Showing posts from November, 2012

Analyzing William Blake’s Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794)

“An honesty against which the whole world conspires because it is unpleasant.” -T. S. Eliot
William Blake was hardly known in his life time though he was most original, strongly individualistic, and mostly a solitary figure. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, through his edition of Blake’s poems, brought him to public attention. In fact, Blake was a genius who distinguished himself in poetry, engraving and painting. He lived in London unlike many other poets who lived in the countryside. He had little formal education, but he taught himself. He was teepee in the Bible, Elizabethan literature and Milton. He knew many language including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 40

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers: The Rise and Journey of Periodical Essay
Periodical publications released on a regular basis may include news, feature articles, poems, fictional stories, or other types of writing. It is a magazine or journal published at regular intervals: monthly, quarterly, etc. The periodical, as we understand it today, dates from the middle of the 17th century. Little Magazine, a form of periodical, devoted to publishing specialized, avant-garde writing and criticism. Because of limited circulation and marginal financial backing, the so-called little magazines are generally short-lived.Historically, most periodicals have differed from newspapers in their format, publication schedule, and content. The exclusively literary periodical is more recent.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 39

Short notes on History of English Literature: Arcadia and Utopia
A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers 1.Arcadia by Philip Sidney, written to amuse his sister, the Countess of Pem-broke, is a prose romance interspersed with verse, in which he gives a full play of his fantastic invention.
2.Arcadia (1590), a pastoral romance in verse linked by prose passages; the first considerable work in English in this form, it became a model for later pastoral poetry.
3.It is a pastoral romance; its action being held in the ideal Arcadia.
4.Here king Basilius retired and here he brings up his daughters as shepherdesses.
5.Sidney’s pastoral romance Arcadia was famous in its day.
6.Here is  occasional good passage, such as the prayer to a heathen god, ”O All-seeing Light,”–a prayer that became historic and deeply pathetic when King Charles repeated it, facing death on the scaffold. That was in 1649, more than half a century after Arcadia was written.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 38

Short notes on:Poetic Term /Rhetoric/ Figure of Speech
A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

1. Ballad:  The Ballad has been defined in the Reader's companion to world Literature as “a narrative song - poem usually relating a single, dramatic incident, in a form suitable for singing or rhythmical chanting ". Ballads are of two kinds -- the folk ballads and the literary ballads. The authors of the former are unknown; the authors of latter are known literary figures. Ballads and more especially folk ballads are characterized by simplicity of language, terseness of expression, directness of narration, the use of archaic words and repletion of phrases and lines to achieve a cumulative effect. They are usually objective and impersonal, and devote little attention to character portraiture or setting.
Bishop’s Reliques of English poetry contain some of the best ballads in English.
2. Blank Verse:  Each line of Blank verse contains ten syllables. The pre - dominant beat is iambic…

Analysis of ‘Measure for Measure’ as a Problem Play

Chambers remarks that in "Measure for Measure the evidence of Shakespeare’s profound disillusionment and discouragement of spirit is plain enough that the search light of irony is thrown upon the paths of Providence itself”. It is written in 1604. it is Shakespeare’s last comedy, and it is considered by many to be the best-known and most controversial comedy of the author's tragic period. It contains many dark, somber elements more typical of the tragedies to come. 

Una Ellis - Fermor on Isabella: “Hard as an icicle she visits Claudio in person and lays before him the terms and her decisions – her pitilessness only growing with his pleading. Creation and death are the two issues which form the core of the play. There is equal emphasis on the forces of harmony and discord.Shakespeare’s play ends neatly with two marriages: one performed, between Mariana and Angelo, the other in prospect, between Isabella and the duke.

Four Great Tragedies of Shakespeare: –Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear

In the third period of Shakespearean world (1600-1608), tragedy predominates. Starting with Julius Cacsar (1601) he raises to greater heights in the celebrated ‘The four Great Tragedies –Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear. The structure of Julius Caesar is unusual. It looks like two tragedies in one, first Ceasar’s and then Brutus’s. It is also a revenge tragedy when Antony becomes the avenger. For the playwright the shift from English history in the recently completed Henry V to roman history released a new confidence. 

