Connecting Literature to Other Art Forms

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Finding Meaning in Visual Media: Strategies & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Literature as Art
  • 1:00 Music and Literature
  • 2:57 Literature and Visual Arts
  • 3:55 Literature and Painting
  • 5:20 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katie Surber

Katie has a Master's degree in English and has taught college level classes for ten years.

In this lesson, we will explore how literature is connected to other art forms, including music, photography, and painting. We will also discuss how artists influence each other.

Literature Is Art

How do you define art? Take a few seconds and think about this. Is art something that is painted and then hung in a museum? Is it photographs that people take and publish in magazines? Or is it a classical music score? What about literature? Is this something that comes to mind?

Literature is art! Art can be defined as communication between an artist and the audience. When an author writes, he takes words to create a story to communicate to us. Through this story, we are able to create a picture of the characters, visit new places, and find meaning in what could be seen as simple events. An author's writing style is her platform for sharing art.

It is important to see how literature is art by itself, but also as a form of art that connects to other types of art. It can be seen in music, photography, and painting. These arts influence each other.

Music and Literature

Most of us listen to music at least once a day. Each of us probably has a certain type of music we like or a favorite artist. There may even be some of us who are completely devoted to a certain band or musician. Have you ever thought about music as literature?

First, music is poetry. Like other types of poems, music has a pattern, style, imagery, and rhythm. If you were to look at the lyrics of a song, chances are they would look like a poem.

Second, literature and music often reflect the same social concerns. For example, during the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement of the 1920s, the major authors, such as Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, were influenced by jazz. At the same time that these authors were confronting issues of racism and oppression, jazz musicians were overcoming many of these same themes. Black musicians no longer allowed the style of music or instrument to define who they were. In addition, this style of movement became more mainstreamed.

We have continued to see similar relationships between music and literature throughout history. Another example is the Vietnam War era. While the authors were writing books against the war, questioning the idea of war, and looking at the effects on the soldiers, musicians were doing the same. Some of the most popular music during this time spoke of peace, the cry for the end of war, and the urgency to do better for our young soldiers.

Finally, music is used in literature. Because we are connected to music in our everyday lives, we can learn about the characters through the music used. The characters may listen to a certain type of music that could set the scene or use music to describe their feelings and actions. Just as we would listen to a certain song because of our mood, the fictional characters would do the same. The author may use music in literature to help set the mood and tone of the scene.

Literature and Visual Arts

Because music is also written, it may be easier to see the connection to literature. However, literature is connected to more than just other written art. It is also influenced by visual arts, such as photography and cinema.

We often see literature in photography, including movies. Artists have often tried to capture the essence of a novel or poem through picture. Think of some of the movies based on novels: The Great Gatsby, World War Z, Twelve Years a Slave, and The Fault in our Stars. We've even seen novels and books turned into television series.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account