AD's English Literature : January 2011

Milton's Use of Epic Simile in Paradise Lost, Book-I

"Three poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy and England did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd;
The next in majesty; in both the last:
The force of Nature could no further go;
To make a third she join'd the former two."

John Dryden (1631 - 1700)

 
Epic simile is, in simple words, an elaborate comparison that travels beyond the point of comparison and gives a complete poetic picture of some scene or incident suggested to the mind of the poet. They are used for illustration and ornamentation. They add dignity to the style. Such long-tailed similes stand by itself illuminating and beautifying much more than the ordinary narrative.

Analysis of the Character of Rosalind, the heroine of William Shakespeare's As You Like It

          
 In his tragedies William Shakespeare excels in the characterization of tragic heroes, in the comedies his artistic excellence is well marked in the portrayal of woman characters. ‘’They are the sunlight of the plays obscured at times by clouds and storms of melancholy and misdoing, but never subdued or defeated.” the world of Shakespearean comedy is world made safe for women. In Rosalind, the heroin of As You Like It, there is true womanliness with heroic courage and feminine charm, with strength, brilliance, unselfishness and high spirit. She is ideal of what we will wish the woman of our heart to be. She has been romantically drawn with great artistic skill. 

Joseph Addison as a Social Critic with Special Reference to Mischiefs of Party Spirit

  XVI. Mischiefs Of Party Spirit
Essays From Addison edited by J H Fowler Spectator No. 50, April 27, 1711

 

Addison ’s essays, his chief title to fame, are charming and delightful in themselves, and are of great importance for the influence which they had not merely upon literature but upon life and manners.His writings are of all good tastes of life. Here is sweet pool of imagination combined with acute objective writing. Sometimes like a social critic and a satirist he attacked all human vices, frailties, vanities, affectations etc., but his attacks were not fierce; ferocious, or bitter. “He attacked the little vanities, and all the big vices of his time, not in Swift’s terrible way which makes us fell hopeless of humanity, but with a kindly ridicule and gentle humour which take speedy improvement for granted” (Saintsbury). In his present essay Mischiets of Party Spirit Addison focuses on the evils that are escalating in the society through a jealous adherence to narrow and parochial party interests as practiced by various political parties and personages.

An Analysis of The Hungry Stone By Rabindranath Tegore as a Romantic Story




The Hungry Stone is a romantic tale of wonder and mystery. 
Salient features of romanticism in The Hungry Stone.

The Hungry Stone is a romantic tale impressing us by bold invention and appealing to that taste for the supernatural. Spectral and mysterious as the atmosphere of the story is, it is made to look credible. Tagore affects this with the help of lovely strokes of the brush. Realistic descriptions of nature, little human touches here and there, and interposition of day and night – all these produce an effect of probability on the mind and make us feel the hard earth beneath our feet. Tagore has succeeded in effecting an organic blend between the natural and the supernatural and rousing us up to the sublimity and intangibility of an ethereal terror that enchants rather than repels.

Analysis of Hell in Paradise Lost ,Book-I by John Milton



Of all the narrative passages in Paradise Lost, Book-I , John Milton’s description of Hell stands out unique by virtue of its graphics pictorial quality and its evocation of a sense of gloomy terror. Though Milton was aware of the Renaissance concept that heaven and hell are no specifics topographical locals, but states of the mind itself, he clings to the medieval concept of Hell of having topographical entity. Milton presents Hell as a place designed for the eternal punishment of the fallen angels. Hell is a place for removed from the celestial seat of bliss. It is situated in the nethermost depth of abyss, and it takes nine days and nights to fall into this dreadful pit from heaven. Hell is an assemblage of all the arbitration human emotions – pains, despair, envy, restlessness, heartlessness, heartburn etc. This scene of barren desolation is thus described by Milton
          “A Dungeon horrible on all rides round,
          Serves only to discover sights of woe ….”
Here is sinister wilderness, ‘a dismal situation waste and wild’. While Satan surveys Hell as far as he can see and observe, He finds it a vast, gloomy and dreary region. It is like a huge underground prison house terrible to behold.

