AD's English Literature : May 2012

"The Listeners" by Walter De La Mare as A Supernatural Poem


The Listeners by Walter De La Mare is a fine supernatural poem. It is, as T S Eliot called it, an 'inexplicable mystery'. It is a poem of haunting and the subtle way in which the poet binds the world of the supernatural is really worth praising. It is superb not only from the standpoint of artistic beauty with pretty words in a rhythm or rhyme, but also from that of the presentation of details and arrangement of incidents of the two worlds – the worlds of the humans and world of phantoms, a glimpse of something deep, another world created by words - never merge in the poem. The closed door nicely symbolizes the eternal gap between these worlds.

The Superiority of Women over Men: John Ruskin (1819-1900), English writer, art critic, and reformer’s Observations in Sesame and Lilies. Lecture II.—Lilies: Of Queens’ Gardens



According to John Ruskin (1819 - 1900), the place of women in society is much more dignified than even that of men. Ruskin hates the idea of treating women as mere shadow and attendant image of their lord.i.e. men. Really there is no difference between man and women. According to him, a woman is a dignified creature. He corroborates his opinion with the testimony of the great authors regarding the true dignity of women.

Analysis of Christopher Marlowe’s "Edward II" as a Historical Play


Man’s eternal quest is to know the unknown, to see the unseen and is to discover the undiscovered things. That’s the very spirit of the Elizabethan age. They have the nostalgia to sink into the historical past and fetch the pearl of spirit undaunted. Thus, Christopher Marlowe, the excellent Elizabethan writer squares the juice of historical background and unlocked them in full-throated ease in his play Edward II. He just poured the ‘new wine into old bottles’ and stimulates the dozing spectators into frenzied drunkards. So if anyone raises the question ‘Edward II – as a historical play’, we must not hesitate to apt for other answers.

Originality , Technique , Tradition ,Convention ,Dramatic Elements and Style of Shakespearean Sonnets


 "From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die."
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

The ‘suger’d sonnets of Shakespeare’, as Francis Meres lovingly called them, is and yet is not, in the tradition petrarchan or even Elizabethan sonneteering. Shakespeare’s involvement in techniques, structures, and themes that recurs the sonnets of his predecessors – in Petrarch, Spenser, and Sidney, for example – invariably bring Shakespeare’s uniqueness into relief. Shakespeare is seen to define himself in opposition to the conventional medium he ploys. Thus Shakespeare can be appreciated as a poet is deviates from, rather than conforms to, the norms imitate and modify: ‘when he is most Elizabethan he least Shakespearean’, declares Leishman (“Themes and reactions in Shakespeare’s Sonnets”). Shakespeare’s variations from the lyrical, ideational, semantic, and structural norms provide a measure of his art. The other poets participated in the sonnet tradition by imitating and adopting its conventions, Shakespeare set himself at a singular distance from which he alone roiled the characteristic tropes, modes and stances of sonneteers. Attempts to place Shakespeare within an invention, in other words, do precisely the opposite: they attribute to establishing his unconventional originality, uniqueness as creator.

Analysis of the Character of Natraj in R. K. Narayan's "Man Eater of Malgudi"



It is generally seen that the heroes of R. K. Narayan (1906-2001) are broad, reflective and going back to the past, grown nostalgic. In the Man Eater of Malgudi (1961)the central character Natraj similarly broods, reflects and grows nostalgic. S. R. Ramteki regards Natraj a timid cowardly person – “he is portrayed as cowardly submissive and good for nothing fellow”.

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" of James Joyce: MISCELLANEOUS objective questions Note 1


The York and the Lancaster group in the classroom: The Yorks and the Lanceasters were the opponents in the famous War of the Roses (1445 – 1485) – The symbol of York group was a white rose while that of the Lancaster group was a red rose. Here the class has been intentionally divided into two groups to stimulate competitiveness between the students. Stephen was the leader of the York group while Jack Hawton was the leader of the Lancasters.

In Father Arnall’s class the competition was to solve a difficult sum. But Stephen was defeated.

