Is literature a private utterance or a communal act? Is it inspired by the great collective mind of humanity, or is it the idiosyncratic articulation of the individual imagination? Does it have the human at its heart, or does it reflect the infinitesimal nature of the human in the face of a vast, impersonal and hostile universe? Is it an act of faith or is it a secular enterprise? Is it a discrete and distinct archive or is it entwined with the ritualistic and functional dimensions of human life? We will examine these questions through key literary texts in various genres across various historical periods. Literature in English will be the core of our inquiry, but we will pay attention to its larger contexts as and when necessary. Texts by Homer, Plato, Sophocles, Milton, Shakespeare, Pope, Wordsworth, Woolf, Mansfield, Joyce, Coetzee, etc.