What is art?

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September 15th, 2007 at 04:21pm
This was an issue brought up in my As level English Lit class.
We were discussing the basics of literature, what it means and what it entails.
To me Literature is the different styles in which authors and poets express thier feelings/ thoughts in a cohesive manner through a piece of text which could be anything from a novel to a play.

That should mean that any piece of text should be classed as literature, right?
Well thats where the debate begins.
After reading out my explanation to my teacher he asked me what i classed as literature. Of course i reeled of a list of classic novels and authors, and obviously the penultimate Shakespeare.
Looking back i relised i had basically recited the Cannon, a list of books that have been regarded as the cream of literature, the typical examples of true literature.
However going of the explanation i derived from the word literature and what my fellow classmates also reached to, surely shouldnt songs and magazine articles also be considered in the area of literature? By songs i mean all genres, even, dare I say it, rap music and hip hop, because they also portray the writers feelings.

And of course many university lectures have also reached the same conclusion, that today's generation is being spoonfed a very narrow minded version of literature, the broader spectrum being left out. Some have even stopped teaching Shakespeare altogether, questioning what is it that makes him any better then other playwrites of his time. And indeed, what exactly is it that makes him stand out, and makes us think is true literature?

So my question to you is as follows
1] how would you define literature?
2] what would you class as literature? Do you agree with the Cannon or do you think it ought to be a broader spectrum.
3] Which writers would you think of when you hear the word literature and why?
4] Lastly, what is your opinion on Shakespeare?

___
to my dismay when i searched wikipieda
this is all i found
Ol' Blue Eyes.
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Mibba
September 15th, 2007 at 06:31pm
When I think literature, I think novels. Books, with more substance than you'd find in most magazines and songs. I entirely agree with the Cannon, although I have found a number of newer books that are just as good, should even be on the cannon.

I don't really think of writers when I hear the word literature. I think of books, specific books.

Shakespeare is an amazing playwright. There is so much hidden meaning in his plays, and they speak to people on so many different levels. To stop teaching him is absolutely ridiculous.
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September 15th, 2007 at 08:54pm
Literature? It's drama, poetry, or prose. Put simply, of course. Those are the official classifications of literature. Songs, i.e. musical poems, go with poems.
Micro Sheep
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September 15th, 2007 at 11:19pm
Art expressed in words.
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September 15th, 2007 at 11:38pm
Micro Sheep:
Art expressed in words.
Thats what I would say.
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September 16th, 2007 at 01:52am
Micro Sheep:
Art expressed in words.


*tries not to say it*...*feels like a teacher*....*holds breath*

dammit.

----


But what is art? Like art, Literature is in the eye of the viewer. When you take gratification or have gained knowledge from something then it is art to you. so like to a AS english student shakespeare is the holy grail. Winnie the pooh is literature to a 5 year old.
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September 16th, 2007 at 02:09am
NeoSteph:
Micro Sheep:
Art expressed in words.


*tries not to say it*...*feels like a teacher*....*holds breath*

dammit.

----


But what is art? Like art, Literature is in the eye of the viewer. When you take gratification or have gained knowledge from something then it is art to you. so like to a AS english student shakespeare is the holy grail. Winnie the pooh is literature to a 5 year old.


haha i love you
thats exactly the debate
what exacty is iterature and who defines it?

btw i agree with all of your inputs
i just thought it'd be interesting to see differnt ppl's view points.

i mean tbh in some cases R&B could be classed as literature.
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September 16th, 2007 at 02:22am
I've done my A-level english, i miss those debates.

RnB can be classed as art, but literature is based soley in written works of expression, i believe thats the only law.

If you have to work on this and take back your learnings to the class. Do this and watch your teacher gawp at you with admiration.

write on a piece of paper 'the cat sat on the hat', then ask the class if they would define that as literature. they will say no because they saw you do it, it is just a sentence. then ask them that if it was written by chaucer and listed in cannons, would they still define it as literature. Now they will begin to stir because logic dictates to them that it is noT literature, but if they were provided with evidence then maybe they have to accept that it is.

with that example you have made the most important point of understanding english literature. That you are learning someone elses interpretation of literature and that you need to figure out whether you actually agree with that mystery person after learning to read the text or if it really is a cat sat on a silly hat. XD
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September 16th, 2007 at 09:25am
Literature is in the eye of the beholder. Pride and Prejudice is considered fine literature and a pinnacle of feminism or whatever. I think its bullshit. I despise that book with a violent passion. It is --excuse my french-- balderdash.

Many people do not agree with me.

But not every novel can be considered literature. I believe to be considered literature, the work must center around some sort of theme or philsophical/revolutionary/something idea. Jane Eyre is feminism. Shakespeare's works are supposed to fine examples of comdey and tragedy.

I consider Scott Westerfeld's Uglies Trilogy to be literature. I do not consider Lemony Snicket to be literature (enjoyable as he is). I think a certain level of sophistication is required. Meg Cabot, for example, is the exact opposite of literature.
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September 16th, 2007 at 12:08pm
Art is a collection of all work that was created by different artists in different communities and society, in a different time, with different methods and materials, in different forms.

Thats what I studied. Thats why for me literature is art expressed in words.