Book of Sir Walter Scott FASCINATES Stephen: The Bride of hammer moor.

Pernobilis et pervetusta familia :An illustrious and old family tradition.

“darkness falls from the air” and “brightness falls from the air":These lines are taken from Nash.

Stephen’s mother's Wish :Stephen’s mother wishes him to perform his easter duty. Stephen refuses by saying ‘I will not serve’ imitating Satan’s infamous ‘non serviam’.

How many children: Although Stephen is not certain, he feels that his mother must have given birth nine or ten children of whom some had dies.

Pascal, Gonzalo: Pascal is mentioned because he would not let even his mother kiss him from fear of contact with her sex and Gonzalo is mentioned because he was of the same opinion.

 ‘whited sepulcher’ : Jesus is here called a white sepulcher by Cranly. Jesus had himself called the Jews of his time whited sepulcher in the sense of conscious hypocrites. [Mathew (23:27)]

Mulier contat: A woman is singing.

‘still harping my daughter: The phrase is taken from Polonius’s utterance in Hamlet. [‘Still harping my daughter.]

Stephen speak of the spiritual heroic refrigerating apparatus of Dante A Alighieri: Stephen makes such comment about Dante because he objects to the denial of the body in live as in the Platonic love celebrated in Dante’s love for Beatrice in La Vita Nuova. 


Stephen into a ditch: Wells pushed Stephen into a ditch full of cold water because he refused to exchange his snuff box for Well’s seasoned lacking chestnut. It was a common game to break chestnut by striking one against the another. The seasoned hacking chestnut is one which has remained unbroken in spite of its breaking many other.
            The result is that Stephen fells sick.

The tram journey: While returning from the party Stephen finds that he is on the upper step while Emma is on the lower. He feels that passion and love well up for her and longs to touch her but being still a timid character he dares not to do. But this longing remains with him and affects his entire life.

Four Questions From Four Beautiful Poems: "Kubla Khan", "The Rime of The Ancient Mariner", "The Waste Land" and "The Prelude"



Q. Do you find Kubla Khan a broken dream unfinished?

Ans. Written in 1798, Kubla Khan was like Christabel unfinished and it also remained unpublished until 1816. It is the echo of a dream the shadow of a shadow. Coleridge avers that he dreams the lines, awoke in a fever of inspiration, threw words on paper, but before the fit was over was distracted from the composition, so that the glory of the dream never returned and Kubla Khan, remained unfinished. The poem, beginning with a description of the stately pleasure dome built by Kubla Khan in Yanadu, soon becomes a dream like series of dissolving views, each expressed in the most magical of verbal music, but it collapses in mid-career.  

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 17



a. An epic has been generally described as a long narrative poem, on a grand scale about the deeds of warriors and heroes, kings and gods. It is a polygonal heroic story incorporating myth, legend, folktale and history. Epics are mostly of national significance, since that they embody the history and aspirations of nations in a lofty or grandeur manner. An epic is a culture mirror with a fixed ideological stance, often reflecting the best noblest principles of nation’s ethos.
b. T.S. Eliot in The Waste land and Thomas Mauve in The Magic Mountain have both told the death knell of heroism, divinity, love and all nobler virtues in the post war modern world which portrayed, rightly enough, as a fragmented, hellish insubstantial circle of spiritual vacuity and ideals .
 c. Old and Middle English alliterative poems are commonly written in form of four-stress lines. Of these poems, William Langland’s The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, better known as Piers Plowman, is the most significant. 

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 16



 A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers ( Victorian Novel)

a. Charles Dickens was the most genuine story-teller of the complex life of London of his time, the greatest romancer of the life of the streets, workshops, and slums of which he had a direct personal knowledge.

b. The most impressive in Charles Dickens’ works is humour blended with pathos. Crime and villainy play a large part in his novels for he had a peculiar weakness for the ugly and eccentric characters.

c. Thackeray recaptures the Addisonian style, full of typical homely humour and light burlesque.

