Monday, 23 June 2008

What is literature?

What is literature? This question came to my mind when a colleague commented about my poems-"I can't say that your poems have any literary value but they are instant expression of human emotions..." This comment made me think ;what is literature? Do I write to express myself, to pour out what is on my mind; or to consciously make literary contributions?

So I did my search and came upon this definition of literature- "Literature is a term used to describe written or spoken material"- Esther Lombardi,
The word literature did not come to designate the body of imaginative text till the late 18th century. In Latin Littera means letters and as etymology suggests literature is anything written.

So I became happy for a while, deriving meaning of literature from its etymology and the definition of literature by Lombardi but my happiness did not last very long. I soon came upon another definition by Erza Pound-" Literature is the news that stays relevant" meaning those works of art or imagination that will be read years from now. Now this one is a gray area. How do we know then which books are great pieces of literature and which ones are not? It can be decided many years later only.

So I got further confused what constitutes literature and what not?

More search led me to the following definition by McFadden-

Literature is a canon which consists of those works in language by which a community defines itself through the course of its history.

According to this definition one has to wait for many years for the community to decide if it would identify with the work of writer A or B.

Now let's look at some more definitions-
In a 1877 article in New York Times, Mr. Stopford Brooke says-"By literature we mean written thoughts and feelings of intelligent men and women arranged in a way which will give pleasure to the reader."

Some other viewpoints-

Professor Barry Laga - What is literature ?
Patrick Galloway- What is literature?
Myron Magnet- What use is Literature?
Stopford Brooke - What is Literature (pdf)

It seems that it is difficult to define "Literature" and therefore I would not like to wander in the vast universe of Literature but continue writing as well as I can, expressing my thoughts and feelings without bothering if they will be read after many years from now or not; or become part of the canon by which any society will identify.

I write because I can't do without it.

Some related Books-
"What is Literature and other essays" by John Paul Satre
Hindu Literary Review on Satre's book- 'What is Literature'


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Our Universe is flat

Our Universe is not spherical or saddle shaped but flat- images by NASA

Since a long time I have been interested in having an atlas of the Universe. Today I found some interesting internet resources where one can learn more about the Universe we live in.

Atlas of the Universe
This website gives different maps of the Universe based on the distance from the Sun in light years, beginning from 12.5 light years to 14 billion light years away from the Sun.

BBC : Interactive Map of the Universe
This interactive map can be fun for the kids and grown ups both. It gives you a chance to put the solar system in order and briefs you about a lots of other interesting space related terms.

NASA: Our Universe
It gives interesting information on the new findings about the shape and fate of the Universe.

Long ago people thought the Earth was flat and the Universe round but now we know it is other way round- the Universe is flat and the Earth is round.

I think these three links will prove very useful for anyone who wants to broaden one's knowledge about the Universe.


Wednesday, 11 June 2008

A rendezvous with the Divine

It was a cloudy white night,

It was still bright over the horizons

And the cold breeze blew into my face

After the storms and rains;

The green pine trees stood silent

And the half moon smiled over the green grass carpet,

The whitish Seren flowers were in full bloom

And I strolled overwhelmed that night

Among the pine trees, Seren flowers, half-moon, rains and storms

That night eternity embraced me gently; and

It was a rendezvous with the Divine.

For more pics please visit PICTURESQUE