AD's English Literature : October 2012

REVIVAL OF POETIC DRAMA: VERSE DRAMA IN THE 20TH CENTURY



The traditional origin of drama as the chorus in Dionysian festivals in pre – Socratic Greece has led to the primal form of the drama to be poetry. Such verse drama was seen not only in plays of these Greek masters like Aeschylus and Sophocles , but was continued by English masters such as Marlowe , Shakespeare and Ben Jonson during the Renaissance of English literature in the Elizabethan period . The belated efforts of the romantics like wordrworth with The Borderers, Shelly with the Cenci and Byron with his Manfred were unable to remain no more than closet plays. It was only in the 20th century, when stalwarts like Yeats and Eliot made a serious foray into the genre, the poetic drama regained some of its lost status. They attempted to revive poetic drama, which had fallen out of fashion with the rise of realism. 

Milton's Paradise Lost : Satan’s Speeches Reflect His Personality



If William Blake ever declared that Milton, ‘was of the Devil’s party without knowing it’ (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell), the judgment stems chiefly from the fact that Satan’s speeches were so admirable and arousing that even the devout of Christians would not be able to refrain from holding Satan in great esteem. Though some critics like C.S. Lewis may arraign Satan for his ‘blatant lies’ (A preface to paradise lost), it must be conceded that Satan believed at least sound of his arguments to be true. Further at would be naïve to expect a leader, and particularly one of satanic stature, to adhere only to facts, Satan is a leader of the rebels, and a leader’s success lies in motivating his people. Satan’s speeches, magnificent as they are in their psychological insight, passionate feeling and rhetorical grandeur, must be judged only by that yardstick.

John Milton’s Pandemonium in Paradise Lost Book I : The Capital of Hell


The pandemonium is that creation in hell designed for infernal conclaves which would rival in its splendor the greatest of human creations and perhaps even divine architecture. It is a word formed by the union of two Greek words, pan, all, and daemon, demon, but the compound word did not exist in the Greek vocabulary, and Milton formed it out the analogy of ‘pantheon’, the abode of the gods. The pantheon at Rome was a temple containing statues of all the gods. Milton’s pandemonium is the capital of hell built to receive all the devils. The coinages of Milton have gained currency in the English, the common noun being used to express a place full of tumultuous voice, confusion and discord.

Spenser’s The Faerie Queene: Brief Sketches


                                                           
The noblest mind the best contentment has.”: The Faerie Queene

 In spite of the variety and beauty of his shorter poems, The Faerie Queene( 1609) is by far the most important of Spenser’s works. “Virgil without the Aeneid, Milton without Paradise Lost ------ would still rank as the great poets”, C.S. Lewis observed “whereas Spenser’s reputation is almost entirely dependent on the Faerie Queene.”

Design of Tragedy: Catharsis, Hamartia, Comic Relief



A tragedy is a serious play representing the disastrous downfall of a central character, the most influential definition of tragedy is that of Aristotle in his poetics which says that tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious and complete in achieving a catharsis through incidents arousing pity and terror. Aristotle also observed that the protagonist is led in to fatal calamity by his hamartia or ‘error’ which often takes the form of hubris or excessive pride. The tragic effect usually depends on our awareness of admirable qualities in the protagonist which are wasted terribly in the fated disaster. The most painfully tragic plays like shakes pear’s king Lear shows a disproportion between the hero’s initial error and the destruction with which it is punished. Modern tragedies are different from the earlier ones in the sense that they depict socially inferior heroes of domestic comedy, heroes who are notes heroic as Aristotle would have desired. Some critics also define tragedy as a dramatization of man’s sense of being threatened by fate and even his own nature.

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prudence : Brief Comments


                                                                   
Jane Austen’s novels have rightly been called domestic novels. For one thing ‘She never go co out of the parlor’ and choose to work with two or three families in a comity village’ as her raw material. Thus in Pride and Prejudice she deals mainly with the domestic life and aspirations of the Bonnets, and to some extent with those of the leases. They are ordinary middleclass people with nothing extra-ordinary - exceptional about them. The novel satirized the attitudes of the rural middle and upper-middle classes. Austen centered her story on the Bennett daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia. Elizabeth, a spirited girl, is “prejudiced” against the wealthy landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy, scorning his lofty attitudes and “pride.” In the first excerpt, Darcy calls on Elizabeth and her friend Charlotte in the mistaken belief that all the ladies of the house are in. In the second excerpt, Elizabeth, after accusing Darcy of ruining the engagement between her sister Jane and Jane’s fiancé, Bingley, receives a letter of explanation from Darcy. Elizabeth then recognizes the error in her judgment and also discovers some faults in her own nature. Thus the action moves around a common everyday level: Visit is exchanged, dinners are given and occasionally there is a ball. However, suck is the art of the novelist that even this homely stuff has been treated dramatically and made gripping in us interest. 

