On Loving Literature

Literature will not be harnessed for any cause, no matter how an academic distorts it, and literature that harnesses itself in the service of a cause is not literature at all but agitprop. If you agree that literature is, in Kenneth Burke’s words, “equipment for living,” a necessary asking of the right questions, and if you don’t question your own love of living, your own love of children and nature, of justice and language and storytelling, then why would you question your love of the best expression and assertion of that love? Denby speaks of literature’s “special character of solitude and rapture,” and that’s accurate enough, but let’s leave the last word for Marcel Proust: “Real life, at last enlightened and revealed, the only life fully lived, is literature.”

Giraldi, William. “On Loving Literature.” Virginia Quarterly Review. Virginia Quarterly Review, 1 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.

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