HamletProbably written in 1601 is a tragedy of revenge. Hamlet is generally considered the foremost tragedy in English drama. Numerous commentaries have been written analyzing every aspect of the play, and interpretation of Hamlet’s character and motivation continue to be subjects of considerable interest.  It is so because the figure of Hamlet has so fascinated successive generations, the play has provoked more discussion, more performances and more scholarship th…

Character Sketch – Raju in R. K. Narayan's 'The Guide'

“We are free to infer that, on the last day of the fast, Raju, "Swami” dies opportunely, a martyr.” – Discuss.Some are born saints, some achieve sanctity, and some have sanctity thrust upon them. Perhaps, Raju is one of these last! –Discuss.Sketch of the  Character of – Raju in R. K. Narayan's The Guide. Introduction:- In his last three novels, R. K. Narayan has been trying – like a stonemason laboring to make a goddess come out of a stone – to make a good man a godly man, grow out of a man of the earth. Raju in The Guide is doubtless half knave half fool, and he remains such when he allows himself to be mistaken for a Swami, a spiritual Guide, by the simple people of Mangala. But some days after he is trapped into commencing his fast, change gradually comes over him:“For the first time in his life he was making an earnest effort, for the first time he was learning the thrill of full application, outside money and love; for the first time he was doing a thing in which he was n…

Eighteenth Century is the Age of Prose Reason

The 18th century viewed as a whole has a distinctive character. It is definitely the Age of understanding, the age of enlightenment, where a literature which had become pellucid (clear) began to diffuse knowledge among the growing public. The supremacy of reason was unchallenged – there reigned a general belief in the advancement of human mind. This flourishing of enlightened idea and the escalation of reason and logical thought founds its best articulation through the triumph of English prose in the 18th century. As such, the 18th century has often been designated as the age of prose reason. The major prose writers of the age include Jonathan swift (1667 -1745) Joseph Addison (1672 -1719), Richard Steele (1672 -1729) and Samuel Johnson (1704 – 1784). Other prose writers of significance are James Bowell (1740 – 1795), Edlemund Burley (1729 – 1797) and Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794). 

The Victorian Age as an Age of Doubt and Conflict

Hugh walker commended the Victorian age as ‘the age of property, balance and order’ in The Literature of the Victorian Era, andfew would question the validity of this statement. The Victorian reign had given England political peace and this was conducive to social progress. After a penetrating study of the state of men’s mind would reveal the painful feeling of doubt, conflict and dissatisfaction that seethed beneath the veneer of ‘democracy’ and ‘prosperity’. Indeed the spate of social reform may have been only a consequence of such dissatisfaction. Today Toynbee’s phrase for the Victorian Age an age of conflict and doubt’---------- has attained the status of a final statement.

Rhetorical Analysis of The Sun Rising by John Donne


The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde's Satirical Comedy of Manners

“No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.” “The play, though extremely funny, was essentially hateful", observed George Bernard Shaw (My Memories of Oscar Wilde), and a possible reason for his aversion is its farcical nature.The Importance of Being Earnestis ostensibly a farce, that poor cousin of true comedy which may have had its provenance in Aristophanes and the subsequent Roman comedy, but which never found a secure play in the respectable comic genre.

The farce is notorious for its lack of plausible plot, its mechanical actions, and its puppet - like characterization and finally its general lack of intensity. It is only Oscar Wilde and Pinero who, among the English play wrights made a serious attempt at farce, being able to rehabilitate this sub - genre to a considerable degree. Indeed, in his so - called farcical play like Lady Windermere’s Fan, A woman of No Importance ,   and The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde is able to create a…


While romantic poetry is a movement , Victorian poetry is a chronological phenomenon.  Consequently , if a broad group of characteristics such as a rebellious spirit , a spontaneity of effusion , a return to nature , an interest in the self and a luxuriant sensibility may be said to characterized almost all romantic poetry , no such effluence of poetic characteristics may be predicated of Victorian poetry . Not only is the display of poetic tallest from the fourth decade of the eighteenth century to its end prolific , but also subtly varied in the wide range of its colouring .Even though they imbibed many qualities from the romantic , and even though romanticism was the strongest and most obvious feature of many Victorian poets , the spiritual change and the atmosphere of another age modified their art in various ways . Their poetry displays either a more disciplined and elaborate perfection of form , or an interest in emotions which are not narrowed down to that of the subjective sel…

THE PROBLEM PLAY:Drama of Social Problems

Towards the end of the Victorian age the drama of social problems came into prominence in England. The problem play was the presentation of a contemporary question through realistic technique. The dramatists writing plays of social criticism made a conscious effort to deal with problems of contemporary society and morality. The drama which was directly inspired by the social ferment of the time could be effective only if it adopted a realistic form or medium, because problem drama required a high level of craftsmanship and dramaturgic skill.