Thomas Sterns Eliot’s The Waste Land: Brief Comments



The first fifty years of the 20th century pass the emergence of two major poets in Great Britain and their contribution to Briton poetry is of immense value. First came W.B. Yeats an Irishman and the other, Thomas Sterns Eliot, an American who made England his home. And it was with the publication of The waste Land, in 1922, that Eliot came to be recognized as a leading light of English poetry in the period toll owing the great war.

T.S. Eliot
The poem is written is an extremely difficult style. It is extremely richen recondite symbolism and obscure references to ancient literate, my theology, history and even religion. The poem has five section- (a) The Burial of the Dead (b) The Game of chess (c) The Fire sermon (d) Death By Water (e) What the Thunder raid. The uniting link between these five parts is the fig me of Tries as. However, it is less a unity of character than a unity of mood. It’s the mood of despair and gloom that there is a remote possibility of hope and redemption.

Most common Literary Terms; Schools; Movements



  1. Renaissance- renaissance means revival or rebirth of Greek learning, rat, literature and culture of the middle Age in Europe. In England it comes through Italy flourished in the Elizabethan Age in the works of Shakespeare, Spenser, Merowe and Ben ton son.
  2. Reformation- Reformation was a religious Movement led by Martin Luther in the fifteenth century. It protested against the practices of the Roman Catholic Chance. It advocated complete faith in the Bible and one’s own soul for salvation.
  3. Wordsworthian definition of poetry- Poetry is a criticism of life musters the laws of poetic trust and poetic beauty. Poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful fillings, taking its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility.
  4. Poetic justice- The term poetic justice is coined by Thomas Rhyme. It means exact reward or punishment given to a character according to his good or bed deeds. This exactness of rustics is possible only in the word of poetry.
  5. Epic- The epic is the greatest and most sublime from of poetry. The Epic in a long poem divided in to several books, celebrating the life, heroic deeds and a achievements of a national hero, whether his trice or legendry.

Redefining the Goals of General Indian Learners of English in the PostColonial Context: English Teaching-Learning Framework Today; Post Independent Language Policy



The Language policy followed in the Post independence era was expected to be vernacular rather than upon pro English. Mahatma Gandhi, as early as 1937, had commented on the deleterious effect of early education though English:
 “English having been made the medium of in striation in all the hasher branches of learning has created a permanent bar between the highly educated few and the medicated many. It has prevailed knowledge from percolating to the masses. The excessive importance given to English has cast upon the educated class a burden which has maimed then mentally for life and made then strangers in their own land.”

Mock Test Examination, Oct 2012 : Difficulty Level: Graduation: PART – I


 PART – I
Difficulty Level: Graduation
Full marks: 100 Time: 3hrs

(a)    Answer ANY TEN question: 10*3= 30
  1.   What is called sonnet sequence? Mention two sequences along with their authors.
  2. What is the meaning of the tile word Astrophel and Stella?
  3. Bring out the significance. What is the meaning of the title word Amoretti? How many sonnets are there in this series?
  4. “Oft turning other’s are leaves, to see if there would flow some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun burnt brain”-Whose brain is ‘sun burnt’ and why? What is meant by ‘showers’?
  5. Which is called ‘nature’s child’ and why?
  6. ‘Vain man’, said she, “that dost in vain assay”- Why does the lady call the man ‘vain’? It the lady right in saying so?
  7.  “My verse yours virtues rare shall eternize”- rewrite the sentence in proper grammatical order. What kind of rhetoric is in the quoted line?
  8.   To whom does Shakespeare address his Sonnet no 130? Give two examples of ‘false comparisons’ criticized by Shakespeare this sonnet?
  9. What is called ‘Volta’ of a sonnet?
  10. What is stanza division of Shakespearean sonnet? How is it different from Spenser’s?
  11.   Why is the poet, Sidney eager to write verse and to address it to the beloved?
b    B.  Explain with reference to the context ALL the following passages: 10*4=40
  1.   And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare, As any she belied with false compare.
  2.   O; none, unless this miracle have might, That in black ink my love may still shine bright
  3.   Where when as death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew
  4.   Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite /”Fool”, said my Muse to me, “Look in thy heart, and write;
 C.    Answer any TWO- essay type.15*2=30
1.       Spenser’s Sonnet No.75 has a derma tic texture and lyrical tendency-discuss.
2.       Sidney’s Sonnet No.1 has a divination of poetic creativity- discuss
3.        Critically appreciate SHAKESPEARE’S Sonnet No.130



