Showing posts from March, 2011

Epic as a form of Art is dead

A Critique on R. J. Rees's English Literature: An Introduction for foreign students : chapter Epic
R. J. Rees in his English Literature: An Introduction for foreign students has passed the verdict that ‘the epic as a form of literature is now dead’. This orbiter dictum is quite justifiable considering the fact that no modern writer (barring the exception of James Joyce, whose Ulysses can justifiably claim epical stature) embarks upon this form today. This does not however, mean that great epics like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey or Virgil’s Aenied or Dante’s The Devina Commedia are no longer read with interest. But it must also be as certain that serious epics of the part have lost popular appeal among modern readers and that their interest today has been narrowed to the limited sphere of the academia. 

Characteristics of Primary (folk) and Secondary (literary) Epic

 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  majestic both in theme and style. It is a polygonal heroic story incorporating myth, legend, folktale, religion, and historical events of national or universal significance, involving action of broad sweep and grandeur.. Epics are mostly of national significance in the sense that they embody the history and aspirations of a nation in a lofty or grandiose manner. An epic is a cultural mirror with a fixed ideological stance, often reflecting the best and the noblest principles of a nation’s ethos.

        Basically there are two kinds of epic – a) Primary – also known as Oral or Primitive FOLK EPICS

and b) Secondary – also known as literary. The first belongs to the oral tradition and is thus composed orally and recited. The secondary epic is a literary work of art.

The Two Worlds: Nature in William Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey’ and Supernatural in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘Christabel’

An Introduction William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were the high priest of romanticism and it is by their joint efforts that the 19th century becomes the periods of change and new birth in literature. It is the romantic revival --- a movement in the literature, characterized by reliance on the imagination and subjectivity of approach, freedom of thought and expression, and an idealization of nature. The great achievement of theirs isLyrical Ballads that brought about a new line of poetic thought. The preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800) was of prime importance as a manifesto of literary romanticism. Here, the two poets affirmed the importance of feeling and imagination to poetic creation and disclaimed conventional literary forms and subjects. Thus, as romantic literature everywhere developed, imagination was praised over reason, emotions over logic, and intuition over science—making way for a vast body of literature of great sensibility and passio…

Francis Bacon - Pragmatic Essayist and Renaissance man

Of The Renaissance SpiritAs An Opportunist   As A Pragmatic Essayist   As A Utilitarian Philosopher FRANCIS BACON  , LORD VERULAM, AND VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN'S (1561-1626)  the man is the product of Renaissance. Man’s glory, generous or tense, his opportunities of mind and body, his eyes rolling across the subtle and magnificence of the world his joy in learning, discovering, weighing – creating all these as it existed in Bacon’s mind, Essays (counsels: Civil and Moral) exhibits a practical value in life. Bacon’s essays are counsels and are designed for the practical benefits of man and not for his emotional or imaginative development. This utilitarian attitude is most evident in his 59 essays. 

The Theme and Style of Aldous Leonard Huxley 's Essay, Tragedy and The Whole Truth.

Introduction:Tragedy and The Whole Truth is an essay of literary criticism. With lucid, crystal clear statements his criticism at the literature and its truthfulness is expressed here. As a critique it is analyzing detailed, learned and brilliant exposition. The artistic revelation of the essence of literature – the truth, the whole truth interwoven the subject of interest in this piece. Let us study the piece through the following points. 
The super truth:Aldous Leonard Huxley draws a distinction between tragedy and novel in his essay. Tragedy is limited in its scope and range. The novel has much wider writer aims at emotional intensity. A novelist writes in a discursive manner. So the wholly truthful kind of literature like Tom Jones is all embracing and all-inclusive. Huxley refers to an incident in Homer’s Odyssey. The description of the best and the bravest of the hero’s companions cruelly devoured by the monster Scylla reveals the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

