AD's English Literature : January 2014

The Theme of John Donne’s The Good-Morrow: Love, Depth and Devotion, Triumphs over all Earthly Mutability and Morality



John Donne’s The Good Morrow is a characteristic metaphysical poem which deals with the theme of love a strong and true passion of love. After this souls walking up the lover and the beloved are consumed with the passion of love and they became one. In fact, oneness in love triumph over all earthly mutability and morality and shines ever in mutual attachment a love which does not deal with the body but in the bond between the bond souls of the lovers.  The concentration of thought and compression style marks it is a metaphysical poem. The metaphysical conceits are drawn from geography mythology scholastic and philosophy and an intellectual approach to the subject of love make the poem a metaphysical poem. Read more about Poetry                     

The title phrase ‘Good Morrow’ means, good morning. It is a farm of greeting when one first meets someone in the morning session. The lower in the poem bids Good morning to the souls of his and his beloved which have woke up to the realization of love. It has a deepening significance as it refers to the awakens of the souls of the lovers after a long slumber and their meeting and falling in love with each other.Read more about Poetry

The poem begins with a listed questionnaire:

“I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?

But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?

Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den? ”

Shakespeare in India:Shakespearean Studies in India with the Introduction of English Education in India (Assamese) in the Early Nineteenth Century


Historians may assess the British occupation of India in different ways with much good that this occupation brought and more evil that it left behind. But perhaps no one will disagree that introduction of  William Shakespeare   on Indian sub-continent was an act of unmixed good which continued to shed its rays on the Indian literary scene even when the sun had set in the Indian Empire of Shakespeare’s countrymen.

There is broad possibility of   Shakespeare   studies in India with the introduction of English education in India in the early nineteenth century. Reading and teaching of Shakespeare formed part of English educational institutions ostensibly raj but as it so often happens in history such processes once started served other and more important causes. Read More about Indian English   Shakespeare thus could not be confined within the class-room and his influences extended to the vital region of the Indian vernacular languages and also affected the Indian stage and reading of Shakespeare, translation and adaptation of Shakespeare acting after Shakespeare and allied drama to affect Indian literature in general and poetry in particular.
In discussing the influence and impact of  Shakespeare , we shall deal with the Indian vernacular language Assamese here. In Assam which came under the direct control of the British in 1826, the advent of Shakespeare was simultaneously heralded by the staging of Shakespeare plays in British clubs and on special occasions when a selected few had the first opportunity to watch such performances from a close quarter. This chance acquaintance of a few with Shakespeare was broadened when assumes students in Calcutta (Kolkata) came into frequent contact with Shakespeare acting and teaching along with their Bengali counterparts. 

With the spread of English education in Assam, the Assamese intelligentsia came into closer contact with Shakespeare and was deeply impressed. Shakespeare’s influence on Assamese literature is three-fold. There is the direct impact on dramatic literature and the indirect influence of Shakespeare stories on Assamese novels and narrative poems. The third influence to Assamese poetry proper.  The dramatic literature of Assam was influenced by Shakespeare through formal innovations, new technique of characterization and direct translation. The high priests of the new drama after Shakespeare were Lakshminath Bezborua and Padmanath Gohain who not only followed the form and technique of Shakespeare’s plays but also the Shakespearean way of characterization. Read More about Indian English   


A more comprehensive assimilation of  Shakespeare was effected by a group of four young Assamese who were educated in Calcutta Collages, namely, Ratnabhar Barua, Gunanjan Borua, Ghanashyam Borea and Ramakanta Barkakati. Together they translated the Comedy of Errors under the title of Bhramranga. The poet-philosopher Durgeshwar Sharma modeled two of his play, namely, Chandravati and Padmavati on As You Like It and Cymbeline respectively. Read More about Indian English  Debananda Varati’s Bhimdarpa is an echo of Macbeth while Padmadhar Chaliha's’ Amar Lila is an adaption of Romeo and Juliet. Atulchandra Hazarika recreated The Merchant of Venice and King Lear in Assamese. Shakespeare influenced the Assamese novel  mainly through Lamb's Tales From Shakespeare from   which the young Assamese novelists learnt to incorporate Shakespearean plot-outlines and character-sketches in their works. Read More about Indian English As regards poetry proper, Shakespeare remains an effective inspiration for many successful poetic flights including Hiteswar Barua’s Desdemona.
 