The pleasure of Tragedy; Theory of Catharsis; The Paradox of Tragedy


The paradox of tragedy lies in the fact that a drama dealing with pain, vice, misery and often culminating in death is not only able to interest us but even give us pleasure. Comedy posses not such riddle since is deals with an ostensibly happy tale; often ending in mirth and the pleasure of the audience is commensurate and therefore needs no explication. But critics from Aristotle onwards have felt obliged to explain the phenomenon of audiences’ pleasure being inversely proportional to the suffering of the protagonist of the play in the case of tragedy.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 37


Short notes on History of English Literature
A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

  1. Dickens set so personal a stamp on his books that at every turn he seemed to be an innovator.
  1. Dickens’ novels reflect the contemporary Victorian urban society with all its conflicts and disharmonies, both physical and intellectual.  The stories of Dickens reflect the social evils of the Victorian Age.
  1. Lamb seldom permitted his profounder views of life to appear above the humorous, pathetic and ironical surface of his writings.
  1. ‘Above all Charles Lamb was a refined humanist whose smile could be both satirist and tender.’‘Lambs’ essays are lyric poems in prose.’

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 36


Short notes on History of English Literature

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

  1. Keats was a romantic poet who believed in the importance of sensation and its pleasures which included taste, touch and smell as well as hearing and sight.
  1. Keats has been called ‘a mystic through the medium of the senses’.

  2. Shelley’s weaknesses as a writer have always been evident; rhetorical abstraction; intellectual arrogance; and movements of intense self-pity. But in great poems like the "West Wind" or great prose works like "Defence", it is precisely these limitations that he transcends, and indeed explodes.
  1. In the best of Shelley’s poetry, there is splendour of movement and realization of visionary intensity.

The Double Dealer: Congreve’s art of Plot Construction The Double Dealer


                                                       
In his Epistle dedicatory Congreve gives an account of the plot – pattern of his second play, The Double Dealer: “I design the moral first and to that moral I invented the fable, and do not know that I have borrowed one hint of it any where. I made the plot as strong as I could, because it was single because I would avoid confusion and was resolved to preserve the three unities of the drama” The statement involves the three main points: 

I . The plot of the play as a moral at the centre of it. 

II. The fable that makes the plot is Congreve’s invention.

III. The plot is an affair of a single story, the structure adhering to the rule of three unities.

Evaluate Dr. Johnson as a Critic:Dogmatic and Magisterial; Prejudices and Limitations


   
Dr. Johnson'  Methods Dogmatic and Magisterial: - Dr. Johnson is one of the greatest of literary critics of England. As a critic, his popularity and authority veined with the size of romanticism because his views and opinions suffer form a number of prejudices and limitation. He was a man of his age. He belongs to the school of ‘classic’ or ‘judicial’ criticism as against the ‘Romantics’ or Aesthetic criticism of the next generation. We find him judging by set rules, “rules of old discovered and not devised” in the tradition of Dryden and pope. It is this habit of applying timed rules to the poet vender discussion that makes Johnson the” last great English critic who treated poets, not as men to be understood, but as school boys to be corrected”. His judgment remain essentially dogmatic and traditional and we find him disturbing praise a blame to poets, “with the confident assurance of a school master looking over a boy’s exercise” (John Bailey).

J. M. Synge’s Riders To The Sea: Analysis of Dramatic, Structure, Key Notes and Points ETC

Is J. M. Synge’s Riders To The Sea Dramatic?

The contentious issue of whether Riders To The Sea is lacking in dramatic action or the characters --- themselves entirely passive , is usually resolve in contrary manners by contradicting critics since there is no human conflict nor is there major dramatic action occurring on the stage - has often led to the opinion that it has a relatively passive plot .

Emily Dickenson’s Lyrical Talent :The Range of Her Moods in Her Poetry


Introduction: Emily Dickinson was pre - eminently a lyric poet. Her lyric output is, indeed, amazing. Her lyrics cover a wide range of subjects - love, pain and suffering, death, Nature, etc. The range of her moods in these lyrics is also very wide. From ordinary joy to a feeling of ecstasy, and from mild regret to deep despair, these is hardly any mood that does not find expression in these poems. 

