Literature is a true reflection of one’s creative impulse. It translates an author’s feelings into a message for millions to read. And as Fitzgerald puts it, thanks to literature – “you discover that your longings are universal, that you are not isolated from anyone. You belong.” Over the years, words written decades ago have proved to be a source of comfort. They have also been an inspiration for several art forms that exist today. Great works of literature have inspired famous works of art. Similarly, art has inspired writers to produce prominent literature. Both these phenomena are interdependent and define a certain sense of uniformity of expression.
When represented via performing arts, the written word is reflected through visual imagery. Rumors have it that Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers – Romeo and Juliet were a work of inspiration as many others. And as fate would have it, today, the play inspires several modern-day novels and adaptations. Not all movies based on books are a perfect representation. However, every time someone attempts to adapt a book, a statement is made. It is conveyed to all how essential literary value is to everyday life. And, a depiction of society in literature not only tells a tale of that time but stays relevant years after.
The human force drives on tales of imagination and motivation. Every piece of literary work conveys a story. So does dance and music, or musicals. Often, people resonate with the lyrics so much and dance to the tunes that make them feel something. Dance is a form of expression only conveyed best through movements. The end goal of each is to make the audience feel something. Similar to that of a novel or poetry. Indian epic poem, The Ramayana, is often told through dance. Dramatic operas seldom draw inspiration from literature as well. Prosper Merimee’s novella Carmen, a tale of obsession and murder, was followed closely by Georges Bizet into an opera
In contemporary times, Jane Austen proves to be a favorite of all. Be it Clueless, the coming-of-age comedy loosely based on Emma, or the much-celebrated adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Austen’s work highlights issues that are relevant even today. She talks about troubled families, the institution of marriage, and young, intelligent women living in the Victorian Era. However, twenty-first-century readers find themselves relating to the writing as well. The past sometimes proves to be an inspiration for future works. Courtesy of creative literature, the composition of Jayadeva’s Gita-Govinda influenced dance, drama, and paintings. It left an impact on cultures and traditions ranging from Manipur to Gujarat and extending to Tamil Nadu. The literary work popularized the Radha-Krishna tale.
The association of people with these art forms makes them better human beings as the very nature of music, dance and drama elevates the human soul and creates a pleasant atmosphere. The same sentiment was conveyed by Jhumpa Lahiri in her celebrated work – In other words. She says – I think that the power of art is the power to wake us up, strike us to our depths, change us. What are we searching for when we read a novel, see a film, listen to a piece of music? We are searching, through a work of art, for something that alters us, that we weren’t aware of before. We want to transform ourselves.
One thing apart from the emotional sentiment that binds literature and arts together is intellectual stimulation. The long-standing debate about art being political or not relies on the intensity felt post association with them. Mostly, the stories alone do not drive us. They always come with a message. An understanding that the author wishes to convey or a filmmaker tries to portray. The art is powerful enough to ask the right questions and provide us with the answers too. It educates people as well as makes them empathetic. And, so there are teachings as well as entertainment in literature and performing arts.