Epiphany in James Joyce’s A portrait of The Artist As a Young Man

Critics  have variously interpreted the experience of the modern novelist as tolling the death of story. The words are a proven truth for James Joyce. His expression of experience took a different turn as also a different form. The early years of his life were passed in Dublin. Joyce was almost blind from his childhood, and he lived in the world of sounds; in that glamorous town of Dublin, Joyce wanted to express the immediate and the present he called it ‘an epiphany’(Greek epiphaneia, “appearance”). Unlike roust he wanted to express the immediate consciousness as reality. Joyce’s A Portrait of The Artist As a Young Man clearly demonstrates such epiphanies to signify the moment when all of a sudden the personae probes into the heart of things and experiences a sudden spiritual manifestation. In the present novel it is used to resolve and resolute a conflict the to be an artist face with. 

Society and Life : Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer

Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops To Conquer , an anti – sentimental comedy, is at least partly a revival of the traditional comedy of Manners, and therefore, presents a vivid picture of the life and attitude, modes and manners of contemporary society. But while the Restoration comedy of manners had been rooted in the 17th century and presented only the degenerate life in the cosmopolitan cities such as London inThe way of the world, Goldsmith’s comedy presents the relatively quaint and even innocent life in the countryside in the 18th century Further, while the comedies of Manners presented only the aristocratic classes Goldsmith present the entire spectrum of rustic life, and even city – bred personalities ultimately find their entry into the play. Goldsmith might well have polishes for his motto the dictum mores hominum multorum vidit (Poetica), ‘the moves and manners of many people are to be seen’. Beginning in the household of a country squire it etches a complete picture of country …


Victorian prose , though chronologically coterminous with and sometimes even overlapping the era of Romantic prose , marks a distinct break both thematically and stylistically . The change is less of conscious purpose than of the difference in temperament and intellectual interests . The familiar essay , with its highly personal , often whimsical , flaunting of the writers tastes , prejudices and idiosyncrasies  -- the hall mark of the Romantic gave way to a distinctively Victorian willingness to engage in moral and intellectual debate . Yet this Victorian prose whose chronological period extended from the accession of queen Victoria in 1837 to the level of the century heed not be peremptorily dismissed as being one of doubt darkness and revitalization on account of its relative impersonality . Not only was it a period of ‘god’s plenty’ but also of amazing the notice diversity and astonishing intellectual passion . Rightly does David Daiches comment : ‘ Carlyle and Mill represented in…

Analysis and Significance of Lord Tennyson’s ‘ Morte D' Arthur'

Lord Tennyson’s ‘ Morte D' Arthur'  narrates a medieval story , but it has for leading psychological and allegorical significance . It tells is that obedience and discipline are necessary if the social fabric is to be maintained intact , that war and disovden result if there is faithlessness , treachery or disobedience . However , such social change should not cause despair , for change is the law of nature . “ old order" always changes giving place to the new. The setting of the story is medieval , and the medieval atmosphere has been created with great art and skill Reference to the knights of the Round Tables and to towrnaments in which Arthur fought lance in hand , bring out the chivalry and heroism of the middle ages . The super-naturalism and mystery of these remote ages , their belief in magic and witchcraft , is seen is the magic sword of king Arthur , and the mystic hand which rises out of the lake at his death to take it away . As J.B Steane points out in the poe…

Thomas Hardy’s Philosophy of Life: Analysing His Novel, The Return of The Native

"Twilight combined with the scenery of Egdon Heath to evolve a thing majestic without severity, impressive without showiness, emphatic in its admonitions, grand in its simplicity." Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928) British novelist and poet. The Return of the Native

Towards the end of the novel Tess of D’Urbervilles, Hardy says that if Aeschylus had been the author of the novel, he would have described the story of Tess as a game played by the president of the Immortal. Hardy seeks to suggest that according to Aeschylus man is but a toy in the hands of some supreme powers which may suitably be called the president of the immortality. Whether Aeschylus exclusively advocates the supremacy of fate or some Devine power is a question which is not without controversy. But since our subject is Hardy, and Aeschylus, we should not enter into the thorny area of Aeschylus is fatalism. Hardy seems to be much in common with Shakespeare in so far as his tragic vision is concerned. Shakespeare thin…

Tennyson’s Narrative Skill with Reference to ‘Morte de Arthur’

Introduction:‘Morte de Arthur’ is one of the most celebrated narrative poems of Lord  Tennyson. It is in the form of an allegory. King Arthur and Sir Bedivere are in fact symbol of courage and moral qualities. But they are not mere abstractions. They are real human beings. Tennyson very nicely presented the character of both in the poem.


