AD's English Literature : December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Antony in William Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra": A Man with Magnificient Rhetoric



Antony: That which is now a horse, even with a thought
The rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct,
As water is in water.

In the very extensive, various and fluid text, the imagery cosmic magnitude, Antony is a man with magnificent rhetoric. He is the observed of all observers. While Antony journeys to Rome, three separate groups – Caesar and Lepidus, Cleopatra and her servants, Pompey and his followers – about little else but Antony. He is judged from a variety view points. We entertain a complex image of Antony or perhaps a series of different complementary images of him, in a way that we scarcely do of Hamlet, Othello, Lear or Macbeth. In this respect the play has much more in common with Coriolanus and Timon of Athens, the question being not the tragic action but what sort of men Antony, Coriolanus and Timon are in these three Plutarchan tragedies, where the heroes are subjected to prolonged ethical scrutiny in which praise and blame are mixed. Antonym has surrendered to passion, to a life dominated by will and impulse and is consequently at the mercy of fortune. When he insists on fighting the crucial battle on sea he is making yet another symbolic choice of throwing away his absolute soldership and committing himself to instability. He struggles for life in an amorphous  ways and becomes hollow, watery, void and unreal, a victim of the moment. To him life has become a succession of phantasmagorical moments in which mere phenomenal experience is all he has.

Cleopatra in Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra": a Complex Inscrutable, Indefinable Heroine


Cleopatra: Celerity is never more admir'd
Than by the negligent.

Cleopatra embodies mystery. Shakespeare chose to keep her feminine mystique inexplicable in Antony and Cleopatra. She is, in turn, vain, sensual, violent, cruel, bawdy, cowardly, beautiful, witty, vital, intelligent, a strumpet, a gipsc, a lass unparalleled, a triumphant lady, royal wench, a great fairy, a rare Egyptian. She is all these and more – a source of Perini fascination.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Subject of Death in English Poetry

"Philaster: Oh, but thou dost not know
What 'tis to die.
Bellario: Yes, I do know, my Lord:
'Tis less than to be born; a lasting sleep;
A quiet resting from all jealousy,
A thing we all pursue; I know besides,
It is but giving over of a game,
That must be lost.
"--
Beaumont & Fletcher 


‘O eloquent just and mighty Death’, cried Sir Watter Raleigh in his book – titled so very appropriately -  A History of the World. It is indeed less a history of morality than of mortality, of Thanatos or the Freudian death wise rather than of Eros or the primal love instinct. The consciousness  that death is the ultimate reality, that man’s  life is a short journey from womb to tomb , that man’s very birth is again painfully and paradoxically – the beginning of the end , the death and the intellectual , the virtuous and the vicious has led man to resignation and stoicism, to theology and philosophy.Read More about Poetry   In short dominates his entire life. If poetry be the mirror of life, it will be the re – moldings of reality, if be the effusion of emotions, poetry can certainly not ignore this vital  reality, to some ‘the only reality’. ‘Doth poetry wear Venus Livery?’ asked Herbert, and indeed poetry wears the sable shroud of death too. Death has led poets to write elides and threnodies carpediems and carpe florems and to a host of other poems of non – distinctive genres.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Science Fiction: A Brief History of It's Development

Introduction: Science Fiction is the current name for a class of prose narrative which assumes an imaginary technological or scientific progress, or depends upon an imaginary change in the human environment. Such narrative were first labeled “Science Friction” by the American magazine of the 1920’s, though the term previously used in Britain was ”Scientific Romance”, and many contemporary writers and critics preferred “Speculative Fiction”. Narrations of this kind are distinguished from other kind of fantastic narrative by the claim that they respect the limits of scientific possibility. It also referred to stories that appeared in cheap, so-called pulp magazines, but science fiction now appears in all media, including motion pictures, staged dramas, television programs, and video games, as well as short stories and book-length works.

The Development of the Theatres and Stages from Medieval Drama to Shakespeare’s Time


"HAMLET Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempest, and—as I may say—whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O! it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it."

The development of the theatres and stages from Medieval drama to Shakespeare’s time was revolutionary. The ‘mystry’ and ‘miracle’ plays as they came to be called, were performed on platforms, or carts, that moved around the city to various ‘stations’ where the audience gathered. In early years of Elizabeth’s reign groups of players performed where they could, indoors in hells or courts, but more frequently in the square on the yards of inns. The companies were all licensed by patronage of some great lord, for it unlicensed they were deemed ‘Rogues and Vagabonds’ according to a statue of 1598. the earliest playhouses, ‘The Real Lion’ and ‘The Theatre’ which had permanent stages, were built by 1576 outside the jurisdiction of the critic authorities. The ‘Globe’ the most spectacular of playhouses in Shakespeare’s times and the one patronized by Shakespeare’s himself, was built by Burbage operational by 1599. The leave for the level and the authorship of Globe was divided into two: fifty percent of assets by Cuthbent and Richard Burbage; the other fifty percent was apportioned among five other numbers including Shakespeare himself. It is the nature of contemporary play houses that usually determined Shakespeare’s choice of locale the descriptive language in the actors’ mouth as well as the fertile use of asides and soliloquies.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Analysis of Satire as a Literary Genre



