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One of the critical components that help to define literature is the idea of being able to address the dilemma posed by Leo Tolstoy. The Russian writer made the argument that literature fails if it cannot answer the two fundamental questions: Who we are and how shall we live. These two questions, he argues, helps to drive all literature and should be the guiding principles upon which all literature is based. It is with these two questions that I think that the scope of literature must be present. The idea is that all literature must seek to answer both fundamental questions, offering potential paths which allow individuals to ruminate and ponder. The implications of both questions help to carve out the scope and power of literature.
The scope of literature is anything that can be conceived by the human mind. It includes everything from Mathematics to the more intricate sciences. Literature encompasses it all and can and should be a part of it all. Literature is that which comes from the life of men and as so the scope of literature envelopes the life of every man from the poor to the filthy rich.
A very broad question indeed! The scope of literature is almost everything under the sun! From mathematics to philosophy to physics and to chemistry, literature has the capacity to interconnect and incorporate if not reflect within itself the entire universe of discourses.
Aalin Badiou would call literature, one of the four truth procedures the other three being Love, Science and Politics. Literature, as Badiou would insist, is a Generic category of truth. It can produce its own truth. The scope of literature can be understood in terms of realism, socio-political or through the power of language and its creative, deviational use. The development of the human faculty of imagination and creativity in general are to be considered. Literature as political agenda, ideological set up is another activistic scope. To experiment with form, structure as well as content is another scope of literature that opens up new directions for human thought. From human emotions to scientific truth, literature shapes a life from the beginning till the end. This is the humanist perspective.
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