Collins' Ode to Evening as a Transitional Poem- More Romantic than Classical


Collins is renowned as the Via media, the transitional mediator between the said classicism of the preceding poets like Pope and Dryden on the one hand and bridled romanticism of his successors like, Wordsworth and Shelly on the other. In a poem like Ode to Evening what he ushered in were emotion and imagination in place of reason, the rustic and the homely in place of metropolitan sophistry, lyric freedom in place of rigid couplets, and finally external nature and passion in place of ethical moralism. Rightly did Stoopford Brooke comment that ‘this poem seems to precedent the poetic temper of his successors - -- - - - - and prophecy the romantic poetry to come in the future’ (Naturalism in English poetry ).

Analysis of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932)



Aldous Huxley was the great novelist and essayist. His novels are ‘novels of ideas’, involving compensation which disclose viewpoints rather than establish oharaetes and having a polemical rather than an imitative theme. His polemical and inquisitorial mind was better suited to Brave new world (1932), in which a future society is presented so as to bring out the tendencies working in contemporary civilization and to show their disastrous consequences.  The title of the book is derived from MIRANDA’s comment IN William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act 5, Scene 1 “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in't!”

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 35

Short notes on History of English Literature: Canterbury Tales

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

  1. Critics of Chaucer divided his work into three periods the French period, the Italian period, and the English period.
  2. To the first is assigned his " A. B. C.," a prayer to the Virgin, translated from the French; a translation of the " Romance of the Rose ; "  the " Compleynte of Pity" (1368?), and the "Book of the Duchess,” a poem commemorating the death in 1369 of the Duchess Blanche.
  3. To the second period, extending from 1372 to 1384, during which, as we have seen, Chaucer three times visited Italy, and is supposed to have fallen under Italian literary influence, are assigned his " Parliament of Fowls," " Troilus and Cresside," certain of the " Canterbury Tales," the " House of Fame," and some minor poems.

THE VOICE OF THE MODERN LITERATURE



This period observes the end of the long reign of Queen Victoria (1901) and of the stability which the country had so long enjoyed. Political protection, Votes for Women, the Zenith of Scientific activities (Theory of Evolution, Photon Theory, Quantum Theory, theory of Relativity, Uncertainty Principal), the advancement of Medical Science (Heart Plantation, Sex change), the Decline of AGRICULTURE AND THE GROWING Urbanization, Psycho-Analysis and Dream Interpretation become the order of the day. Simultaneously this period is completely overshadowed by the two World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945). “Two world wars, an intervening economic depression of great severity, and the austerity of life in Britain following the second of these wars help to explain the quality and direction of English literature in the 20th century. The traditional values of Western civilization, which the Victorians had only begun to question, came to be questioned seriously by a number of new writers, who saw society breaking down around them. Traditional literary forms were often discarded, and new ones succeeded one another with bewildering rapidity, as writers sought fresher ways of expressing what they took to be new kinds of experience, or experience seen in new ways.” -Encarta. The Neo-Vedantism of Swami Vivekananda also has shaken the world.

T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral is not just a dramatization of the death of Thomas Becket: It Is a Deep Searching Study of the Significance of Martyrdom



Although the conflict between church and state is a recurrent theme in the play, it never assumes major significance. Moreover the clash of character and personal antagonisms is deliberately avoided; the king does not appear and the knights are at first presented as individual characters but act as a gang; subsequently it is stressed that their actions have not been motivated by personal passions.

The central theme of the play is martyrdom, and Eliot’s concept of martyrdom is the term as it was originally used. In its strict, ancient sense, the word martyr means witness and the Church did not at first confine the term to those who had sealed their witness with their blood. So Becket as a martyr is not primarily one who is murdered for a cause, or who gives up him life for some religious belief; instead, he is a witness to the reality of God’s powers.

The style of Charles Lamb’s Essays is Gently, Old-fashioned and Irresistibly Attractive



The style of Charles Lamb’s essays is gently, old-fashioned and irresistibly attractive specially found of old writers. He borrowed unconsciously from the early English dramatists. Burton’s ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’ and Browne’s ‘Religio Medici’ helped him too much to from this style. Montague’s writings impressed him the most. Moreover, Lamb liked to read Greek art and literature. The Essays of Elia are of various kinds. They include literary appreciation, character-sketches, fantasies, personal experiences, reminiscences etc. But they all had the similarity regarding the author’s personal reaction. A very significant question appears whether Essays of Elia project a portrait of Charles Lamb or not. Lamb himself said:
“Let no one receive these narrations of Elia for true turn records. They are in true but shadows of fact-verisimilitudes not verities – or sitting but upon the remote edges and out skirts of history.”

