Literature is not just a clever play of letters; it is a reproduction of human sentiments and human experience. It is the vibrant and sometimes incomprehensible reality of man given shape and permanence through the written word, forged in the landscape turned battlefield we call existence, and tempered through the pulses and rhythms of the author’s native tongue. (It is this characteristic however—this distinct manner of speech and feeling inherent in different languages which give each individual culture’s writings their inimitable force—that makes composing a translation of a text that is faithful to the spirit of the original a difficult task.) Literature is life because it is a presentation of life—and by its demonstration is imbued with a life of its own.
Literature, like its other companions in the pantheon of man’s noble endeavors is a medium for the abstract to take form. They are the means by which emotions, memories, ideas, and all other intangible aspects of our nature so revered by the human spirit are transformed into something seeable, touchable, hearable—in essence, made undeniably real. But the craft of literature is more distinct from the likes of dance and fine arts because it is more concrete and relatively more precise in its expression and more cognitive in structure by virtue of its principal vehicle: written language. And while it is precisely due to its use of that vehicle that has obstructed its accessibility to those who do not speak the language—a roadblock typically bypassed by the freer and more universal forms of music, color, or rhythmic motion—it is this feature that gives a literary piece its strength to those who understand the words and their nuances. Language allows the text to express its thoughts with greater accuracy and a sense of greater depth.
© Copyright 2016 Jan Gabriel. All rights reserved.