Place of Mother tongue in the Teaching of English as a Second Language

There is a conflicting view on the place of mother tongue in the teaching of English. The supporters of Translation Method strongly advocate the use of mother tongue in the teaching of English. On the other hand, the followers of the Direct Method insist on the “inhibition of the mother tongue” in teaching this language. H. Champion holds that the mother tongue may be used in the learning stage, but never in the practice stage. He also remarks, “But where he is satisfied that he is unable to explain the meaning of a new language form by the method of direct illustration or by verbal explanation in English he should not hesitate to use the mother tongue”. Thompson & Wyatt said that “the teacher should make the best use of the pupils knowledge and study of the vernacular”. A severe training in the use of the mother tongue is not rival, but a necessary preliminary to training in the use of English .
 Let us carefully consider how the mother tongue can be used in teaching English. It …

Precursors of Romantic Poetry: James Thomson, William Collins, Thomas Gray, William Cowper

With the publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798, literally the Romantic Movement started in England. However, the simplicity of diction, love of nature, attachment to human emotions, traits of super naturalism which are the basic features of Coleridge and Wordsworth’s poetry, can have its stress another fifty years back. In the poetry of James Thomson, William Collins, Thomas Grey, William Cowper etc. we have the fervent of early romantics. Let us discuss them under the following heads.

Memorable Lines From The Essays by Francis Bacon

“Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.”
“To pass from theological, and philosophical truth, to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged, even by those that practise it not, that clear, and round dealing, is the honor of man's nature; and that mixture of falsehoods, is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it.”

Critical Analysis of Bacon's Of Discourse

 " A good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shows slowness: and a good reply or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and weakness."-Of Discourse

There can be no doubt about Bacon’s greatness as an essayist or a prose artist. The essay Of Discourseclearly demonstrates Bacon’s powers and talents. Of Discourse is the second group of Bacon’s Essays that describe man in his intellectual and moral relations with others. Of Discourse is an essay on perfect oratory. Bacon has given a combative study between the traits and characteristics, virtues and vices etc of different modes of discourse.


1.To which centuries do Robert Greene and Graham Greene belong?
Ans. Robert Greene belongs to the second half of the sixteenth century (1558-1592).           And Graham Greene (2 October 1904 – 3 April 1991) belongs to the earlier twentieth century.
2.Can you name the authors of Hudibras and Erewhon?

Ans. Hudibras was written by Samuel Bulter (1612-80) and Erewhon was written by another Samuel Butlar (1835-1902).Read More A to Z (Objective Questions)
3.Name two greatest elegies in English along with the names of the poet?
Ans. Lycidas and In Memoriam are two greatest elegies in English literature. The former was written by John Milton and the later by Alfred Tennyson.
4.Who are the author of Pamela and Pride and Prejudice? Which of these two is epistolary novel?
Ans. Pamela, a novel published under the authorship of Richards and Pride and Prejudice was written by Jane Austen.           Pamela is the epistolary novel.

Andrew Undershaft’s religion of money and gun powder is Shaw's own reflection of socialism

In an altercation in the 2nd act ofMajor BarbaraAndrew Undershaft explains his philosophy thus: Undershaft: Only that there are two things necessary to salvation. Cusins: Ah, the church catechism…………… U: The two things are C: Baptism and U: No. Money and gunpowder. C: Excuse me: is there any place in your religion for honour, justice, truth, love, mercy and so forth? U: Yes: They are the graces and luxuries of a rich, strong and safe life.

This is the trumpeted ‘Gospel’ of Andrew Undershaft, often taken to be Shavian mouth piece in the play. In the ‘Preface’ to Major Barbara, Shaw explains in details this religion of money and gunpowder and hails Andrew Undershaft as a ‘Saint’. Under the section entitled ‘the Gospel of St. Andrew Undershaft’, Shaw writes:
“In the millionaire Undershaft, I have represented a man who has becomes intellectually and spiritually as well as practically conscious of the irresistible natural truth ……………… that our first duty, to which every other consideration should b…

Short Questions From William Somerset Maugham's ‘The Lotus Eater’