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" of James Joyce: MISCELLANEOUS objective questions Note 6



The fragment of Shelley Stephen would recall repeatedly at the beginning of his adolescence:
            Art thou pale for weariness
            Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth
            Wandering companionless …….. ? [To the Moon]

A great Fisher of souls: St. Ignatius Loyola.

The three forms of beauty mentioned by Stephen from Aquinas:           Wholeness (integritas), harmony (consonantia), radiance (claritas).

Arnall delivers his lecture on theology: Father Arnall lectures on theology in the Belvedere Chapel on the occasion of the annual retreat preceding the feast day in honour of St. Xavier, the ‘apostle of the Indies’ and the patron saint of the college.

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" of James Joyce: MISCELLANEOUS objective questions Note 7



Record Stephen’s prayer to his old father, the cunning artifice: The entry on April 27.

Entry  refers to Stephen’s meeting with Emma: The entry on April 15.

 Stephen’s motto: ‘Non – serviam’, the motto of Satan.
            ‘I will not serve’.

The significance of the name Stephen Dedalus: The name Stephen Dedalus conjoins the first Christian martyr St. Stephen, stoned to death outside Jerusalem in 34 A.D. and the great pagan artificer – artist hero, Dedalus. Like St. Stephen, the hero of the novel is or atleast sees himself as, a martyr, a person whose potential spiritual dedication is thwarted by Ireland. His surname, however reminds us of the cunning artificer Daedalus who built for himself wings of wax and escaped from the labyrinth of crete. Stephen will also emancipate himself from the prison which Ireland has become to him. And he will do this not literally by going abroad but also spiritually soaring on the wings of art into the air (which is the medium of intellect and inspiration). While the reference of St. Stephen relates the martyr like condition of Stephen, that of the fabulous craftsman expresses his desire to release himself from the choking atmosphere of Ireland.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 15


A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers ( Victorian Novels)

a. Charles Dickens is easily the first of the Victorian novelists both in point of time and quantity. He made use of the novel as an instrument of social reforms; his novels are novels with a purpose.

 
c. David Copperfield is Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, - a fiction tinged with some autobiographical elements. 

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" of James Joyce: MISCELLANEOUS objective questions Note 5



Stephen’s University friends: Davin, Lynch, Cranly, Mc Cann.

The Jesuit school Stephen was admitted for the second time:Belvedere College.

Athy: Athy is Stephen’s companion in the infirmary at Clongowes. His father is a race horse owner.

The founder of the Jesuit Society: St. Ignatius Loyola.


Stephen travel to with his father : Stephen traveled to Cork with his father and found the word ‘Foetus’ etched on the desk of the college where his father had studied. He realized as a consequence that it was not he alone who was preoccupied with sexual themes.
sodality: A sodality is a devotional society in Roman Catholic Church. Stephen belonged to the sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary which was founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, who was the founder of the Jesuit society. Stephen was the leader of the sodality.

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" of James Joyce: MISCELLANEOUS objective questions Note 4



The lines which Stephen found in Doctor Cornwell’s spelling Book:

            Wolsey died in Leicester Abbey
            Where the abbots buried him
            Canker is a disease of  plants
            Cancer one of animals.

Dante taught Stephen:  Stephen believed that Dante knew a lot of things. She had taught him where the Mozambique chanel was and what was the longest river in America and what was the name of the highest mountain in the moon.

The colours of Dante's two brushes: Dante’s two brushes had two colours. The brush with the maroon velvet back was for Michael Davitt and the brush with green velvet back was for Parnell.

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" of James Joyce: MISCELLANEOUS objective questions Note 3



The images which symbolize liberation: The flight of birds, the voyage of sea-born clouds, the hawk like man flying sunward above the sea and the Holy Ghost.

The images which suggest bondage: The labyrinth of crete where Daedalus was confined the dark Corridors at Clongowes, the ‘maze of narrow and dirty Dublin streets, the net flung at the liberal spirits of Ireland.

‘confiteor’: ‘Confitear’, a Latin word, means ‘I confess’.

