Liberal Humanism is a philosophical stance which concentrate on the values and capacities of human beings. The focus of this philosophical stance is to foster a good worldly life rather than worrying about the spiritual life. The literary theories that support liberal humanism are used to evaluate any piece of literature by measuring the moral values it contains.
Any literary work can be judged by comparing its moral worth with other work. The literary work which inculcate the importance of self-improvement by the means of self-examination, is considered as a good literature. Peter Berry in his book explains the main ten tenants of liberal humanism. Let us have a brief look at them.
A good literature is one whose importance does not fade away with the passage of time. Its importance always remains constant at any age.
- Meaning out of context
A good literature always has meanings beyond its context and background. The core moral of a good literature can strike the cords of its readers even beyond its social, cultural, historical, and national context. It will have the same value even if its original context is unknown.
The right way to evaluate any text is to read it objectively and in complete vacuum with no presuppositions and prior assumptions. The intervention of subjectivity will possibly disturb the process of unbiased evaluation.
The purpose of literature is to depict the constant human nature; therefore, it has more importance because everything changes except the human nature.
Everyone posses his/her own unique individuality. It is an essence that is beyond the impact of experience, language, and society.
- Life’s Reflection
A good literature is free from all propagandas. Its purpose is just to reflect human life and to enhance it in a non-propagandistic way.
- The Form and Content
In a good literature, there is no discontinuity and gulf between its form and content. They both are fused naturally to create a good literature.
The language of literature is an open evidence of its sincerity. The language of a good literature is never cliché ridden or unnecessarily embellished.
- Tells as well as shows
The significance of literature is that it not only tells or informs, it also demonstrates what it preaches.
The criticism should be used just as a tool to mediate between the literary text and the reader, without theorizing any particular means.