It is a global truth that those nations which are economically stable have a wide scope in the field of literature, whether it is in English, in American or in their native language. The United States and The United Kingdom, for instance, produce the most number of best-sellers for writing is not just a hobby but a serious occupation. Consequently, everyone knows the great masters of literature and their styles like Edgar Allan Poe, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, James Joyce, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, and many more. Writing as a career did not even decline as time passes by because readers all over the world have continually supported them. Critical readers have seen and praised the great works of contemporary writers such as J.K. Rowling, Danielle Steele, Robert Ludlum, and the like. Writers in the US produce volumes of novels and other books not only because their country is economically sufficient but also because the writers themselves have the mastery of the language-the English language. However, non-English-speaking nations have also produced great masterpieces in English. We see Indian masters of literature like Kamala Markandaya, R.K. Narayan, Raja Rao, and Khushwant Singh. Though they are Indian nationals, they have written novels in English which are widely acclaimed as masterpieces of world literature.
In other non-English-speaking nations, though most of their literary works are written in their native tongue, the quality of their literature is indeed excellent, if not considered masterpieces. Their masterpieces' forms and contents are undoubtedly unique and unrivalled even with English-speaking nations' writings. Russian writers such as Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, and Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Japanese writers like Yukio Mishima, Murakami Haruki, Kenzaburo Oe and Yasunari Kawabata are only the few who have shown the world that literature is not merely for the English-speaking nations but for all human beings "who have fought the flesh, only to discover that there are more terrifying problems of the spirit."
Undeniably, literature has been with humans since the dawn of time. In the countries mentioned, teaching literature as a work of art is considered one of the challenging tasks that a teacher must face. The philosophical truth that literature reflects life has always been challenged by those who believed that literature is not a passive field of study but an active one. Literature may and can change the world, as John Viscount Morly (1838-1923) stated, "literature is the most seductive, the most deceiving, and the most dangerous of all professions." His statement fairly sums it all up why writers have always embraced and loved literature-as a field of study, as a profession, and as a work of art.
In the Philippines, the Golden Period of Literature in English, when the country has produced a great number of National Artist in Literature and other notable writers, is but a memory. At that time, names like Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Manuel E. Arguilla, NVM Gonzalez, Bienvenido Santos, Arturo B. Rotor, Amador Daguio, Rafael Zulueta da Costa, Kerima Polotan-Tuvera, Paz Marquez Benitez, Aida Rivera Ford, etc. ring a bell. Each name represents a distinct style in writing and each literary artist has inspired a modern contemporary Filipino writer of today. Inspired by these legendary Filipino writers, famous contemporary writers such as Jose Dalisay Jr., Edgardo Maranan, Conrado de Quiros, Charlson Ong, Gregorio Brillantes, and many more have sprung. Nowadays, literary artists from different walks of life have begun to inherit the glorious and grand task of writing about the Filipino way of life artistically. Undeniably, these people have embraced literature not just as a hobby or a way to escape reality but as a means of opening the eyes of their fellow Filipinos about the reality of life. While doing this, they never sacrificed the artistry of literature. They have believed that literature indeed is an art form which also has its purpose, not just as art for art's sake. Unfortunately, many Filipinos have misunderstood the statement that literature has a purpose for they have used literature merely as a motivating factor in studying the English language.
Today, the idea that literature can only be used as a springboard to language lessons is becoming passé. Educators, together with the people in the government and higher-ups, have started opening their eyes that literature should be approached as a work of art, and not only as a means to study grammar. One piece of evidence is the "re-marriage" of the language and literature in Philippine high schools. The Department of Education (DepEd) has begun mandating government high schools to teach literature as a masterpiece, as a work of art; thus, making the students realized the aesthetic value and social significance of a literary text. Certainly, literature may be of good help in studying grammar but it must be first approached as a separate lesson. It is a good thing that the government has done its part in declaring, though implicitly, that literature will forever remain in the curriculum of basic education.