Analysis of Thomas Hardy's The Darkling Thrush -- A Darkling Hope



In the sense of brevity and descriptive art The Darkling Thrush is the masterpiece of Thomas Hardy which at the same time expresses his mixed reaction - pessimism and optimism for the coming generation. At the fag end of the nineteenth century, i. e.  on 31st December 1900, the last day of 19th century , the day the poem is composed, the poet is somewhat listless. The vast desolate winter atmosphere and lifelessness create a fit occasion to give rise in the poet’s mind to the central thought embodied in the poem- a pensive  reflection to life and society.

Of Studies by Francis Bacon -- the Theme and Style of the Essay

Of Studies is the first essay of the first collection of ten essays of Francis Bacon which was published in 1597. But it was revised for the edition of 1612. More than dozen new sentences were added and some words were also altered. Of Studies is typically Baconian essay with an astonishing terseness, freshness of illustrations, logical analysis, highly Latinized vocabulary, worldly wisdom and Renaissance enlightenment.

Bacon through a syllogistic tripartite statement begins his argument to validate the usefulness and advantage of study in our life. Bacon has the power of compressing into a few words a great body of thought. Thus he puts forward the three basic purposes of studies: “Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability”. He later expands his sentence to bring lucidity and clearness. Studies fill us delight and aesthetic pleasure when we remain private and solitary. While we discourse, our studies add decoration to our speech. Further, the men of study can decide best on the right lines in business and politics. Bacon deprecates too much studies and the scholar’s habit to make his judgment from his reading instead of using his independent views.

Latin Loan Words in English language.

              

  The language formation is a continued process of growth and decay. The phenomenon of borrowing words and word-formation is the way of enriching one language. In the history of 1500 years English language has various foreign borrowing that is instrumental in the development of the English vocabulary. Contact with other cultures through conquest, and collaborations the sociopolitical circumstances, the need to explain new ideas have been the main reasons for borrowing words from various resources. Alike Celtic, Greek, French and Scandinavian borrowing, Latin loans are very important in the enrichment of English language.

Slang is an Integral Part of Any Language – This is Also True for English.



Words are vehicles for the conveyance or expression of thoughts and ideas, and they only mean what we choose to make them mean. Thus we have babu English , slum English , slang English etc.  Now let's locate what slang are.

The slang words as it is defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as language of a highly colloquial type, considered as below the level of educated standard speech and consisting either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense. Slang is mainly the creation of those who despite or disregard convention and hanker after novelty of expression in the belief that it shows independence and originality.

Old English Heroic poem (Beowulf and others) : Anglo Saxon pagan poetry: Pre- Christian poetry



 The Anglo Saxons and the Jutes, of Germany bring among them their language, paganism and their district warrior traditions as they invades the Roman colony of Britain in the fifth and sixth century. The Anglo Saxons are fierce and adventurous people with the fonaness of war and love for the blue sea. Their manliness, heroism and hard toil are exhibited in Anglo Saxon heroic poetry. Here we come across a generally elevated elevating, and male centered literature, one which lays stress on the virtues of a tribal community, on the ties of loyalty between lord and liegeman, on the significance of individual heroism, and on the powerful sway of ‘wyrd’ or fate.

The Kite by William Somerset Maugham is a study of Oedipus complex ?




The name of Oedipus has been borrowed from the classical story of king Oedipus who unknowingly married his own mother and had children by her. The psychologists, Sigmund Freud and others use the term Oedipus complex for ‘a manifestation of infantile sensuality in the relations of the child to its parents. It is a state in which a person shows excessive affection for the parent opposite in sex to him or herself, and corresponding distance from others’. A great part of his life is actually controlled by this subconscious desires and passions, over which he has no control.

Significance of ‘Porter Scene’ in Macbeth

   
The porter scene or the discovery scene (Act II Scene III) in Macbeth has attracted many critical commentary and conjecture. It comprises of two climaxes – the comical porter’s apparently irrelevant and tipsy comments and the discovery of the treacherous murder of Macbeth’s guest, King Duncan. Now, let us examine from close quarter the importance of this scene.

