Summary Of ' Why Study Literature ' Essay

944 Words Aug 18th, 2015 4 Pages
Answering ‘why study literature’ is not tied to a singular conclusive response, rather it is justified through a multifaceted contention based upon a myriad of interlinking reasons. Literature is inherently complex and not so simply tied to a singular purpose for its existence despite various critics contending otherwise. Harold Bloom, in his How to Read and Why, quintessentially exalts the notion that literature has one singular purpose and staunchly discredits any literature that does not conform to his contention. Bloom’s answer to the question ‘why study literature’ is quite narrow in that he declares literature must abide a certain didactical purpose, else it is worthless. Praising select authors, and condemning a majority of others, Bloom divides literature into a ‘worthy’ and ‘worthless’ dichotomy in terms of readership and study. Exemplifying Bloom’s partitioning of literature, there is a continuous applause for the works of Samuel Johnson, Francis Bacon, and Shakespeare, but a condemnation for more contemporary literary phenomena such as J K Rowling. Literature has many purposes, all of which are disregarded by Bloom’s limited, narrow view, and all which are axiomatic despite his ignorance and literary quasi-elitism.

Bloom asserts that the sole function of literature is to mirror the human condition so readers can better understand themselves through an introspective, yet it is unreasonable to designate a singular purpose to such an extensive, comprehensive…

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