Writers have often been asked to explain the purpose of literature. What, the question may have been posed, (sometimes by writers themselves), is the point of writing? Why do writers write? And despite all of ways in which literature may of use to others, perhaps the most immediate and honest response would be that they write because they have to. They write who must. “It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing” , Robert Hass explains to us. Writing is perhaps, as Rilke, described, in a passionate letter to a Franz Kappus, a young man uncertain about entering a literary career, a “calling” ; and those on whom such a vocation alights “would have to die if … forbidden to write.”
Yong Jie reflects on thoughts provoked by Calvino‘s The Uses Of Literature.