The term Gothic originally referred to the Goths, a Germanic tribe, rather savage and aggressive in nature subsequently it came to signify whatever was Germanic and then ‘medieval’ ‘Gothic architecture’ or design now denotes the medieval type of architecture, with some specific features. The term Gothic has, in fact, come to mean now medieval.


The Political Time: The reign of Queen Anne in early 18th-century England is commonly known as Augustan age. During this period, the satirist Jonathan Swift, the poet Alexander Pope, and the essayists Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele were among the major literary figures. The Style in Motions: Their neoclassical style employed Roman forms, such as the ode, and emphasized common sense, moderation, reason over emotion and elegance over brevity. In the eighteenth century the subjects of study became more numerous and more systematic. And it was the good fortune of England that prose in the age had become a pliant and serviceable medium.

Thirst by Eugene O’ Neill: Symbolic Significance, Tragic Atmosphere, Hints and Foreboding

Introduction: Eugene O’ Neill is a writer who greatly values brevity in art. In his writings, therefore, he focuses on a small group of characters who have some shared interest. Though this tendency limits the plot as well as the activities of characters, it is ideal for bringing out some kind of hidden trust that O' Neill believes must emerge out of drama. In his Thirst the three major characters- the Drama, The Gentleman and The West Indian Mulatto- are involved with the strategy of survival amidst abject misery of vast ocean after ship wreak. What they do at the critical situation, how they respond to it, what is final route of rescue is of concern for readers, as well as critics. I web of interacted imagery is the technical excellence of Thirst by which the text becomes itself misted with more and more meaning.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton: Fundamentally a Serious Writer

“Evil comes at leisure like the disease; good comes in a hurry like the doctor.”- The Man who was Orthodox
G.K.Chesterton was fundamentally a serious writer and popular for his brilliant, vigorous, and witty style, despite holding sometimes controversial views.. He liked satire, paradox and also favored epigrammatic expression. Naturally his language becomes powerful, lucid and graceful. Reason is the flavour of his prose. He has sensitivity for his subjects. He used satire and epigram for the defense of constructive principles as well as positive rather creative criticism. Simplicity helped Chesterton to from beauty from day to day happenings. Naturally he was greatly moved by antithesis. Regarding his style we may welcome cordially the conception of Edward Albert:

William Hazlitt Prose Style: Energy, Vigor, Ease and Effectiveness

William Hazlitt’s prose style combines energy and vigor, ease and effectiveness. His many essays are famous for the lucidity and brilliance in both style and content.Thus his influence on the English essay has been healthier than Lamb’s. His essays are remarkable for their fearless expression of an honest and individual opinion. He lacked the learned critical apparatus of modern critics, His emotional reactions rather than objective applied principles helped him to make his judgments. His brief, abrupt sentences had the vigor and directness of his views and sentiments. His lectures had a manly simplicity. Essays and lectures expressed a fondness for the apt and skillfully blended quotation. Apart from brilliant prose style and wide-ranging knowledge of art, literature, and philosophy, Hazlitt was involved in many literary disputes of the day and did not hesitate to turn his writing powers against authors and critics who disagreed with him or criticized his work.  Hazlitt shared Lamb’s…

The Reader in Tristram Shandy ; Metafiction or Metanarrative

Sterne’s novel, Tristram Shandy is unique in that it is much ahead of its time in its post-modernist approach to the narrative technique, and in its according of the reader a special consolatory status. Tristram Shandy is an auto-referential novel in which the tale per se is less important than the narrative method, the fictive matter less important than the manner of telling it, and the reader’s concern with the events less important than the narrator’s causerie with the reader. The presence of an intruding self-conscious narrator and a perpetually present implied reader makes it what critics generally call a metafiction or Meta narration’ since the narrator discusses with the reader his narrative and artistic techniques. That Sterne considers a narrative to be a communication between the reader and the narrator is brought to the fore in his own statement: ‘Writing, when properly managed is but a different name for conversation’ (ii,xi). 


“The seasoning of a play is the applause.”
 Ever since Coleridge declared that “The Alchemist” was among the three most perfect plots ever devised, there was such excessive emphasis on the plots of Jonson, that T.S Eliot reacted by declaring that what holds his plays together is a unity of impression that radiates into plots and personages alike. Yet one cannot deny that Jonson’s plays are generally well-constructed, and that they obey the classical principles of action, time and place further, the classicism of the plot is also evident in the five-fold structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. The only hindrance to unity of the plot however is the subplot, which was been judged to be unnecessary or excrescences by a number of critics, since it dose not in any number contribute to the thematic core of the main plot. Yet, a discerning study would reveal that the subplot is intimately connected to the main plot.