Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why Literature Matters

I liked this essay by Joseph Wood, and especially this passage:

After all, humans contradict themselves, behave in morally troubling ways, think circularly or contingently, and resist a singular pinning. If we judge poems not on their abilities to capture human experience, but rather on their ability to perpetuate and frontload a singular aesthetic or political theory, then we rob ourselves of the right to be unknown to ourselves. We rob ourselves of the ability to try to find what is necessary in our own lives and to articulate that through the artificial and highly flawed artistic mode of poetry. Literature matters to most people not because it reinforces a dominant ideology or singular politic, but because it reflects tension and uncertainty.

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