Literature and Realism

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.

— C. S. Lewis

Somehow my brain connected the idea in this quote to the recent obsession with 3D movies. 3D movies and HDTV and such are obsessed with giving us the clearest picture, the absolute most detail in every single frame. But I usually enjoy the more traditional (almost old-fashioned at this point) 2D. It’s warmer and fuzzier, with more of a fantastical feel than a THIS IS SO REAL IT LOOKS LIKE A DOCUMENTARY sort of feeling.

I feel the same way about the books that I enjoy and get the most out of. It doesn’t need to reflect reality perfectly, it doesn’t have to be completely believable at all times. If it describes something that I have experienced in real life, that’s great, that’s fascinating. But there has to be something more. I can get real life while I’m in real life; literature, real, good literature, “enriches,” adds significance or meaning, expands, what we see  so that we perceive it in a completely different or much more expansive way.

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2 thoughts on “Literature and Realism

  1. I love this boo, I SHALL THEREFORE PREACH UNTO THINE CHOIR.
    “I can get real life while I’m in real life” — So good. It’s almost like people think that accessibility and fantasy cannot intermingle without including the mundane drivel of our everyday lives.
    Take me out of my current setting to someplace fantastic!

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