‘Facts alone are wanted in life,’ exclaims Mr Gradgrind at the beginning of Dickens’ <i>Hard</i> <i>Times</i>. Literature is not about facts alone, and – despite two and a half thousand years of arguments – no one can agree on what it is, or how to study it. But, argues Robert Eaglestone, it is precisely the open-ended nature of literature that makes it such a rewarding and useful subject.
Eaglestone shows that studying literature can change who you are, turning you from a ‘reader’ into a ‘critic’: someone attuned to the ways we make meaning in our world. Literature is a living conversation which provides endless opportunities to rethink and reinterpret our societies and ourselves. With examples ranging from Sappho to <i>Skyrim</i>, this book shows how literature offers freer and deeper ways of thinking and being.