The human and artistic concerns of both the Romantic and Victorian Ages are similar to our own concerns; the response to those concerns- given by poets, novelists, dramatists and artists- can help us live fuller, more meaningful and creative lives in our own times.
I strongly believe (and this is also why I chose to study literature) that poets, novelists, artists and dramatists had the same concerns of our time such as love, family, superficial relationships, the understanding of the human condition and the pursuit of happiness. All novels, poems and plays we read can help us live our lives more intensely, by teaching us to give more value to things in life.
Literature helps us to face life with greater awareness. I believe art, literature and poetry are not just a distraction for our leisure time, but a real therapy, a map of ourselves.
A lot of my friends, most of them studying business or scientific subjects, ask me this question: what is exactly literature good for? Why do you spend time reading books, novels and poems when out there big things are going on? Basically, they think that literature is just a waste of time, but I think literature is rather one of the greatest time saver because it gives us access to a great range of emotions and events that usually takes us years, decades and centuries to try to experience directly. They don’t often understand that literature is the greatest reality simulator and that all the concerns about society, life, relationships of one time, are exactly the same as the ones of today.
This great journey in this class was for me very interesting, it has been like travelling all together in a big time-machine that puts us through infinite situations: we got safely, to see for example what it’s like to be manipulated, as Austen showed us. In one of my firsts blog ( https://beatricefait.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/blog-topic-week-5/) I wrote a reflection about how Jane Austen is indirectly telling us how we should live by highlighting the defects and negative sides of her characters ( especially the one of Emma) in order for us to avoid the same mistakes into which they have fallen in her stories.
We also got to see what it’s like living an artificial life rather than a spiritual one, like Tolstoy taught us. Your can read something more about this in my last blog (https://wordpress.com/post/beatricefait.wordpress.com/2080 )where you can see, through Tolstoy’s own personal experience, what it means to live superficial relationships, to live incapable of understanding the real meaning of life.
From my point of view, literature shows us how to avoid all this! It shows you that there is always a solution to problems and that real happiness is achievable; it shows you a way to get out of this contaminated modern society to live a fulfilled happy life immersed in nature, exactly as the scholar gypsies did! In my blog about the scholar gypsies ( https://beatricefait.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/1725/) I wrote about valuable secrets that I learned from them and that have to be shared to the world. We all could be great students, we could all have a great knowledge about grammar, but what is the point in knowing all of this, if we don’t know what happiness is? If we don’t know what real human relationships are? If we can’t call anyone a friend or if we live every day of your life feeling pointless? In our society I think each one of us feels full of informations and knowledge, but empty of emotions.
Reading all the poems and novels in this course it made me realise how problems didn’t change much throughout time: in fact all the poems and beautiful novels we read have taken us across countries and centuries by turning us into citizens of the world! All these works have performed the magic of showing us what things look like from someone else’s point of view. They teach us to consider the consequences of our actions on others, in a way we wouldn’t.
I found very useful having read so many works of value because I think they stand opposite to the dominant value system of nowadays, the one that rewards money, power and all these kind of materialistic awards. Writers on the other side, they make us sympathetics to ideas and deep feelings that we cant feel in this cynical world. Nowadays, we can’t say what’s going on in our minds, we feel lost in a world that is nothing but an enemy to us; but in reading those works we can find ourselves again, who we genuinely are.
One of the most interesting aspects in reading these literature works was having read the perfect words that describe our most fragile and special experiences of our inner lives. All these feelings lived in people years ago, and that still inhabits our hearts today. For this reason, it was very interesting for me to be related to many artists of the romantic and victorian age.
And above all, because in the works of great writers we find our own neglected thoughts!