Literature for Pleasure


English Literature comprises the world of poets, novelists and critics. The other day while pondering over some websites I came across the phrase of Teaching Philosophy. My mind immediately started travelling through the question why do I love teaching literature? I started flipping through the pages of my memory and I realized literature is actually giving wings to imagination.Yes, I do have to teach novels and books according to the prescribed syllabus. But the real enjoyment of learning literature is going beyond the syllabus. The horizon of reading and gaining is immense to make you so versatile that you read Shakespeare in the morning and Salman Rushdie to end your day. The dictionary meaning of the word imagination is the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. When I think about why I like reading English literature it is like travelling the world which is untraveled and exploring the unexplored vista. Fernando Pessoa a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher and one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century said, “Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life”. When utilitarianism was asking about facts, literature was still focusing on imagination letting you transportto the world unknown. It is like travelling on budget and transporting to a visionary world without spending a penny. Every time I enter a class, I remember the words of Stephen King, American author who says, that books are uniquely portable magic. I indulge in becoming the tourist guide for the young minds to transport them to the medieval world depicted in the poems of Coleridge, the world of the dinosaurs in the novel Jurassic Park, to the school of Hogwarts, the Victorian society narrated in the novel of Charlotte Bronte, or to meet the Dickensian man. Literature navigates our mind towards the unknown and unheard. It isn’t just about learning new words and dissipating grammar doubts. Being a part of colonialism, the West being the superior ‘other’ has influenced us with the idea that the language of the oppressor if spoken correctly will augment our personality.The need of the hour is to make the young minds come out of this traditional belief.It is a window that lets you into a world of knowledge along with pleasure. Read literature just for the sake of enjoying reading. Reading it beyond syllabus empowers you to move ahead from the stress of words and vocabulary. If you aren’t able to understand a word go on you will learn association; if you still cannot, open a dictionary, if knowing it makes you love the book more. Read on! You are on the right track but if it makes your reading tiresome then close and go to the next. Love the book you read if you don’t, there are many in waiting. Language should not be a barrier in reading, choose a language that you associate with. No language is superior to the other. Language is expression. Literature does give you wings to imagine but it also exerts the power to pull to reality. My teaching philosophy is to make the landing towards the pulling and the flight towards imagination safe.