It is not easy to give any fixed definition of literature. But it may be suggested that any writing of fictional or non-fictional nature that deals with human life and has the power to engage the interest of all kinds of human beings can be called literature. Generally, books meant for specific subjects like chemistry, geography, political science or astronomy cannot be called literature because they do not have any universal appeal. But a novel by Tolstoy or Bibhutibhusan, a poem by Tagore or an essay by Lamb is certainly a work of literature because it can arouse feelings that are universal. Literature can take many forms. It can be an epic like the Mahabharata, a novel like Pather Panchali, a poem like the ones in Rabindranath’s Geetanjali or a short story like O,Henry’s Gift of the magi. Study of literature is both pleasurable and profitable, provided one reads selectively. Literature helps us pass time pleasurably with its good story, interesting characters and pictures of various places and cultures past and present. From great literary works we can gain profound insight into human nature as well as vital truths about different aspects of life. It is a pity that the habit of reading the classics of literature. They would rather see a film on Shakespeare’s Hamlet than read the play itself. But a film version of a literary classic, however well-made, cannot give the viewer the same depth of impression as the book itself can. But it appears that the young people today are more interested in building up a successful career than in enjoying literature or gathering wisdom from it. But there should be a co-ordination between the studies of science and literature to promote a more balanced and healthy attitude to life. LITERATURE IS LIFE.

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