This quote, from page 271, works both as the post title and as the topic I wanted to discuss. Bowden and Thursday are discussing the plot of Jane Eyre and how the "original" ending, with Jane going to India with St. John Rivers, is anticlimactic and how the story would have been much better if Jane and Rochester got married. I don't necessarily believe that we try to make art perfect, at least not all art. But that is the beauty of art, it can show any number of facets of life: perfect, realistic, grotesque, funny and sad.
History is the story of what happened. There can be different versions of that story, told from different point of views, but it's always what happened. Literature is what happened, what we wish happened or could happen, what we fear did or could happen. Books not only open up worlds we may not be able to visit but it let's us see the world from all different points of view, more than history could ever provide. I think literature takes from all other areas of study, science, philosophy, history (as I may have already mentioned once or twice) but it really doesn't give too much back to those subjects, other than perhaps igniting an interest in these other fields. Philosophical lessons, like those of Aesop, are told through fables and tales. I've been speaking of literature specifically, but this extends to all forms of art, high and low. The TV show CSI and similar shows sparked an increased interest in forensic science as well as creating the CSI Effect where "jurors hold unrealistic expectations of forensic evidence and investigation techniques". The point is art affects the "real world" while at the same time shining light back on it.
On a separate note, I wonder if this is just something I do or indicative of a larger theme, but when I referred to female characters I called them by their first name but when I talked about male characters I called them by their last name. This could also simply be because this is how the book lays the characters out but who knows.
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Penguin Group, New York. 2001
"The “CSI effect”:Television dramas that rely on forensic science to solve crimes are affecting the administration of justice." The Economist. April 22, 2010. http://www.economist.com/science-technology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15949089