Ardhendu De
Ardhendu De

Nature of English Comedy before Shakespeare: Analyzing the Key Points

As in Greece, drama in England was in its beginning a religious thing. Its oldest continuous tradition was from the mediaeval Church. Early in the Middle Ages the clergy and their parishioners began the habit, at Christmas, Easter and other holy days, of Playing some part of the story of Christ's life suitable to the festival of the day. Read More about Drama  These plays were liturgical, and originally, no doubt, overshadowed by a choral element. But gradually the inherent human capacity for mimicry and drama took the upper hand; from ceremonies they developed into performances; they passed from the stage in the church porch to the stage in the street.  

John Dryden's Fables, Ancient and Modern: Preface to the Fables: General Discussions


“If by the people you understand the multitude, the hoi polloi, 'tis no matter what they think; they are sometimes in the right, sometimes in the wrong; their judgement is a mere lottery.”-John Dryden (1631 - 1700) English poet, playwright, and literary critic. "Of Dramatick Poesy"



The celebrated Preface to the Fables, one of his most important essays, is commonly regarded as one of the masterpieces of English criticism, and appeared a few months before Dryden's death in 1699. Read More about Age of Dryden This was prefixed to a volume of translations and adaptations, which bore the title Fables, Ancient and Modern, translated into Verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccaccio, and Chaucer: with Original Poems. The Preface as it stands is chiefly a criticism of Chaucer, renowned for its catholicity of taste, but it contains also comparisons of the different poets named in the title, and a defence of his own conduct from charges made against him by Blackmore, Milbourn, and, particularly, Jeremy Collier, whose Short View of the Profaneness of the English Stage (1698) had attacked the plays of Dryden, among others.

George Bernard Shaw as a Dramatic Artist: Mastery of Stagecraft, Elaborate stage-directions, Realistic




George Bernard Shaw has a definite message to deliver. He has a philosophy to propound. “I am no ordinary playwright. I am a specialist in immoral and heretical plays. My reputation was gained by my persistent struggle to force the public to reconsider its morals. I write plays with the deliberate object of converting the nation to my opinion on sexual and social matters. I have no other incentive to write plays, as I am not dependent on it for my livelihood.” On account of this he is generally regarded as a philosopher, a propagandist, a debater and a social reformer and not as a dramatist and a man of the theater. “Shaw is a literary satirist and iconoclast, but no playwright.” This is the view of many. But nothing is farther from the truth. Shaw “is essentially a man of the theater and his natural affinity for the stage is as strong in him as his evangelical tendency”. It is altogether wrong to think that he “is merely an advanced propagandist who has chosen the theater as a ready and insidious instrument for the furthering of his ideas.” “Shaw is essentially a man of the theater. He is a consummate dramatic artist. He has shown greater knowledge of the stage and its technique than any of his contemporaries. He has taken greater pains to make his plays really interesting and appealing to the audience. The dramaturgic skill of his plays is no less essential than their philosophic ideas. Essentially a playwright, him plays are instinct with the life of the theater.

Metaphysical Poetry: Examine Major Metaphysical Poets


"In the seventeenth century a dissociation of sensibility set in from which we have never recovered."
T. S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)



 Introduction: It was Samuel Johnson who first christened Donne and his followers the metaphysical poets in his Life of Cowley. About the beginning of the 17th century appeared a race of writers that may be termed the metaphysical poets. Johnson derived the term from Dryden’s disparaging remark that Donne "Affect the metaphysics”. So in current literary criticism ‘Metaphysical’ underlies the special feature of Donne’s poets –The lively play of intellect, the alliance of passion and playfulness and a reorganization of many-sidedness of human passion -complex and dramatic and unusual in syntax and imagery. The poetic practice of Donne started a powerful movement which unfenced a large body of poetry in the first halt of 17th century and brought about a revival of metaphysical poetic tradition in the modern era. Now let us examine major metaphysical poets under the following heads.

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