Q what is the Greek mythological story associated with the title The Lotus Eater’?Ans: In Greek mythology,Odyssey IX, 84.  the Lotophagi ("lotus-eaters") were a race of people on an island dominated by lotus plants. The lotus flowers were the primary foodstuff of the island and it caused the people to sleep in peaceful apathy. When Odysseus and his men landed on the island of the lotus-eaters, they began doing as the natives did, eating the lotus flowers. This caused them to sleep and stop caring about ever going home. Finally, Odysseus managed to rescue himself from the apathy and set sail. Q.What is the theme of William Somerset Maugham's ‘The Lotus Eater’?
Ans: Somerset Maugham’s The Lotus Eater  is set in 1913 and is of a man Thomas Wilson who comes to the island of Capri in Italy for a holiday. He is so enchanted with the place he gives up his job at London and decides to live the rest of his life without any cares in a mythical lotus eater he settles a li…

Critical Commentry on The Invocation in Paradise Lost Book-I

It is the epic convention to begin the poem with an invocation to the divine spirit to aid the poet in his great motivation of writing Poetry.Read More Poetry Homer thus begins his Iliad: ‘Achilles wrath, to Greece the direful spring          Of Woes unnumbered, Heavenly Goddess sing!’  In Odyssey the Muse is again addressed to depict or to sing the wandering of Odysseus. Virgil too begins his Aeneid with the words: “Arms and the man I sing….”. Such epical canon is also employed by Milton too in his Paradise Lost where the first 26 lines constitute the part of invocation in which a pious address is made to the Muse and states his theme of the Poem.

Qualities of A Tragic Hero in Tragic Drama : Aristotelian Model from Poetics

Aristotle defined tragedy, as an imitation of action which is exalted and ‘serious’, evoking the twin emotions of ‘pity and fear’ of which there is a ‘Cathersis’ that is affected at the end. Read More DramaWhile defining tragedy thus in his treatise on the art of poetry named poetics, Aristotle realized that the tragic action requires a central agent to be carried out. This agent or the conveyor of the tragic action is the tragic hero. (In this context it should be mentioned that in poetics which deals with the art of poetry, by the word ‘Poetry’ Aristotle meant imaginative literature as a whole.)

Analysis of J. M. Synge’s ‘Riders to the Sea’ as a One Act Tragedy

Herman Ould defines one act play as, “it may be neat, compact and rigid; but it may also be wayward, expansive and flexible. So long as it does not conflict with the fundamental principles of drama, it may venture into a hundred different directions and exploit almost as many themes as the ingenuity and inventiveness of the author can suggest”. Such rules are never fixed and may change its degree of intensity. Sometimes the setting or impression or character does play vital roles in one act play. For example, W.W. Jacob’s “The Monkey’s Paw” or Galsworthy’s “The Little Man” or J. M. Synge’s “Riders To the Sea” are characteristically so different yet great one act plays. Let’s focus our discussions on J. M. Synge’s “Riders To the Sea” as a one act play and discuss its natural setting, plot construction, characterization and overall impressions on life. 

Main Features of Old English Language

Old English, a variant of West Germanic, was spoken by Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. InEcclesiastical History of the English People(Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), completed inA.D. 731, the Northumbrian cleric Bede reported that the Germanic settlers of Anglo-Saxon England came from "three very powerful Germanic tribes, the Saxons, the Angles and the Jutes." According to tradition, the Jutes were the first to arrive, in 449. Settling in Britain, the invaders drove the indigenous Celtic-speaking peoples, notably the Britons, to the north and west. As time went on, Old English evolved further from the original Continental form, and regional dialects developed.

Analysis of JOHN KEATS' Ode to a Nightingale : A Commentry on Art and Life

Keatsian Romanticism stresses strong emotion and the individual imagination as the ultimate critical and moral authority. His ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ is one of the finest achievements of such motifs. It is a ‘richly meditative ode’ as Prof Hereford calls it. The whole poem is built on the “thought of the contrast between the Joy, beauty and apparent permanence of the bird song and the sorrow and transience of beauty and joy in human life”. He had heard the “still sad music of humanity”. Read More Romantic Period The song fills him with a desire to escape from the hard reality of life into the world of love and beauty, into the world of visions and passions, into the world of the blessed. The nightingale’s song in the poem symbolizes the beauty of nature and art.

