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The Importance of Learning English Literature

  • Date Submitted: 06/01/2012 08:48 AM
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The Importance of Learning English Literature

The study of literature allows people to develop new ideas and ethical standpoints, and can help individuals to present themselves as educated members of society. Studying literature can be an enriching, eye-opening experience.

  1. Philosophical Movements
      * English literature allows us to understand the philosophical movements and ideas that permeated a particular culture at a particular time. For example, Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" shows us the ambivalence the British felt toward empiricism.
Different Viewpoints
      * English literature gives us a new way of thinking about the world. Mary Wollstonecraft, for instance, presents the idea that women should not be subservient to men, giving birth to modern feminist theory.
Aesthetic Validation
      * Literature is a form of art; it is capable of bringing about differing emotions and a general sense of "spiritual" well-being. Poets William Wordsworth and Percy Shelley write about this power of poetry in "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads" and "A Defense of Poetry," respectively.
Understanding Modern Culture
      * By following the histories presented throughout English literature, it is possible to understand how contemporary Western culture has developed into what it is today.
Vocabulary
      * Reading new words and new phrases can increase anyone's lexicon. Literature is also crucial to learning stylistic and artistic conventions for communication and writing.
Becoming "Cultured"
      * There is a certain satisfaction in understanding literature and being able to pinpoint references to it in contemporary culture. While it's not highly important, it is always fun to shock to others by making a clean sweep of the "English Authors" category in "Jeopardy."

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