Francis Xavier: Saint Francis Xavier was one of the reputed preacher of Christianity. He was one of the first followers of St. Ignatius of Loyala whom he met at Paris and was greatly influenced by his preaching. Subsequently, he went to preach Christianity in Asia and other continents and converted almost ten thousand people in a month so he is called the Apostle of Indies. He was also the patron saint of Belvedere College, Stephen’s second
alamanater. The three day retreat in the school was held in his honour.

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" of James Joyce: MISCELLANEOUS objective questions Note 2



Ireland from which Stephen wants to escape:The labyrinth of create where Daedalus was confined, the old sow that eats her farrow are the images representing Ireland from which Stephen wants to escape.

Images which pull Stephen toward his vocation as an artist: The hawk like man flying sunward above the sea, the wonder girl standing alone in the midstream are the images which pull Stephen toward his vocation as an artist.

Stephen and Emma: With the beginning of his adolescence Stephen in the evenings would pore over Alexander Dumas’ Novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The story being very interesting to him he would compare himself with Edmond Dantes, the hero of the book and Emma with Marcedes, the heroine.

Catholic philosophers influenced Stephen’s thinking: Saint Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scoties, saint Ignatius of Loyala.

The women in many guises: Joyce has used women in three guises – mother, mistress and temptress. Mrs. Dedalus, Emma and the prostitute respectively are the representatives of the guises. The women in many guises stand as a block in the way of the free growth of Stephen’s vocation.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 14


A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

a. English philosopher and statesman Thomas More pens Utopia, satirizing British life in a story of a mythical, perfect society. More’s moral beliefs later cost him his life; after failing to support King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, More is executed.

b. James I of England commissions a revision of the English Bible, a 14th-century translation by John Wycliffe. The King James Version OR Authorised Version of the Bible, as it is called, is completed in 1611.
 
c. John Milton’s “Areopagita” is an essay espousing freedom of the press. Milton writes the piece in response to the censorship that is rampant in England at the time.

William Hazlitt’s Style : Reference to "On Gusto"



William Hazlitt has a sharp, idiomatic, familiar style. His is the pure diction and aphorism. Consciousness and propriety of words and phrases is a great characteristic of him. Its true’s to say in the least possible space. There is always in the style of Hazlitt a certain amount of refine taste which becomes his most marked characteristic. In whatever that Hazlitt did he had an enthusiasm and a courageous spirit. It was this that enabled him to say things with a conviction and spirited. He was keen to keep in his memory certain experiences that he had come across-books that he had read’, plays which he had seen; pictures that he had admired, actually, the fact was that he liked to say something’s he liked and to say them in his own way critically. In his present essay On Gusto, while defining artistic sensibility in the piece of art, he is fearlessly expressing an honest and individual opinion. He has his own enjoyment and his own gift for evoking unnoticed beauties. Here his judgments’ are based on his emotional relations rather than an objectively applied principle.

Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" Revealing Brutality of War


                             
The First World War brought into focus that aspect of human existence which had acute lament for a major part of the 19’Th century---war and patriotism. War has a hoary heritage since mankind has taken a perverse pleasure in that burial activity which is celebrated in the name of patriotism. The heroism age heroism and heroic poetry of the ages past were based on only one kind of heroism that displayed in the warriors courage and achievement in battle. It is Horace who had most perfectly and memorably articulated the notion of war being a glorious opportunity to die for one’s country: “dulce et decorum est propatria mori” (odes lll.ii, 13) what is however amazing is that the beginning of the 20th century none voiced a protest against the technological innovations to invent weapons of greater mass destruction.

As late as in 1915, when the first world war had already begin, Robert Broke, the celebrated ‘old-style war poet’ declared that war is clean and cleansing, that it was a grand change from all the little emptiness of love (peace), and that cleats in war was the supreme honour for a noble young man. It was therefore left to Wilfred Owen, a poet as well as a soldier, to reveal the brutality of war, fact that it is something which not only destroys the physiques, but more significantly de-sensitizes the fillings and devastates the psyche. In contrast to Brooke he would reveal war to be inhuman rather than superhuman, indeed as an occasion for ‘superhuman inhumanities’, of ‘immemorial shames’ (spring offensive). 

