describesthe culture of a country. If we want to study a language, of course, we must also know the cultureof the country. For English education students, studying English literature is very important. Wemay understand the philosophical movements when studying English literature, different point ofviews gives us a new way of thinking about the world, capable of bringing about differingemotions and general sense through the various types of literature works, understand today’sculture, and increase vocabulary, grammar and writing ability in English. The following willexplain some points why it is important to learn English literature. Firstly, we can find the occurrence of philosophical movements when studying Englishliterature. In great writing from the past we find the England ancestors, and we not only see thecountry and the people as they were, but we also soak up the climate of the times through thelanguage itself, its vocabulary, grammar, and tone. We would only have to consider the writingof Chaucer, Shakespeare, Boswell, Milton, Dickens, and Samuel Beckett side by side to see howthe way writers use language embodies the cultural atmosphere of their time. English literatureallows us to understand the philosophical movements and ideas that permeated a particularculture at a particular time. For example, Mary Shelleys "Frankenstein" shows us theambivalence the British felt toward empiricism.-Tienny Makrus- Page 1
  2. 2. Besides understanding the philosophical movements, English literature gives us a newway of thinking about the world. For example, Jane Austen presents a different writing in herera, because she is interested in the moral, social and psychological behavior of her characters.Mary Wollstonecraft, for instance, presents the idea that women should not be subservient tomen, giving birth to modern feminist theory. Literature works of Sir Walter Scott in circulationsince the eight-tenth century, presents his work with the theme of revolution, historical changesand social and character of all circles in society. Perhaps we see that a certain mans behaviorresembles that of Antony in Antony and Cleopatra through the drama of Shakespeare, or acertain woman is rather like The Wife of Bath in Chaucers Canterbury Tales. Seeing suchsimilarities can help us to understand and accept other people. Therefore, we can find literaryscholars write their literary works with a variety of viewpoints. In addition to presenting the different viewpoints of the literary scholar, we can findEnglish literature is a form of English art. It is capable of bringing about differing emotions and ageneral sense of "spiritual" well-being. Poets William Wordsworth and Percy Shelley writeabout this power of poetry in "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads" and "A Defense of Poetry,"respectively. Shakespeare presents a lot of his work in drama. Then, John Milton presents thegenre of religious and politics poetry after Elizabethan period. In the romantic period, peopleincline to like novels. Thus we know that English art is various depending on the political andsocial situation in each period. When we dip into the rich variety of novels, poems, and plays which constitute Englishliterature, it is possible to understand how contemporary western culture has developed into whatit is today. We are reading works which have lasted for generations, or centuries, and they havelasted because they are good. Well, we dont need to visit a country if we want to learn their-Tienny Makrus- Page 2
  3. 3. culture. London, for example, is all the more interesting a city when behind what we see todaywe see the London known to Dickens, Boswell and Johnson, or Shakespeare. It will save time,money and effort by reading literary works than to visit the country. Finally, studying English literature can increase our knowledge of new words, newphrases, and English lexicon. Literature is also crucial to learning stylistic and artisticconventions for English communication and writing. It does not mean student need to read everyliterary work. There may be times when reading a critic can be more interesting than reading theactual work. Reading the work of a good critic can be edifying in itself. Making the effort toshape our own thoughts into an essay is also an edifying experience, and just as good literaturelasts, so do the personal benefits that we gain from studying and writing about it. In conclusion, studying English literature allows student to develop new ideas and ethicalstandpoints, can be an enriching, eye-opening experience, and help them to describe Englishsociety. Considering the importance of literature, student can also develop their interest to otherliterary works. It will be very interesting if student can learn American literature also, becauseAmerican country is the most advanced country currently, which perhaps student need tounderstand American culture and and learn positive things as well, because by studying literaturewe become “cultured”. (825 words)-Tienny Makrus- Page 3