Francis Bacon: Greatest Prose Writer of Classic Status


Francis Bacon was the greatest prose writer of the late 16th century and also of the early 17th century and till today his essays are considered as of classic status. Most of Bacon’s important work is in Latin. He believed that his works written in English would not receive any lasting impression. He mistrusted the permanence of English as a language. But it’s a pity that we remember Bacon for his essays written in English.  Bacon expressed himself both in English and Latin, and of the two he considered the Latin works to be more important. The ‘Instauratio magna’ was most ambitions work of Bacon. This Latin Work was divided in to six parts. It is Full of this philosophical theories. The divisions are as follows.
Partiones Scientiarum (1623)- This was a classification and summary of all human knowledge.
Novum Organum (1620)- This was a book about the use of reason and experiment instead of the old Aristotelian logic To find truth one must follow two things. He has to get rid of all idols or perjudices. Than he to interrogate nature.
Sylva Sylvarum (left incomplete)- This part was arranged to give a complate view of what we call Natural Philosophy and  Natural History.
Scal intellectuals- It is the rational application of the Organum to all problems. Of this we have only a few of the opening pages.
Prodromi (“Prophecies or Anticipations”) - It is a list of discoveries. A few fragments were written only.
Philosophia Secunda- It is about new philosophy.

UGC NET Solved Paper II; Subject -- English; June: 2012


Subject -- English; June: 2012; Paper – II

 (ALL THE ANSWERS ARE COLOURED. I HAVE TRIED TO GIVE LOGIC BEHIND ANSWERING THESE QUESTIONS. WITHOUT SYLLOGISTIC FORMAT YOU NEED AN ELFIN TOWER TALL HEAD.)

Note : This paper contains fifty (50) objective type questions, each question carrying two (2) marks. Attempt all the questions.

1. To refer to the unresolvable difficulties a text may open up, Derrida makes use
of the term :
(A) aporia
(B) difference
(C) erasure
(D) supplement
(aporia :difficulty in establishing truth: a confusion in establishing the truth of a proposition)

2. Who, among the following English playwrights, scripted the film Shakespeare in Love ?
(A) Harold Pinter
(B) Alan Bennett
(C) Caryl Churchill
(D) Tom Stoppard
(Tom Stoppard, born in 1937, English playwright, noted for his ingenious use of language and ironic political metaphors scripted for Shakespeare in Love (1998) which won an Academy Award for best original screenplay.)

THE FACE OF THE AGE OF ROMANTICISM



The first half of the nineteenth century records the conquest of Romanticism in literature and of democracy in government. The French Revolution, the Reform Bill, the American commonwealth-all these were the inevitable results of ideas which literature had spread rapidly through the civilized world. Freedom is fundamentally an inspiring, compelling, beautiful and fascinating ideal. It was kept steadily before men’s minds by a multitude of books and pamphlets. Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man'  and Burns’s ‘poems’ were read eagerly by the common people, all proclaiming the dignity of common life and uttering the same passionate cry against every from of class or caste oppression. The development of fresh ideas brought new inspiration for poetry. In prose we may observe especially the fruitful yield of the novel, the rejuvenation of the essay, and the unprecedented activity of critical and miscellaneous writers.

What is the advantage using ‘stream of consciousness’ technique in Virginia Woolf’s ‘To The Lighthouse?



To discover and record life as the people feel who live it, a new technique is more suitable to Mrs. Woolf and it is for this reason that in To The Lighthouse. She has not told a story in the sense of a series of events and has concentrated on a small number of characters. Whose nature and feelings are represented to us largely through their interior monologue? In order to capture the inner reality, the truth about life, she tried to represent the moving current of life and the individuals consciousness of the fleeting moments and secondly, also to select  from this current and organize it so that novel may penetrate between the surface reality and may give to the readers a sense of understanding and completeness.  In other words she has used ‘stream of consciousness’ technique but she has not used it consistently throughout. The interior monologues of the different characters are no doubt given, but the novelist the central intelligence, is also constantly busy organizing the material and illuminating it by frequent comments.

What is the central theme of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and how is it developed?



The greed for money and the corrupting influence which it has upon human being constitute the core of Charles DickensGreat Expectations. The other themes apart from this are crime and its punishment, justice and the law, the dignity of labor etc.

There are characters in the novel that show their greed for money. Miss Havisham is a rich lady and her relatives who are poor, call on her occasionally and especially on her birthday to win her favor and the get some money. Miss Havisham was also deceived by her lover because of this greed for money. After robbing her great deal of money, he deserted her.

Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers is Autobiographical Novel- Discussion on how Autobiography has Shaped the Growth of the Theme of the Novel and how Lawrence’s Personal Experiences have Shaped the Mode and Material



Eminent critics including Middleton Murry and Albert hold a consensus of opinions with regard to the fact that the label, ‘autobiographical’ can safely be attributed to this superb specimen of fiction, bearing the mark of Lawrence’s genius. The most salient characteristic of the characters portrayed by Lawrence is according to Albert, “the resemblance they bear to their creator. In fact, Sons and Lovers is one of the most autobiographical of English novels. D.H. Lawrence is one of those great artists who write because of internal compulsion, and in this way seek relief for their inner problems by externalizing them in fiction. He had to endure great emotion stresses in youth and face many urgent personal problems. He was a tortured soul for full forty five years of himself and his writings are an expression of his inner suffering, frustrations and emotional complexes. They are all in the nature of personal revelations, some more, some less, but the autobiographical note runs through them all. The most striking feature of Lawrence’s characters is that they are projections of the novelist’s personalities, Paul morel in Sons and Lovers, is clearly a projection of him. In his other characters, too there are many similarities. They shark him darkness and bitterness of spirit and like him they live passionately and fully.

Martyrdom as the Central Theme of T. S. Eliot’s "Murder in the Cathedral" : Critical Analysis


 "Murder in the Cathedral is not just a dramatization of the death of Thomas Becket; it is a deep searching study of the significance of martyrdom.” -To what extend does the concept of martyrdom dominate the whole atmosphere and action of the play?   

T. S. Eliot has the feelings and sentiments of a devout Christian and through the entire play, Murder in the Cathedral it resounds through the character of Becket who is a veritable martyr. This martyrdom is the pivotal theme of the play around which the other members of the dramatis personae rotate. Now let us study in details: Read More Drama
Although the conflict between Church and state is a recurrent theme in the play, it never assumes major significance. Read More Poetry Moreover, the clash of character and personal antagonisms is deliberately avoided; the king does not appear and the knights are at first not presented as individual characters but act as a gang; subsequently it is stressed that their actions have not been motivated by personal passions.

How Absurd Drama is Different Form the Drama Proper?



Some writers in 1960s (In France from the mid-1940s through the 1950s) reacted against traditional Western theatrical conventions, rejecting assumptions about logic, characterization, language, and plot. British scholar Martin Esslin used the phrase “theater of the absurd” in describing his contemporary dramatists, including Irish-born playwright Samuel Beckett and French playwrights Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet, and Arthur Adamov. As popularly misunderstood, they do not really mean to be an intellectual puzzle to be solved by academic commentators: his vision is so comprehensive in its simplicity that once we grasp his central passion, which has been remarkably consistent throughout, things fall into place and the novelty of technique does not really distract us from the reality of his compulsive vision.

Explaining the Title of G. B. Shaw’s Arms and The Man



Introduction: A good title should be apt and suggestive. It should also be attractive and sticking, so as at once to capture the attention of the audience or the readers. Just as a signboard indicates the contents of a shop, so also a good title should indicate the theme of the play. Let us apply these criteria for judging the aptness of the title of George Bernard Shaw’s plays Arms and The Man.

 Its Source: The title of Arms and The man as Shaw himself says in his preface has been taken from the first line of Dryden’s Virgil. Drydon’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid begins with the following couplet:
             “Arms and The Man I sing, who forced by fate
              And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate.”

Lord Tennyson’s Tithonus: Contrast Between Youth and Age, and Love and Death



Introduction:  Lord Tennyson’s Tithonus is based on a classical fable, on myth. Aurora, the goddess of Dawn, fell in; love with a handsome youth, Tithonus by name. At the request of the goddess, Zeus conferred the gift of immortality on Tithonus. The goddess, however, forgot to ask for the perpetuation of her lover’s youth and beauty. With the passage of time Tithonus grew frightfully old and enfeebled so much so that his life became insufferable. He then, requested the goddess take back her, gift and let him die but Aurora was helpless, as even “goddess themselves cannot recall their, gifts.” Throughout the poem Tithonus bitterly complains of immortality as every where there is the process of decay in nature, in man, terminating with death. It is he only cruel immortality consumes and find happy and the men that have the power to die.

A dramatic monologue: Highly ranked among the dramatic monologues of Tennyson, Tithonus does not attempt to depict much the characteristics of the individual as the special circumstances in which he is places. It is one of the poet’s most highly finished production, and is remarkable for its purity of tone its musical rhythm and its beauty of style.

