I have always thought about whether studying literature is different from reading it. What do you think, friends? I am sure many will agree and others will disagree. Life is made of complex combinations, and we should accept the same. However, when it comes to literature, whether English or any other language, there are a few certain and established notions. Nevertheless, studying literature vs reading it is still debatable (and somewhat paradoxical too). How can you study without reading a work of literature? How can you read a work of literature without noticing particular paths, ideas, concepts, characters and flaws, and many other things? It is always one that leads to another. Or, it is always the two together. However, the mainframe or the core of these two activities are different in nature.
Before we get into this debate, let me tell the students of English literature studying will always be different from casually reading a literary work for entertainment or recreation. In this article, you can learn the best ways to study. How to Study English Literature?
Reading Graham Greene or Thomas Hardy, casually having a go at Premchand’s writings, leisurely looking at Jayshankar Prasad’s poetry, or just reading Nirala’s poetry for your mental ease cannot be the same as studying these giants of Hindi literature or those age images of English literature. Reading is just reading without any pressure of understanding every twist and turn in the plot. Casual reading is about extracting entertainment and laughter, amusement or thrill, or simply stealing a few moments out of the book you read. Studying, on the other hand, requires background and foreground work (hard work) after you finish reading and also during the reading sessions. Students cannot have it easy. They have their time limits as well.
So, students who have to study literature should develop a patient habit of spending time with a book rather than finishing it off in one or two go and looking for another. It will always be useful if students go through a prescribed literary work patiently, carefully and attentively so that they can take notes, understand the vital twists and turns in the storyline, comprehend the themes, immediate and broader ones, and do many other scholarly assignments with the text as they penetrate deeper into it. Studying a book requires more than just a book. Reading a book may not even require an actual book. You can always make it more casual with an Ebook on your mobile screen or a computer in any corner of your living or bedroom. I guess readers will get my point here.
However, if you can somehow add casual reading or related literature to your to-do list, that will do a fantastic job for you. Study the prescribed books in your syllabus. Also, give some hours to read the related literature that surrounds your work in the timeline of history or genre or just somehow relates to the prescribed work. That will give you a wider understanding of the age, the author, or the genre. I have tried and it helps a lot. If you can have both the feathers in your cap, studying with patience and letting go in one go, you will succeed and go far in the world of literature, academically and professionally. All the best guys!
By Ashish for The Last Critic