You have entered the realm of a writer.

Welcome to A Writer's Landscape!

You have entered the realm of my mind where words play with the fabric of our existence. This is the map of my imagination: the very foundations of inspiration, musing, and thought splayed for your wandering eyes. Dive deep into the tides of these forces and experience my reality, my fantasy, my world; and if you should be so inclined, share your words with this land.

Peace and Love!

J Hart F

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What is Literature?

I feel like I've been answering this question every semester for the past several years. I keep coming up with practically the same answer. Literature is the written word as art and expression. However, understanding what this definition means varies from person to person (even amongst Literature and English professors, college students, authors, editors, publishers, etc.). What one person sees as 'art and expression' may simply stick to poetry, short stories, and novels (which must be critically acclaimed). I Disagree wholeheartedly with this thinking.

Literature is all writing which holds meaning, beauty, subtlety, and artistic influences; and is treasured by someone or anyone. Literature is created from passion, creativity, history, a writer's soul, a story, or simply a word. Therefore, literature encompasses everything from country music to rap; from music to movies; from scripts to poetry to novels to letters to blog posts and everything in between. It's mainly in the eye of the beholder, to be as cliche as I can get for a simple metaphor. Perhaps you will read this and think "how beautiful his sentences are" and suddenly view this blog as a piece of literature. And if not, that's fine, but you might read some of my short stories or poems and feel the art that I write. That is literature.

Of course, the definition of literature has changed throughout time. Before literature used the written word as its forum, scholars in Greece and other Baltic and Mediterranean worlds memorized passages word for word and passed that knowledge down through generations. Then came the Bible, which was considered, for many many years, to be the only piece of actual literature, regardless of a works age or importance to culture. After the Bible, which was largely only read by old white men, came the old whit man's literature. This reign finally ended with the women's and civil rights movements which forced colleges, scholars, and critics to recognize women's and African American's literature. Within the past few decades, Latino/Latina literature was finally accepted into the cannon of great writing. The next stage of evolution for literature has started within the past five to seven years (I believe) with the great surge in multimedia publishing and communication.

This brings the next question: how far is the art of literature allowed to be interpreted? Will blogs be recognized as masterpieces of writing? Are text messages able to be considered an art form? There is certainly a sub-language in every culture that pertains to texts, but will it be a part of the greater context of writing? Personally, in regards to texts, I hope not.

Asking a few of my friends gave me different perspectives of defining literature. ChiChi says that literature is "words put together to make meaning." This could include the simplicity of a one word sign or an informational pamphlet; reinforcing meaning through words. K.J. says "Literature can be anything from an epic novel to a young child's imaginative story. As long as it is meaningful to the author and the reader, it is a piece of literature." After reading this, I'm interested in what you think the definition of literature is!

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