Lord Tennyson
Various interpretations: Tithonus is one of the most beautiful conceptions of the mythological Greek mindset in harmonious verse a fable that may be interpreted variously; whether of the desolate sadness that would be the penalty of surviving the mere relic of a man, into a strange and indignant generation, a white hair’d shadow roaming like a dream, or as a parable upon the melancholy futility and disappointment that may follow the coupling of blooming youth with extreme old age --------
              How can my nature longer mix with thine?
              Coldly thy rose shadows bathe me, cold
              Are all thy lights, and cold my witness feet.
Tithonus may also be seen at the expression of a vain yearning for releases from the burden of living.

 Contrasts youth and age, love and death: The pathos of Tithonus’s life is rendered with compelling pity and tender. Stopford A Brooke Commenting on this poem remarks high acclaim for this poetry. Tithonus being old, ugly and feeble yet possessed by immortality yearns for death. It was in the fitness of things that men should stop to comply with what is ordained for him. Violating the decree of mortality issued by providence, undone Eros would renew her beauty every morning, for Tithonus. But Tithonus would forget everything if he could die. He would gladly go down to the dust whence he sprung.
        “Release me and restore me to the ground
          Thou seest all things, thou will see my grave.”

Tennyson’s Poetic Genius: With remarkable craftsmanship, Tennyson’s creates the imaginary land where Tithonus is supposed to abide. The description of the wakening of Aurora, the glimmer on her brow, her sweet looks slowly brightening before they dazzle the stars, the wild teams of horses shaking off darkness from their manes, and her departure are all beautifully realized. Yet though the place is far removed from the world of men, Tennyson has invested Tithonus with supreme human pathos. “Immortal age tied to immortal youth, the gift love to immortality the curse of him whom it was given the memory in decay, of youth and of love once passionate, the dreadful inability to love the dreadful inability to die – all is wonderfully expressed. In Keatsian mood it is half in love with easeful death.
 
A parallel to Ulysses: Simply speaking both Tithonus and Ulysses are dramatic monologues based on classical legend and spoken by old man. In other respects they are antithetical. Tithonus longs for death; Ulysses craves life piled on life. Where Ulysses is active, Tithonus decays, will-less, a grey shadow, once a man. For Ulysses a new world opens up as he looks about him to the horizon. But for Tithonus ‘the gleaming halls of morn’ bring only the painful renewal of an existence that is no life. This very existence too is dreamlike, a merely glimmering consciousness still agonizingly sensitive to the beauty of nature yet using even this beauty as a sort of anesthetic to during the conscious mind into that trance like condition where reality is bearable. Above all, where Tithonus enervates, Ulysses embraces. It does so, moreover with the command of rhetoric. Tithonus can do nothing to compete with this sort of thing.

Conclusion: The poem through the character of Tithonus aptly gives an idea of the poet's reflections on death, his hopes and wishes during that time and thus the poem is more mature a philosophy.

Joseph Addison as an Essayist: The Social Documents of the Eighteenth Century English Life of Middle-class People



Most of Joseph Addison’s essays are the social documents of the eighteenth century English life of middle-class people. He wrote elaborately on religion, politics, death, woman and other contemporary issues. Myres, in this connection, says- “It is necessary to study the work of Joseph Addison in close relation to the time in which he lived, for he was a true child of his century…..” Addison adopted the ‘middle style’. It was associated with the graceful rhythm. Once Sr. Johnson praised the style of Addison- ;Give nights and days, sir, to the study of Addison if you mean to be a good writer, or , what is more worth, an honest man.” Dr. Johnson again said-“His(Addison’s)prose is the model of the middle style; on grave subjects not formal, on light occasions not grovelling; pure without  scrupulosity, and extra without apparent elaboration; always equable, and always tempter, he performed; he is never feebler, and he did not wish to be energetic; he is never rapid, and he never stagnates. His sentences have nether not diligently rounded, are voluble and easy.”

