What is literature?

What is literature?  Does it have any universal appeal?  As John Keats contemplated – is a thing of beauty a joy forever!  With the advent of certain social philosophies – Marxism etc., the discourse has undergone a serious change of course.  It views literature as reflections on the social institutions, and with teleological ends of ‘social responsibility’.   Several earlier and later forms and movements of literature have challenged this notion.  In Marxist literature ‘utopians’ have come to be bitterly ridiculed.  But with human experience of Marxist dystopias, this slang of ‘utopianism’ lost its significance.  However, there are other equally contesting areas – theocratic societies also ordain the purpose of literature as sub-serving the needs of the dominant clergy, again in the name ‘social purpose’ with some difference of content.  Even dreams become punishable if they stand the test of ‘morality’ of these societies.

What is the purpose of literature or is there any imposed ‘purpose’ to the literature, either by the self or the society?       

Dr. A. Raghu Kumar, Advocate
Flat No. 401, Shashank Residency,
Tarnaka, Hyderabad
Email: avadhanamraghukumar@gmail.com