Flashcards in What is Literature for? Deck (1):
It saves us time. It gives us access to a range of emotions and events, which would take us decades to experience directly.
Allows you to assess your life in relation to others.
Cures us of provincialism and allows us to be citizens of the world.
It's a cure for loneliness. The writer knows us better than we know ourselves. The writer opens our hearts and minds and gives us maps to ourselves.
"In the works of great writers, we find our own neglected thoughts", Ralph Waldo Emerson
It prepares you for failure. A great many novels are about people who have messed up. But great books don't judge people so harshly (like the media). They evoke pity for their heroes and fear for ourselves.
Literature should not be seen as entertainment or distraction. It should be seen as therapy.
It deserves its prestige because it can be a tool which can help us to live and die well with more wisdom, goodness and sanity.
There is a sensory quality in novels: they can show the sky, the feel of someone's skin, the precise appearance of a person's face.
They can generate emotion, through characters with some of the quality and immediacy of real-life acquaintances.
Novels can provide enlightenment - not just entertainment and distraction. (Alain de Botton's two favourite novelists were also the most moral and philosophical: Tolstoy and Proust. These names were exceptional).
Reading is always an act of empathy.
Reading is always an imagining of what it's like to be someone else.