22 Oct 2009

Selecting a Literary Work for Your Essay

When entering the field of English and other language studies, the topic of literature and its analysis is often raised.  The academic community can be fickle on the subject, however, frequently heralding one text as a “prime” example of notable worth, yet condemning another as “amateurish” and relegating it to the trash bin of academic obscurity, even if it is by the same author.  This often makes selecting a work for your essay or analysis difficult.  But how do we define literature and identify which works are recognized as literarily significant?  Literature, drawn from the Latin root littera (letter), is the art and study of written works.  Though this seems an understandable, broad definition, confusion often enters due to debates in the academic circles about what is recognized as “literature” and what is not.

Ironically, works of romance, crime fiction, mystery and science fiction are typically excluded from the category of literature, though virtually all works of recognized “literary merit” would fit into one or more “excluding” genre.  Few academics quarrel with “The Age of Innocence” (Edith Wharton, 1920) being recognized as literarily significant, for example, though the novel itself is fundamentally a male-focused romance.  H.G. Wells “The Time Machine” (1895) can be described as nothing less than science fiction.  In the latter case, claims of “The Time Machine” being the first science fiction story are misleading as “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” in Japanese literature (10th Century) is considered a proto-science fiction.

Beyond these arguments we find quarreling over the recognition of plays and movies as forms of literature.  Again, we find examples of plays and movies that have gained official recognition as having literary merit, from the historical plays of William Shakespeare to the Hollywood blockbusters of Star Wars.  We also find the phenomenon of historical literary works being transformed into either play or movie format, most recently notable being “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (C.S. Lewis 1950).  Essays on literature could just as easily take the form of comparisons, contrasting the handling of literary masterpieces with the quality of their translation to film and video media.   Regardless of their status as plays or movies, even those not based on historical literature must begin with a written script, giving each of them the potential for literary merit and subsequent analysis.
When students select a work for their essay (which they are occasionally called upon to do) these issues have to be taken into account.  What one person might consider a significant work may be argued as irrelevant.  Such arguments occur with regularity in academic circles.  To successfully present a work and establish its literary significance can be a significant challenge, one which many students would scarcely dare attempt.  Our writers are use to such challenges, supplying hundreds of students and professionals each year with professional writing services.  To take advantage of their experience and talent, all you need to do is submit your assignment today through our confidential ordering system today.

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