Why Literature Matters – Research Point 1.2

Read what Cathy Baxandall, Vice-Chair of OCA Trustees and a trustee of the Ilkley Literature Festival believes about writing and literature at http://weareoca.com/education/why-literature-matters/

My favourite quote from Why Literature matters is “Literature is therefore much more than mere entertainment – it is a fundamental technique for the understanding of ourselves and our universe”. For me, the universe is ‘other’ and I can get to know a little more about you and I when I write or read. But there is more. I read fantasy as a way to escape from the pain of being alive, and this is really important for others as well. Baxandall expresses this with the following quote, “Literature breaks the continuum of everyday and makes us stop and think”. Although fantasy makes me stop and think, I often see myself in the Rome of one of the characters and I can become somebody else. I see in pictures when I read, I visualise the written word and I feel grateful for this.

Biography is important as literature to me also. I gain a new perspective when I read biography, and I get to work through and understand my own issues and qualities when writing auto-biographical snippets.

I can relate when Baxandall says, “Propaganda or saying something in an unreal universe that resonates in a real one, perhaps to better criticise the status quo or address a moral dilemma”. I do this with my photo essays, my writing about Extinction Rebellion and the Climate Emergency is a good example of this. Perhaps this is literature the explores by concept and fact at the same time. Literature that adds colour to concept is a way of bringing new or deeper understanding to the reader.

I’ve enjoyed reading the blog post and I feel that I’m gaining more understanding of my own need to write, as well as different genres of literature.


Baxandall, C; 2015; Why Literature Matters; Online; AT https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/education/why-literature-matters/?cn-reloaded=1 (accessed on 29/02/2020)

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