In Central Luzon State University (CLSU), literature is being taught separately as a work of art. Generally, there are 2 literature subjects being taught in all degree offerings in the university, as mandated by the Commission on Higher Education in CMO No. 59 s.1996, namely: Introduction to Literature, & Philippine Literature in English. The College of Education (CED), with her Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSEd) major in English, is the only college which is offering more literature subjects, as well as language courses. Currently, the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) is opening her doors to students who would like to study the English language, as it evolves continuously, and Literature, as a form of art, with her Bachelor of Arts in Language and Literature (ABLL). The ABLL degree will commence accepting enrolees on School Year 2011-2012. Henceforth, there will be two degree offerings that would primarily study the English language and the Literature of the world.
However, the proponent of this proposal observes a problem that might later on give a substantial hindrance not only in the execution, implementation and accreditation of the ABLL degree but also to the professors who will be handling the major subjects and to the ABLL students most especially, i. e. the need for a literature center to support the ABLL program as well as the individuals concerned.
Noteworthy to say, international universities, such as Harvard University, have literature centers or their counterparts such as creative writing centers to support and promote literature in their respective departments and programs. In Manila, De La Salle University (DLSU) has her Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center (BNSCWC) to serve as an outlet for the promising writers of the country as well as to promote literature not only throughout the university but throughout the nation as well. In the Philippine Normal University (PNU), in the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, the Department of Linguistics, Bilingual Education and Literature (LBEL) has her own library, aside from the library of the university, to cater to the needs of AB/BSE Literature majors, and the professors as well, in studying the major works of literary masters of the world and of the country. Truly, these universities have seen the needs of their children beforehand.
In CLSU, fortunately, the language program is being supported abundantly. Even before the approval of the ABLL, the professors of the BSEd English majors have already focused on training them in the English language. Consequently, CLSU has its Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR) which is based in the College of Arts & Sciences. It has been conceived to cater to the English communication needs of students, professionals and non-professionals inside and outside the University. It also encourages and accommodates language researches. CLEAR takes pride of its competent lecturers in all aspects of language skills developments. These teachers are also proficient in technical report preparations, editing, and script-writing as well as coaching for program-hosting. Thus, the language programs of both ABLL and BSEd have a solid foundation, which can also stand for reinforcement and outlet for any endeavour the students and other professionals would like to undergo in the area of the English language. Implicitly, Literature does not have its home in the area and specialization of the CLEAR.
Even in the field of humanities, Literature does not have its own place. The Department of English & Humanities have always focused on Fine Arts, i.e. painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, engraving, etc. Pieces of evidence for this partiality is the DEH's initiation and creation of activities such as "Littheatour," "The Thespian Nights," and "The Melpothalian Knights Show" (coinages for contests of play presentations), and "Street Dancing" (a contest in exhibiting different types of dances). Subsequently, the university has created "The Museum of the First," a museum that shows antiques in the province of Nueva Ecija, as a means of support for the promotion of arts in CLSU and also as a means of recognition to the humanities section of the DEH.
In the university, research centers cater more to applied science and academic researches. There is no office which may accommodate literary studies, nor Philippine studies, nor even cultural studies. Indeed, literature seems to be out of place not only in the Department of English & Humanities, or College of Arts & Sciences herself, but also in the university as a whole.
Forlornly, the proponent has thoroughly perceives that in the field of English only the language aspect has been systematically and wholeheartedly well-looked-after; in the field of humanities, fine arts are the only considered artistic; and, in the field of researches, the sciences are the only ones prevailing. Literature has been disregarded, if not totally ignored. The university indeed needs to update her priority fields. With her evolution as an international university, she must completely be aware of her inadequacies, especially in the field of literature, so she can suffice everything her students and professors need to be able to join the ranks of critically acclaimed Filipino writers, if not to be able to compete with foreign literary writers.
With these in mind, the proponent finds it timely to set up a "Literature and Literary Studies Center (LLSC)."
The Literature and Literary Studies Center's main objective is to serve as support for the literature programs of Central Luzon State University.