Critical Appreciation of On the Castle of Chillon- Lord Byron



On the Castle of Chillon is a living manifestation of Byron’s love for liberty which constitutes one of the destitute and downtrodden. Further he condemns autocracy and tyranny in equivocal terms. In this respect, he stands close to Shelly who also invests his poetry with revolutionary zeal and enthusiasm. But the curious aspect of Byron is his occasional leaving to satire. Interestingly, one who is a time romantic is seldom a satirist. In fact, the romantic poet derives their sustenance from pure passion while the satirist relies chiefly on the exercise of intellect. In Byron’s Don Juan these two traits run parallel. While sympathy towards some a stressed is pretty explicit. Byron lashes at the so called social superiors, while he dissolves at the same time the simplicity of the populace. On the Castle of Chillon stands out as a manifestation of Byron’s passion for liberty. The sonnet is Miltonic in style and inevitably reminds us of Milton’s On the Vaudios Massacre.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 34


Short notes on History of English Literature 

 The Dream of the Rood

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

1.   In Old English, few books were written; most of those were written in Latin, for religious purposes. 
2.  Most of those that got written have disappeared. Four books of Old English poetry exist today. All seem to have been written about the year 1000.
3. One (the so-called Junius Manuscript) contains stories from the Old Testament turned into Old English poetry: Genesis, Exodus, and Daniel.
4. One (the Vercelli Book, which turned up, rather mysteriously, in a small town in northern Italy) contains Christian poems based on themes from the New Testament or lives of saints; the best known of these is the “Dream of  the Rood,” spoken by the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
5.  One (the Exeter Book) is a kind of anthology of different short poems; it contains “The Wanderer,” “The Seafarer,” and “The Wife’s Lament.”
6.  The fourth (known as the Cotton Manuscript, or, more formally, MS Cotton Vitellius A. xv), contains Beowulf. This manuscript was badly burned in 1731; today it is carefully preserved in the British Museum, in London, but its edges keep flaking off, making it harder and harder to read.
Ruthwell Cross
  1. There are certain religious poems in the old English period which seem to have been written under the influence of Cynewulf. It is known as Cynewulf Cycle, and of some of these Cynewulf (born cir . 750) was certainly the author, since he wove his name into the verses in the manner of an acrostic.
  2. One (the Vercelli Book, which turned up, rather mysteriously, in a small town in northern Italy) contains Christian poems based on themes from the New Testament or lives of saints; the best known of these is the “Dream of  the Rood,” spoken by the cross on which Jesus was crucified. 
  3. The best-known surviving Christian poem, probably written by Cynewulf, “The Dream of the Rood,” shows how the religious message could be blended with the traditional heroic motifs.
  4. The text of The Dream of the Rood is chiseled as runic text onto the Ruthwell Cross of Northumbria.
  5. The Dream of the Rood and Elene both are discoveries of the cross- The discovery in Elene is pseudo-historical; that in the Dream is visionary.'
  6. The role of the Cross formulates an interesting paradox: The Cross serves as a faithful retainer, but in order to obey its Lord, it has to become his slayer.
  7. The poem has quite a few apocalyptic elements. One of those is the idea of the Cross as a salvatory instrument before judgement.
  8. Similar poems with Cynewulf’s guidance: Juliana;  The Christ ; Andreas , a story of St. Andrew; Elene , which describes the search for the cross on which Christ died, and which is a prototype of the search for the Holy Grail; Fates of the Apostles.
  9.  There is little agreement among scholars as to who wrote most of these poems. The only works to which Cynewulf signs his name are The Christ , Elene , Juliana and Fates of the Apostles . All others are doubtful, and our biography of Cynewulf is largely a matter of pleasant speculation.
  10.  Aside from the value of these works as a reflection of Anglo-Saxon ideals, they are our best picture of Christianity as it appeared in England during the eighth and ninth centuries.
  11. Most of the poem tells of a dream in which the “Rood” (the cross on which Jesus was crucified) tells of the crucifixion. 
  12. But instead of showing Jesus as a passively suffering victim, the poem depicts him as a conquering hero, eagerly embracing the cross. Old English heroes were supposed to fight fiercely, not turn the other cheek.
  13. It is the oldest surviving English poem in the form of a dream or vision.
  14.  It falls into three parts: the opening words of the dreamer, the words spoken by the Rood, and the words of the dreamer, after the dream is over.
  15. The speaker beings with his dream in which he saw the true Cross and it spoke to him, telling him its history from the time when it was a tree growing in the woods to the time.
  16. The Rood goes on to urge the dreamer to promote its cult, where the practical point and purpose of the dream comes out.
  17.  Which the Rood’s speech the dreamer ends his narration.
  18. The dreamer now exclaims how his dream about the Rood has changed his life for ever since he has devoted himself to the cult of the True Cross, and hopes to win a heavenly home thereby.
  19.  In this way, the poem concludes with the dreamer’s account of his own religious hopes.        
  20. This poem is charged with a simple eloquence and sustains a high note of religious fervour.

Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert, 
      2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature
       3. OUTLINES OF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE- WILLIAM J. LONG

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