Islamabad:Professor Zulfikar Ghose from the University of Texas at Austin has said that quality of language and beauty of style are the hallmarks of great literature.
He was speaking on ‘The Importance of Style’ organised by the Area Study Centre for Africa, North and South America, Quaid-i-Azam University, at the RA Khan Seminar Room here on Wednesday. Dr Rukhsana Qamber, director of the ASC, was in the chair.
Professor Ghose said that cross-cultural pollination enriches literature.
He said that he has been accused of being away from realities and burying his head in the sand, a comment he liked. He maintained that he writes on nothing, the vacuum that exists in this world. Writers speaking about their work talk of aesthetics and not about content.
Quoting a writer, he said that style is in the backdrop of creation. He said: “We seek creations which thrill us with style. A writer may not know the difference between real art and pseudo literature. Narratives also fill the space while writing.”
He was of the opinion that most people and the majority of writers do not have the experience to realise what is reality. Could physicists creating nothing after Newton but knowing more be perceived as greater physicists, he asked.
Professor Zulfikar Ghose said that the literary approach of a writer should not limit one’s judgment, adding that a sharp brain leads to a sharp judgment.
He said that suggesting a writer to have a quality of humanity is naive.
He said that when Pakistan is under flood, facing poverty, hunger and disease, should there be writings ignoring this? Writing about it would not change anything. He rejected a notion that a writer should keep the glory of his or her country first. He referred to a critic saying style is a key to imagination while another writer said that vivid sense of imagery brings out great literature.
Responding to a student’s question, Dr. Rukhsana Qamber said that students should write but avoid writing carelessly, and the way you present should convey a message. She said that the message in journalism is quick, but in literature words are more important.
To another question, Professor Zulfikar Ghose said that literature in the last 600 years depicts reality with style. He opposed labelling a writer’s style, as for example he was called once a magical realist in the South American tradition, but for him that had no meaning.
A German diplomat, Dr. Thomas Ditt, observed that one should write in one’s mother tongue or national language.The news