Language And Literature Because All Literature Is Created With Words,

1002 words - 4 pages

language and literature Because all literature is created with words, the medium of literature is language. Not all combinations of words, however, result in literature. Literary combinations are differentiated from the enormous mass of casual discourse by some filtering device or set of rules. These words then pass into the permanent stock of preserved sounds or texts, forming the literary tradition of the group that produced them. One must therefore question what makes one group of words literature and another group not literature, and what the precise connection between language and literature is. This article addresses these questions. Further information may be found in aesthetics; criticism, literary; deconstruction; figures of speech; linguistics; phonetics; phonology and morphology; psycholinguistics; semantics; semiotics; structuralism; syntax; and versification.Some linguists regard literary artifacts simply as preserved utterances, distinguished by the very fact of their preservation. The great mass of casual speech vanishes into air and out of memory just a few seconds after being uttered. Psycholinguists have demonstrated, for example, that, whereas most people can relate the gist of statements made a few minutes earlier, few can repeat the exact words they heard. By contrast, noncasual speech must be repeated word for word in order to achieve the total effect. The medium the words chosen and their particular order is part of the message. As the French poet Paul Valery has indicated, ordinary discourse vanishes or dissolves as soon as it has done its work as soon as it has communicated an idea and brought understanding but literature is preserved and interpreted again and again, as if its usefulness can never be exhausted.Even strictly defined, however, literature includes an astonishing variety of material. Besides poetry, drama, and novels, literature includes folktales and folk music, religious rituals, sermons, diaries, journals, political documents, essays, philosophical treatises, chronicles, and speeches in courts and legislatures. What all these kinds of discourse have in common is a formal setting: anything written or uttered in a situation recognized as artistic thereby acquires the status of art and loses its status as a casual, or transitory, expression. A printed passage entitled "Sonnet XI" cannot, by the rules of Western culture, be taken as a casual utterance. Artistic displacement a fire hydrant removed to a museum, for example assigns special status to the object displaced. The very fact of displacement suggests to the onlooker that someone became convinced enough of the value of the object in question to take it out of its casual setting. Hence any utterance, even a telephone book, if read or presented as literature on a literary occasion and surrounded by literary trappings, loses its utilitarian aspect and is interpreted for itself alone.Another approach to defining literature starts with the assumption that...

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