Charles Lamb's Prose Style in Reference to His Essays of Elia

Charles Lamb occupies a unique place in the history of the English prose by virtue of his unique style. Though critics have more or less been unanimous in labeling Lamb’s style as ‘imitative’ of the Elizabethan prose writer like Browne, Burton, Fuller, it is not his imitativeness that strikes the modern readers, but his ability to stamp upon the old Elizabethan style with his mark of personality that lends a pleasing quietness to his style with versatility and insight, with humour and spontaneity. Read More EssayNo doubt, there are many points in which Lamb imitates the Elizabethan writer – for example, in his use of words in the obsolete or Elizabethan senses, his fondness for alliteration, his use of compound words, his formation of adjectives from the proper names, his frequent use of Latinism. However, he is unique by the virtue of his telling stories bearing his personality as forever sweet memories, the quality as one of “Elia's” distinctive hallmarks, along with his fondnes…

Syllabus for SSC Exam For English Teacher Recruitment: Pass Category & Hons/P.G.Category( West Bengal, India)

New Pattern of SSC Exam Consist of One/Two Paper/s:

Pass Category:(for classes VI to VIII) only TET( Paper II)
H/ PG Category:(for classes VI to VIII)TET & Subject( Paper I)
H/ PG Category:(for classes IX to XII) only Subject( Paper I) Paper II
TET( Paper II) for Pass Category Or TET Paper For Qualifying to Paper I (Subject Paper) H/ PG Category:(for classes VI to VIII)TET & Subject( Paper I)

‘Aesthetic Autobiography’ -- a Satisfactory Description of the Genre of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Manis a semi-autobiographical novel about the education of a young Irishman, Stephen Daedalus, whose background has much in common with Joyce’s. However, in determining the genre of A Portrait readers and critics both face a lengthy debate. In terms of its critical reception A Portrait has had its share of detractors and its admirers. As far as its autobiographical elements are concerned A Portrait can be seen both as a ‘Bildungsroman’ which describes the youthful development of the central character and as ‘aesthetic autobiography’ or ‘kunstlerroman’. We will now carryout our discussions on Joyce’s portrayal of Stephen and see how he keeps varying his distance from Stephen but never does so drastically.

Difference Between Shakespeare’s Romantic Comedy and Comedy of Manner

The essence of a Romantic comedy especially the Shakespearean kind lies primarily in the explorations of the depths of the lover’s hearts, their emotions, their feelings, their joyous outbursts and their momentary agonies. The way Shakespeare sounded the depths of passion in Viola and Olivia, in Hermia and Lysander, in Rosalind and Orlando, shows that the purpose of the Romantic Comedies is to explore in depth love, a deep attribute of the heart, as a value guiding human lives. This fathoming the depth of cordial emotions is absent in a comedy of manners. In a comedy of manners love is a portrayal, but the purpose of the playwright is not to try and analyze the guiding spirit of this steadfast passion called love in the form of intrigues, just as a game of the two sexes presented only on the superficial social plane. Millamant andMirabellare not Violas and Rosalinds; the former take love as an intrigue, the latter are deeply swayed by it.

