LIFE AND LITERATURE
Literature is the reflection of life of the age in which it is produced or written. It provides a true and actual record of the social, economic, political and religious condition of the time. The literary man is bound to be effected by the incidents and happenings of the society in which we live. He records all the incidents which occur in that age. He watches them closely. He tries to produce a faithful and real scene of his age. He presents the feelings and sentiments of human mind either in the form of appreciation or in bitter criticism.
History is based on the facts and so it is real picture of life. Literature is picture of the real and ideal. It laid stress on what is ought to be and not on what it is. Literature reveals beauty and truth of idea. History is chronological and photographic representation of the events of particular age in which they take place. Literature is not a history but in every creative literature truth of art should be part of it. “Fairies Queen”, “Milton’s Paradise Lost”, Tulsi’s Ram Charitmanas and Mahabharata may be studied as books of social facts but they also have something ideal in them. And that ideal is the truth of art. These great books describe what they are but they also give truthful representation of what ought to be. Thus they become pieces of great literature.
A literary artist is a product of society. He also has feelings, sentiments and passions. A man of creative literature cannot remain untouched by the social events and the time spirit of his age. His actions and reactions find expressions in his works. But the work of critic is different. His work is based on the work of a literary artist. Sometimes he wishes to disassociate himself from the tendencies of his age.
Literature is made up of reality and falsehood. But its function is to create an ideal world. Keats creates an imaginary world of his own. Wordsworth preaches to be a worshiper of nature. We see that all the great masters of literature in every language were moved deeply by human suffering. Bacon, Milton, Shakespeare, Keats, Shelly, Tulsi, Valmiki, Kalidas and Socrates have never ignored the pathetic condition of human life on the scene in their respective ages. Thus literature aims at instructing man though various devices of language, technique and theme. It also aims at following the rules of nature and the realities of human existence.
The quality of literature depends on the quality of mind which produces it. The personality of the writer is reflected in his works. A powerful literary artist impresses the society of his time. He leaves a stamp of his personality on his work as well as on the minds of the people of his age. Thus his literature becomes of permanent value. It becomes a treasure house of learning. He guides the life of the people. Such author becomes the representative artist of his age.
Literature and society are correlated. They cannot be separated. Literature is the mirror of life. The genius literary artist shapes the society with his genius and technique. It is the written document of men and members. Hence the literature cannot keep it aloof from life. It may be stated that life is literature and literature is life.