“It's hard not to write satire.”- Juvenal (65? - 128?)
Roman poet.
Satires



Introduction: The word satire comes from Latin satura which means “medley” or “mixture,” and is related to the Latin adjective satur. The word also has its origin in the similar Greek term satyros. It was modified into satyra and then in English into satyre. Read More Poetry However, as a result of false etymology, the word was confused with satyr, and so took on the connotation of lasciviousness and crude mockery. In ancient times, however, it was agreed that satires were intended to tax weaknesses and to correct vice wherever found.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

S. T. Coleridge's Definition of Metre


"Poetry is not the proper antithesis to prose, but to science. Poetry is opposed to science, and prose to metre."--

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834)

Introduction: ‘Poetry’, declared Dr. Johnson, is metrical composition (Dictionary), and Poe described it more rapturously as ‘the rhythmic creation of beauty’ (The Public Principle), thereby making poetry and metre almost synonymous yet Wordsworth would feign deny metre the right to be equated with poetry. Even though he began his famous Preface with the declaration that he had attempted to provide pleasure by ‘fitting to metrical arrangement a selection of the real language of men’, and that ‘except with reference to the metre’ poetry was no different from prose, he later hastened to add that his use of metre was only in order to ‘superadd" poetry. The charm which by the consent of all nations, is acknowledge to exist in metrical language’. Wordsworth thus followed 18th century theory and saw metre as ‘superadded’ to poetry; its function is more nearly ornamental, a grace of style and not an essential quality. In contrast Coleridge saw metre as being organic, it functions together with all of the other parts of a poem and is not merely an echo to the sense or an artifice of style. Coleridge also examined the psychological effects of metre, the way it sets up patterns of exception that are either fulfilled or disappointed.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Obscenity and Censorship in Literature

Introduction: Obscenity, and its consequent censorship, is perhaps as old as literature itself. If Plato had pleaded for literary censorship, if the Roman Catholic church had come up with the Index Expurgatorial, and if the Elizabethan  period had its own politico-religious system of censorship, the 19th century and 20th centuries have been the champions of ‘moral’ censorship Wielding their excising sword especially on all trace of obscenity, latent or patent, obvious or farfetched, contextualized or in isolation.

Defining Rhetoric : THE AMORETTI (Sonnet 75): Edmund Spenser


THE   AMORETTI

                 Edmund Spenser - Sonnet 75

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
Vain man, said she, that doest in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name.
Where whenas Death shall all the world subdue,
Out love shall live, and later life renew.

“ One day I wrote her name upon the strand ’’

This a case of Hyperbaton because the normal order of wards has been changed .The ordinary syntactic order world have been  “I wrote her name upon the strand’’.

Defining Rhetoric :Sir Philip Sidney's ASTROPHEL AND STELLA ( Sonnet No 1)



ASTROPHEL AND STELLA( Sonnet No 1)
The best known of Sir Philip Sidney's sonnet sequence is  Astrophel and Stella (1591), a sequence of 108 sonnets celebrating an unrequited love affair.
Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she (dear She) might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain:
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burned brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows,
And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite—
"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart and write."


‘ Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show’----

 This is a case of Hyperbaton since the order of the second part of the verse has been inverted . Instead of "fain in verse my love to show ", it should be " fain my love to show in verse. "

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Horace’s "Ars Poetica": Horace’s concept of Decorum


Horace’s Ars poetica explains the difficulty and the seriousness of the poetic art, and gives technical advice to aspiring poets. Here he explains the main role of art. Here he defines decorum or in classicist conception par excellence. In fact, Horace prefers craft to nature, and in consequence emphasizes decorum – a studied and diligent attention to what is proper and becoming in thought, action and style. In a good poem action should fit character, and expression should so fit subject matter that grave issues are treated with dignity and trivial matters with humbleness. Thus beauty, according to the principle of decorum, is nothing but order and fitness. Yet, this principle, which is today synonymous with Horace, has its ultimate origin in the Greek doctrine of ideas or forms, especially Aristotle’s to propriety of style discussed in the Rhetoric. Later Cicero in the Orator defined the term in its general application to real life, oratory and poetry. Finally it was left to Horace to illustrate its specific application to poetry. One can today scarcely deny that it is Horace who in spite of never actually using the word ‘decorum’ – his favourite word being literary propriety – transformed it into an all embracing critical doctrine.

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