Short Questions From The Victorian Age (1830-90)

Historical &  Literary events 
1833 – Oxford Movement started
1848 – R B founded
1850 – In Memoriam by Tennyson
1859 – Idylls of The King by Tennyson
1855 – Men and Women by Browning
1842 – Dramatic lyrics by Browning
1847-48 – Vanity Fair - Thackeray
1859 – On The Origin of The species – Charles Darwin
1879 – A Doll’s house – Ibsen
1865,1888 – Essays in Criticism  -M. Arnold


1831-1837  William IV
1837-1901  Queen Victoria

Significance of Shelter Scene in Major Barbara

The Salvation Army is used throughout the drama, Major Barbara, not only as contemporary touchstones that help establish setting, but also as a way of revealing the Bernard Shaw’s interests, emotions, and personalities. Chief among these is the Shavian philosophy which reflects Shaw’s design landscape of society, and also showcases the divide between religion and money. Read More George Bernard ShawHis reaction to them is respectful and even political—but he does not really burden us the theory without explanation. The meaning of the classic ‘Shelter Scene’ which takes place in the ‘Salvation Army Shelter’, is our emotional dilemmas, the mismatched romance of reality and false beliefs on money and religious practices.

Scandinavian Influence upon the English Language

Aside from Greek, Latin and French, only Scandinavian, the language of the people of whom the Anglo Saxons called ‘Danes’ has made a really substantial contribution to the  English vocabulary. Read More PhilologyThe Scandinavian(Scandinavia, today’s Norway, Sweden and Denmark: Scandinavian invaders are known as Vikings) colonization of the British Isles had a considerable effect on the English language and vocabulary, as well as culture. The similarity between old  English and the language of the Scandinavian invaders makes it at times very difficult to decide whether a given word in Modern English is a native or a borrowed word. Read More PhilologyEnormous similarity is found between these two languages in nouns like ‘man’, ‘wife’, ‘father’, ‘folk’, ‘mother’, ‘house’, ‘life’, ‘winter’, ‘summer’; verbs like ‘will’, ‘can’, ‘meet’, ‘come’, ‘bring’, ‘hear’, ‘see’, ‘think’, ‘smile’, ‘ride’, ‘spin’; and adjectives and adverbs like ‘full’, ‘wise’, ‘better’, ‘best’, ‘mine’, ‘over’ and ‘under…

Grimm – Verner’s Law --Law of first Consonant Sift.

The Germanic speech group in which the place of English is in the sub-family, itself constitutes a branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Many modifications were taking place in the Primitive Germanic, and just as it had originated as dialect of Indo – European, so it was itself breaking up into several dialects, mainly on geographical basis. There are many inter-relations among branches and sub branches of the sub-family languages which are criss-crossing, yet fascinating for the philologists. Such an important change observed by Jacob Grim, a German philologist is the Primitive Germanic consonant shift. Presently, we will explain it and note the corrigendum by Danish philologist, Verner.

Critical Appreciation of William Wordsworth's The Solitary Reaper

"He spoke, and loos'd our heart in tears.
He laid us as we lay at birth
On the cool flowery lap of earth."

Matthew Arnold (1822 - 1888)
British poet and critic.Referring to William Wordsworth.
"Memorial Verses"
In Wordsworthian poetry the temple of Mother Nature is a constitution of three guiding principles: Solitude, Silence and Loneliness, and hisThe Solitary Reaperis typically characterized by them which results in a perfect ballad with its simplicity, suggestiveness, pathos and verbal music. Inspired by Wilkinson’s Tour in Scotland the poem is a sweet -melancholic memoirs of tour de Scotland. While poet Wordsworth was touring Scottish highland along with his dear sister Dorothy, he met a reaper girl in her spontaneous moods. Such of this sweet piece of memory of the highland reaper girl is beautifully exhibited through this poem.


The Feeling of Charles Lamb Before and After His Retirement
“It is now six and thirty years since I took my seat at the desk in Mincing-lane.
For the first day or two I felt stunned, overwhelmed. I could only apprehend my felicity; I was too confused to taste it sincerely. I wandered about, thinking I was happy, and knowing that I was not.”

Lamb in “The Superannuated Man” has given an account of his feeling before and after his retirement. Lamb served as a clerk for long thirty-six years and then retired. Lamb’s life as a clerk was tedious and boring. He, however, had a respite from work on a Sunday every week.

