It may go without saying that there are those who will never study, appreciate, or even perhaps consider literature as it is known in academic circles. There are those for whom the written word may have, at best, utilitarian purposes, and for whom any piece of writing beyond a technical manual should, at least, be a work of “non-fiction,” designed to impart a clearly stated morsel of information or worthy opinion. Part of the explanation for this may coincide with the same general reason that some people never consider religion: the proponents of literature – as is sometimes the case with the proponents of religion – sometimes themselves make their cause a used-up, weary, and trying thing, and may remove from it all the beauty and potential which it might, in the proper hands, convey.
Much like religion, literature has a transcendent value, and fulfills an essentially universal need. After all, even the most ardent opponent of the usage of literature in his or her own life embraces forms which complete virtually the same need within him; that is, myths, folklore, stories, movies, television, and even song, occupy essentially the same place and function as literature in the human person, albeit in a form often immeasurably more crude. And, as hotly debated as the following may be in the milieu of post-modern and relativist academic circles, the need to convey truths and explore the human person through story and myth may reach its most sophisticated form in literature. [continues]
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