Aphoristic Style of Francis Bacon -- Illustrations from the Essays


 Terseness of expression and epigrammatic brevity are the most obvious characteristics of Bacon’s style

 In matter of style Francis Bacon is professedly a Senecan. Though Cicero was the acknowledged master of Renaissance prose, Bacon realized that intricate effects of the ornate copious style that characterized Cicero could not be fully realized in the English language. So far, the great defect in English prose had been its prolixity and diffuseness. Bacon put an end to this. He preferred a probative authenticity of an aphoristic prose style. His prose is characterized by brief, pithy sentence units. His language has the terseness of expression and epigrammatic shortness. Indeed, Bacon comes very close to the Lypsian brevity. The concept of brevity which affected Lypsius certainly influenced Bacon and accordingly brevity is the soul of Bacon’s essay. It is because of a cryptic compression in Bacon’s style that he is described by Joseph Hall as the English Seneca. His essays show some of the finest feats of compression.

An Analysis of Rabindranath Tagore’s "The Hungry Stone" as a Supernatural Story


With the progress of civilization we have learnt many things-- explored newer worlds, yet the mystery of death remains vogue. We have the infinite query – what’s after death? The rhythm of life and its saga, its pleasures and sorrows are trapped into the eerie patter of the mystery of death. Rabindranath Tagore’s supernatural stories depict this aspect. His Hungry Stones, Nisithe, Sampatti Samarpan etc are few of the exquisite examples.

Shakespeare’s Treatment of the Supernatural Element in "Macbeth"



The witches in Macbeth are more symbolic than supernatural

The employment of the supernatural device to arouse the sense of mystery and horror on the stage was very common in the Elizabethan age. The existence of the ghosts, spirits, and fairies was fairly believed at that time both by the ignorant and the learned alike. Whether Shakespeare held that notion or not is a matter of dispute but his are the plays replete with such beliefs. Owing to several dramatic purposes and needs, the supernaturalism in Shakespearean plays is both subjective and symbolic. In Macbeth, the darkest of the Shakespearean plays, is considerably distinguished by its subjective and symbolic interpretations. Its employments serve to intensify the already accumulated dark atmosphere of the play in concern. The supernatural elements in this play comprises of the witches, the ghost of Banquo and other ominous portents noticed just before the murder of Duncan, the king of Scotland

An Analysis of P.B.Shelley's "To a Skylark"


Shelley, the supreme lyricist in the romantic period always longs for something ethereal, something that is far beyond the ‘sphere of sorrow’. His ‘To a Skylark’ is, as Wordsworth puts in “the expression of the highest to which the poet’s genius has attained”. It is one of the “most marvelous of English lyrics” ever written. It is the expression of a genius who sings “In profuse strains of unpremeditated art”.

Critical Appreciation of T.S.Eliot's " The Waste Land": The Poem That We Should Keep In Mind Before Attending Modern Materialistic Civilization!


Introduction: Having viewed the modern materialistic civilization from the view-point of spiritualism and Christian Existentialism, T.S. Eliot has represented his reaction in the form of this poem entitled The Waste Land. It is a symbolical poem composed in the style of poetic esotericism, “Formally the poem has been described as a much of ideas and as a poetic cryptogram”. As such his is the poem of myth and symbols, of a series of trains of thoughts whose parts look unconnected with one another.

The Epigraph: The poem bears an epigraph written partly in Latin and partly in Greek. The speaker in the epigraph says that he has noticed the Sibyl at Cymae hanging in a cage and wishing to die; but she could not die because she was almost immortal by virtue of a boon from Apollo. According to recent criticism, the Sibyl hanging in a cage represents the human soul hanging in the cage of Materialism. Being immortal, the soul can’t die. But it is highly miserable, since the materialistic man is constantly haunted by anxiety, cares, worries etc. he is all “fear in a handful of dust”.