Essential Characteristics of Comedy which Constitutes the Comic Spirit

Primarily the essence of Comedy depends on its happy ending and its ability to evoke laughter. All discussions on the basic nature of comedy have stemmed from Aristotle’s definition of comedy as “Imitation of bad characters, bad not with respect to every sort of vice, but to ridicule only, as being a species of turpitude or deformity ……………….. This is neither painful nor destructive”. Aristotle’s definition takes comedy to be an imitation of what is ridiculous or deformed in manner. Aristotle’s theory  might be applicable to the comedy of ancient Greece, but so far as the comedies of Shakespeare and of later times are concerned, it is quite untenable. The best way of discussing the essence or the spirit of comedy is to highlight its different features.

Introspection of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi –Life and Writings

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar in 2 Oct. 1869. He is commonly regarded as the greatest man of the 20th century. An apostle of non-violence, he nevertheless lead India’s struggle against the greatest and most powerful empire in human history. That is why he has been called the father of the nation and given the appellation, “Mahatma”, or great soul. Gandhiji took law degree in England. After, qualifying for the Bar in 1891, he came back to India but found no satisfactory work. Thus, he set sail to South Africa and there faced a severe racial discrimination. He fought for justice. During the South African years, Gandhiji experimented with all the major ingredients of his missions: community living in the Tolstoy and Phoenix settlements, experiments with diet, satyagraha, adoption of truth, nonviolence or ahimsa etc.

Theme of Major Barbara is the education of Barbara-- broken illusions of Barbara

Bernard Shaw was a professed iconoclast. In all his plays he undertakes in principle to shatter convention illusions or romantic myths that have accrued through time upon some social or moral concepts. For example, in Arms and the Man Shaw exposes the hollowness of the romantic concepts about love and war, in Mrs. Warren’s Profession he blows up the myths round prostitution and The Widower’s Houses the concepts of sham landlord-ism and so on. Similarly, in Major Barbara Shaw debunks the hollowness of institutionalized Christianity. The purpose is served by the shattering of illusions and the consequent education of Barbara. Her education is primarily structured through a series of conversations on morality, religion, and social engineering and it becomes a promise of society's redemption.

Role and Function of Adolphus Cusins in George Bernard Shaw's play, Major Barbara

Strange in characterization, being mysteriously aloof from the action yet in action , an observer and a choric commentator on the religious conflict between Undershaft  and  Barbara and finally as chosen a future Undershaft ,Role and Function of  Adolphus Cusins in the Shavian play, Major Barbara is complex and difficult to ascertain. He has been introduced as – ‘a spectacled student slight thin haired and sweet voiced Professor of Greek’. ‘His sense of humour’, writes Shaw ‘is intellectual and subtle …… He is a most implacable, determined, tenacious, intolerant person …… capable possibly of murder, but not of cruelty and cursedness. By the operation of some instinct which is not merciful enough to blind him with the illusions of love, he is obstinately bent on marrying Barbara’.

O Henry’s The Last Leaf as a Short Story

To be perfect short story neatness, brevity and a significant incident or an aspect of character or an experience of some psychological moment is essential. Within its short frame work, it must have a beginning, middle and an end. There must be completeness in its structure. All the elements plot, character, dialogue, descriptions and background must be organically connected with other. Generally a good story has a surprising end which bears a sense of endlessness. All these characteristics of a good short story are fulfilled in the short story of O Henry’s The Last Leaf. It has an ironical twist at the end that is surprising and at the same time striking to the readers. Old Behrman’s bold self sacrifice for the young Johnsy comes unexpectedly to the readers, but none the less convincing and admirable.The story if farther a parable of christian story of Resurrection and sacrifice.

Difference Between Classical Greek Tragedy and Shakespearean Tragedy

The essence of tragedy, be it Greek or Shakespearean is the rendering of human suffering and a contemplation of the nature of man’s destiny in relation to the universe. It is here that all tragedy is one. But an in-depth analysis of the features of tragic drama as was in vogue in ancient Greece reveals that in structure and conceptualization, classical Greek drama has some differences with the tragedy as practiced in the Elizabethan times, especially by Shakespeare.