Specifically, LLSC should be able to:
1. be the center for literary researches, and to accommodate the literary studies of professors and students of CLSU;
2. provide a library of canonical books and literary writings of contemporary Philippine writers as well as foreign writers for the students and professors of literature in CLSU;
3. collect foreign and Philippine classical films and film adaptations of masterpieces in the field of literature, so students and professors may easily access these in reinforcing the discussion inside the classroom;
4. produce a literary folio which would exhibit the creative writings of both professors and students in CLSU;
5. initiate creative writing competitions, such as story writing and poetry writing, to sharpen the potentials of the students in writing literary pieces; and,
6. provide additional lecture for students of literature.
A. Literary Research
The LLSC shall be the center for literary researches. It shall be the outlet for of students' and professors' critical papers that can be found of quality. The center shall also promote and encourage literary researches on classical and contemporary literature through seminars and workshops. Submitted literary researches shall be subject to examination prior to its publication. If they are found publishable, researches shall be published in the Literary Folio.
B. Literature Center / Library
The LLSC shall have its own collections of canonical novels and award-winning contemporary books. The library shall serve as knowledge resource and support for the BSEd and ABLL students as well as the professors who teach literature subjects.
Moreover, the Literature Center shall also promote primary sources in literary researches. With the dawn of internet, students have learned to surf the net and find the information they need quickly. They have learned to consume more information and accept other people's ideas. Consequently, they have forgotten to formulate their own hypothesis, their own theory on literature. The literature center aims to change this, i.e. information from the internet should come from the students themselves.
Looking forward, the library shall be a very helpful venue for students, faculty and the university not only in terms of academic studies and research but also in the future accreditation of Bachelor of Arts in Language and Literature.
C. Audio-Visual Collections
The LLSC shall be responsible for the acquisition and preservation of classic films. The films that would be part of the LLSC shall be both from the Philippines and from other foreign countries that can be helpful in the study of literature or culture. Admittedly, movie adaptations of literary classics and contemporary works have been helpful in motivating students to read. Also, these films may be subjected to comparative studies.
D. Literary Folio
The LLSC shall collect and publish the creative writings and literary researches of both the professors and students of CLSU. The Literary Folio shall be the outlet of promising writers both in the field of criticism and creative writing. Published articles and creative works shall be the property of the LLSC; thus, the LLSC shall own the copyright of the published materials. With enough articles and fund, the LLSC shall produce its literary folio annually.
E. Writing Competitions
The LLSC shall promote creative writing through initiating writing competitions such as short story writing, poetry writing, essay writing, script-writing and playwriting competitions. The winners of these competitions shall automatically be published in the Literary Folio.
In addition, since the LLSC's home college is the College of Arts & Sciences, the winners of these competitions shall be the representatives of the college in other collegiate writing competitions. Likewise, the university may also choose from among the winners the representatives for the Development Council of State Universities and Colleges III (DCSUC III) Literary-Musical Festival and other national press conferences.
F. Tutorial Sessions / Seminars
The LLSC shall also provide group or one-on-one lectures to help the students have basic knowledge in creative writing, literary theory and criticism, and the like. The center shall also be responsible in conducting lecture/seminar for the teachers of literature both within and outside CLSU.
IV. LLSC PERSONNEL
The LLSC shall be headed by a Director, whose main job is to formulate new projects and proposal with regards to literature, and also, supervise the accomplishments of the annual projects of the center such as the literary folio, writing competitions and seminars.
The director shall be appointed by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The director shall assign qualified teachers to personally deal with the different components of the LLSC. He / She shall also be responsible to any committee needed by the LLSC to accomplish all the projects the center has planned during the school year.
V. PROPOSED OFFICE
The Office of the Literature and Literary Studies Center shall be in the main building of the College of Arts & Sciences, CLSU, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, 3120, Philippines.
The old office of the Department of English & Humanities which is now divided into two offices, The Reading Laboratory and Faculty Room, shall be the proposed Office of the Literature and Literary Studies Center. The Faculty room shall be the temporary LLSC Office to avoid further expenses. Moreover, the office is indeed appropriate to be placed beside the Reading Laboratory since reading is a vital aspect of literature.