TIMELINE OF ENGLISH LITERATURE - Age of Milton ( 1635- 1670)

           
Age of Milton
Major Historical and Literary events 
                                                 

1642 Civil war begins                                                         
1642 Closure of Public Theatre
1649 Charles I executed.
1653 Oliver Cromwell becomes Land Protector.
1658 Oliver Cromwell dies His son Richard succeeds.
1660 The Restoration begins (Charles II Accession)        
1660 Anne Marshall, first woman on English stage.            
1660 Theatre reopened.
1629 Milton’s Nativity Ode.
1631 Herbert’s Temple
1633 Milton’s L’Allegro, II Penserose.
1637 Milton’s Lycidas
1642 Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici

1644 Milton's "Areopagitica." English poet and writer John Milton publishes “Areopagita,” an essay espousing freedom of the press. Milton writes the piece in response to the censorship that is rampant in England at the time.
1659 Dryden’s The Death of Cromwell
1660 Samuel Pepys begins his diary. 

Critical Appreciation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s "Interpreter of Maladies"

                                                     
    Indian Diaspora :Diaspora is a term used for large scale migration of people from the country of their origin to other countries, either voluntarily or due to economic or political compulsions. When we speak of the Indian Diaspora we mean Indians settled in England, America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Similarly one can discuss the Caribbean Diaspora to England, Canada and France. Jhuma Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies  is Diasporic which highlights with sensibility, the terrible dilemma and divided feelings that a migrant from the Third World experiences in the West. The dilemma is: it is painful to stay but it is difficult to return. The migrant belongs to both worlds and at the same time to none.

Iconoclastic View of Bernard Shaw as it is Expressed in his Essay, "Freedom"


Freedom: It is a series of B.B.C. radio talks, delivered 18th June 1935. Printed in Freedom, London,1936

Bernard Shaw is by nature an individualist. He is a freelance, a rebel, an iconoclast, a destructive critic and a propagandist. All through his life he remains a tireless crusader against social injustice and unrighteousness. He speaks and writes with a determination to make himself heard and to keep his hearers alert. His present essay Freedom is a typical example of scores of hard-hitting ‘sermons’ he gives at every opportunity throughout his long life. With the ‘effectiveness of assertion’ G.B. Shaw’s essay Freedom serves for exposition, for debate, for persuasion, for satire as well as for diversion on the said topic of freedom.

An Analysis of Nissim Ezekiel's ‘Night of the Scorpion’


Nissim Ezekiel himself states that he is truly and basically an Indian poet as “India is simply my environment. A man can do something for and in environment by being fully what he is, by not withdrawing from it. I have not withdrawn from India”. He is a good observer and his observation is quick analytical and satirical. Taking such accounts, ‘Night of the Scorpion’ from the point of poetic expression, observation , Indian perception and experience is a brilliant poem.

Coleridge’s Mastery over the Art of Mixing the Unreal and the Real ; Natural and Supernatural with reference to "Christabel"

     Supernaturalism is an outstanding romantic quality. It gives certain poems an eerie atmosphere by virtue of which the romantic poetry is often called the “renaissance of wonder”. Coleridge (1772-1834) is one of the greatest of romantic poets who touched lightly on all the keys of poetic expression, but he remains unequaled in one sphere of poetry – that is supernatural. Before Coleridge supernatural element had applied in English literature (apart from drama) in the works of Horace Walpole, Mrs. Ann Radcliff and Monk Lewis. While planning a new volume of poems to be jointly written by Wordsworth and Coleridge, Coleridge undertook to deal with the supernatural. As he himself tells us in “Biographia Literaria” (1817): “It was agreed that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadow of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment which constitutes poetic faith”. Coleridge in his masterpieces like ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, ‘Kubla Khan’ and ‘Christabel’ has shown his unrivalled mastery in his treatment of supernaturalism. He has created the atmosphere with his ruthless exclusion of crudity and sole reliance on subtle suggestive means. The remark that “the thing attempted in Christabel is the most delightful in the whole field of romance: Wicker by daylight” – indicates the peculiar quality of the supernatural element in the poem. Now let us see how far Coleridge’s ‘Christabel’ is imbued with supernatural element.

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