English education in India has largely depended on the teaching of literature. In recent years, there has been a shift of emphasis from teaching literature to language. The relationship between literature and English language teaching has been rather a difficult marriage throughout all these years. While English language teaching adopted a structural approach in many situations, literature was taught as a separate subject. Nevertheless, current approaches have endeavored to re-examine the value of literature and have begun to uphold its worth again. These approaches assert the value of literature teaching from several aspects, primarily, literature as an agent for language development and improvement. Literature is a verbal art that leads readers to appreciate the beauty of language.
Literature is used in English Language teaching to broaden students’ horizons by giving them a knowledge of the classics of literature, to improve student’s general cultural awareness, to stimulate students’ creative and literary imagination, and to develop their appreciation of literature. Literary texts offer a rich source of linguistic input and can help learners practice the four language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – and exemplifying grammatical structures and presenting new vocabulary. The Literary texts provide opportunities for multi-social classroom experiences and can appeal to learners with different learning styles. Literature is beginning to be viewed as an appropriate vehicle for language learning and development since the focus is now on authentic language and authentic situations.