Dulce et Decorum Est is perhaps his single most severe indictment of mankind foisting of war as a display of patriotism and of innate courage. The poem begins in a vivid manner which is starting or even shocking in its presentation of the seamy and noisome quality of war: ‘Bent Double, like old beggars under sacks’, soldiers are no longer resplendent princes glorying in that display of youthful enthusiasm but senile and poverty – stricken creatures who caught like hags and curse like the rabble they have to trudge through ‘Sludgs’, rather than march smartly to the true of military bands. The war had deprived them of all their vitality and sensibility, They were ‘lame’, ’blind’, ’drunk with fatigue’, and ‘deaf’ to all sounds except perhaps the sound of shells to which they had developed a mortal fear. Many of them were in such a woebegone state that they knew not when they had lost their shoes and limped on, their feet caked with blood.

But the inert soldiers are suddenly goaded into action with the realization that gas shells were falling among them, pouring out noxious fumes. The transformation is shocking as well as revealing. The frenzy of action reveals that war reduces human beings to a beastly struggle for survival; their fervid action has been inspired not by line desire to achieve something noble, not by a quest for personal glory, but by an animal instinct for life. One of them however does not succeed in putting his helmet in time, and this has disastrous consequences. The poet –speaker looks on as a soldier seems to drown before his very eyes, the image of the green sea suggesting the gasping effort to breathe while becoming gradually submerged, His helplessness to this sight would subsequently haunt him even in his dreams.

The attention shifts from the speaker to the reader in the third stanza. The hitherto remote and seemingly nonchant auditor is boldly addressed with the personal pronoun ‘you’, and brought into the vortex of the action. He is his death-throes; watch the wagon which carries the lungs. Once the reader has vicariously felt that which the soldier has already experienced, be would never again enthusiastically declare that it is sweet and glorious to die for one’s country. He would realize that the Horatian statement was ‘the old lie’ perpetrated on generations of unsuspecting and foolishly innocent young men by war mongers.

Thus does Owen reveal the terrible truth behind the facile optimism about war and patriotism, what is however significant is that he does it not by dirty statement but by providing a briatlly realistic picture of war, so that the style and the subject matter are in perfect harmony.
  
  Ardhendu De

Victorian English Novel: Main Trends that made Novel a Phenomenal Progress


Of all the literary forms, the novel is one in which the approximation of literature to society life is the closest. This is particularly true of the Victorian novel. Indeed the social history of the era in its manifold aspects is reflected in the novels of the time. Many of the Victorian novelists broke new ground and explored fresh field which we should strive to illustrate here.

The Victorian age is essentially the age of novel. During this period novel made a phenomenal progress. This was partly because this essential middle-class form of literary art was bound to flourish increasingly as the middle class rose in power and importance, partly because of the steady increases of the reading public with the growth of lending libraries and partly because the novel was the best vehicle best equipped to present picture of life lived in a given society against a stable background of social and moral value by people.

John Donne's "A Nocturnal upon St.Lucy’s Day" : Expresses the Nadir of Suffering


John   Donne and his school are unique in the realm of English poetry by virtue of its amiability and erudition, feeling and thought, experience and education, As T.S Eliot so pertinently pointed out in the famous essays “The Metaphysical Poets”:” In Donne there is a direct sensuous apprehension of thought or a recreation of thought into feeling.” A poet of the intellect he garners images from diverse fields of education, an experience especially nature and religion –in order to express an emotion which world other wise have appeared either a cynic or a celebrant of love, as exemplified in The Song which declares that virtue and beauty cannot co-exist, or the Ecstasy, Which is a triumphant celebration of carnal and spiritual love. A Nocturnal upon St.Lucy’s Day is a poem which expresses the nadir of suffering. The death of beloved leads the poet to lose his attraction for nature and natural life and transcend this life for images from geography and astronomy; nature and religion serve to intensify the emotional expressions.

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