417-222 Introduction


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417-222 Introduction

  1. 1. Ms. Suraiya Sulaiman Western Languages Department
  2. 2. What is literature? Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary: Literature noun [U] 1. pieces of writing that are valued as works of art, esp. novels, plays and poems (in contrast to technical books and newspapers, magazines, etc.) 2. pieces of writing or printed information on a particular subject: I’ve read all the available literature on keeping rabbits.
  3. 3. Literature generally mean those pieces of writing which, despite the passing of the years and even of the centuries, still inspire admiration, reflection and emotion in readers. This does not mean, however, that only older works can be called literature. Today, millions of books are produced, but only some of them are regarded by the critics or the readers as literature. (Delany et al. 2006: p.2-3)
  4. 4. Literature is one of the great creative and universal means of communicating the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual concerns of mankind. Like fine music and art, fine literature is characterized by imagination, meaningfulness of expression, and good forms and techniques. Literature may instruct and inform, entertain, express personal joy or pain, reflect religious devotion, glorify a nation or hero, or advocate a particular point of view whether it be political, social, or aesthetic. (อรนุช ร้อยแก้ว, 2542)
  5. 5. What is poetry? Poetry emerges from the interplay between the meaning of words and their arrangement on paper as the English poet Samuel Coleridge says- ‘poetry is the best words in their best order.’ Poetry comes in all shapes and sizes. However, they share certain characteristics. Imagery, metaphors and symbols, for example, make poetry dense with meaning. Sound features, such as rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, give the language a special musical quality. The standard rules of grammar and syntax are often ignored, so that the language may be used in a striking or original way. (Delany et al. 2006: p.2-3)
  6. 6. Some other definitions of poetry: “Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth, by calling imagination to the help of reason.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) “Poetry is the lava of imagination, whose eruption prevents the earthquake.” Lord Byron (1788-1824)
  7. 7. Why read literature? Perhaps the most important reason for reading literature is because it breaks down our personal barriers. Literature invites us to share in a range of human experiences. It allows us to leave behind our age, sex, family background and economic condition so that we can see the world from the perspective of people who are completely different from us. (Delaney et al., 2006: p.3)
  8. 8. What’s more? Reading literature is enjoyable and entertaining. Many good stories bring us to different times and places. They stir up our emotions and imagination by amusing, frightening, intriguing, consoling, frustrating and challenging us. Literature can be viewed as a source of knowledge and information. We can learn about history, science, politics in a fun way. Literature can be didactic; it can teach us lessons in life. By interpreting the messages conveyed in literature, we can also learn new ways of understanding people’s life. It is also a good source of language learning. Literature provides us with aesthetic values and can be good models of how to master a language.