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Guided by Literature

In this faithless age, we must be guided by great literature
Richard Harries
Friday, 10 October 2008

Poetry and novels take us into a world of their own. But the point is, and this is a key feature of both literature and, say, the Bible, is that they illuminate the actual world in which we live. There are forms of writing which do not do this, which are, we might say, purely escapist. Fantasy, popular romance, science fiction are always in danger of doing this. Clearly that is not always the case, and perhaps the test must always be that of Dr. Johnson when he said that, “The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it.”

However, I have to express a personal preference for writing that seems closer to the world in which we live, and clearly does illuminate it…[read the rest]

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