Shruti, why cant Meg Cabot work be considered literature? An artist is a talented individual who expresses his dreams, ideas, views in different forms such as books, poems, music, paintings, dance etc. Meg Cabot does that, she writes books. You don't have to write brain boxes for books for them to be considered literature. Harry Potter could only be rubbish then compared to George Orwell`s novels. Hey, it probably is rubbish in eyes of some people, but its only their personal opinion.
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September 16th, 2007 at 03:04pm
I'm sure you've read some Meg Cabot books. We've all gone through that stage. Her books are funny, her characters think like real people. Problem: every single character is like the exact same person in 2309830945834098 different settings. I think perhaps one or two of her novels would be considered literature somewhere far into the future, but her works as a whole...not really.
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September 16th, 2007 at 03:23pm
lyrical_mess:
I'm sure you've read some Meg Cabot books. We've all gone through that stage. Her books are funny, her characters think like real people. Problem: every single character is like the exact same person in 2309830945834098 different settings. I think perhaps one or two of her novels would be considered literature somewhere far into the future, but her works as a whole...not really.


I was jaqueline wilson fan girl. she wrote 30 odd books and i'm sure i have nearly all of them XD.
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September 16th, 2007 at 04:12pm
In all fairness some people may class George Orwell as nonsense. Indeed he is a classic writer, however there are those who state his idea of newspeak for example "doubleplusungood" which means extremly bad as a complete lack of grammar and thus setting a bad example for others.

I guess what lyrical mess is saying, a view with which i secretly agree with, "proper" literature so to speak, requires "proper" English, not slang, with good morals behind it?

That being said, where does that leave Orwell?

And NeoSteph, your point was amazing, i would use it however im very adiment against the use of plagerism, which to me using your idea would be, but the idea you suggested was sheer genuis xD
I suppose that is the greatest art of literature, one Shakespeare achieved i guess, making people worship his writing, and somehow convincin them that this is proper literature, the key is, how to do that?

I for one used to love The Princess diares as a 12 yr old, but im afriad i have a very judgmental view of Jaquline Wilson, prehaps a bit to steroetypical.
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September 16th, 2007 at 04:12pm
O_O
what the hell at that random horny face instead of P xD
lyrical_mess
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September 16th, 2007 at 06:45pm
paper heart:
O_O
what the hell at that random horny face instead of P xD


lmfao...horny face....

Back on point, I didn't say "proper English". No, literature can be in slang. Its as much a part of our culture as proper English is. But there has to be a certain message or it should reflect a certain aspect of that time period or the culture of that period.


Edit: waaah....how come I ended up with a horny face too?
Micro Sheep
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September 16th, 2007 at 07:38pm
paper heart:
In all fairness some people may class George Orwell as nonsense. Indeed he is a classic writer, however there are those who state his idea of newspeak for example "doubleplusungood" which means extremly bad as a complete lack of grammar and thus setting a bad example for others.

I guess what lyrical mess is saying, a view with which i secretly agree with, "proper" literature so to speak, requires "proper" English, not slang, with good morals behind it?

That being said, where does that leave Orwell?

And NeoSteph, your point was amazing, i would use it however im very adiment against the use of plagerism, which to me using your idea would be, but the idea you suggested was sheer genuis xD
I suppose that is the greatest art of literature, one Shakespeare achieved i guess, making people worship his writing, and somehow convincin them that this is proper literature, the key is, how to do that?

I for one used to love The Princess diares as a 12 yr old, but im afriad i have a very judgmental view of Jaquline Wilson, prehaps a bit to steroetypical.

I would class George Orwell as a real prophet Cassie
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September 17th, 2007 at 05:55am
lyrical_mess:
paper heart:
O_O
what the hell at that random horny face instead of P xD


lmfao...horny face....

Back on point, I didn't say "proper English". No, literature can be in slang. Its as much a part of our culture as proper English is. But there has to be a certain message or it should reflect a certain aspect of that time period or the culture of that period.


Edit: waaah....how come I ended up with a horny face too?


...its taking over O_O
lmao ask dujo he knows all x]

& true microsheep
in his own right the man is a genius
contriversail but still a genius.
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September 17th, 2007 at 03:46pm
NeoSteph:
I've done my A-level english, i miss those debates.

RnB can be classed as art, but literature is based soley in written works of expression, i believe thats the only law.

If you have to work on this and take back your learnings to the class. Do this and watch your teacher gawp at you with admiration.

write on a piece of paper 'the cat sat on the hat', then ask the class if they would define that as literature. they will say no because they saw you do it, it is just a sentence. then ask them that if it was written by chaucer and listed in cannons, would they still define it as literature. Now they will begin to stir because logic dictates to them that it is noT literature, but if they were provided with evidence then maybe they have to accept that it is.

with that example you have made the most important point of understanding english literature. That you are learning someone elses interpretation of literature and that you need to figure out whether you actually agree with that mystery person after learning to read the text or if it really is a cat sat on a silly hat. XD
That reminds me of Mona Lisa's smile. Con
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September 19th, 2007 at 04:06pm
lyrical_mess:
No, literature can be in slang. Its as much a part of our culture as proper English is. But there has to be a certain message or it should reflect a certain aspect of that time period or the culture of that period.
I disagree. Author Irvene Welsh uses slang and writes in the same way in which a Scot would speak to dramatic effect. I think it can be acceptable.
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September 19th, 2007 at 04:10pm
lyrical_mess:
I'm sure you've read some Meg Cabot books. We've all gone through that stage. Her books are funny, her characters think like real people. Problem: every single character is like the exact same person in 2309830945834098 different settings. I think perhaps one or two of her novels would be considered literature somewhere far into the future, but her works as a whole...not really.
Well...there are always good and bad books. Mr. Green

You can subjectively judge books, which is what I think you are doing, you can like them and dislike them, but that is ONLY your personal opinion. Then you can do it objectively by analyzing them using literature methods. Thats why Meg Cabots books, no matter how much you don't think they are literature and no matter how much I was never fond of the, can be considered literature.
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