AD's English Literature : April 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

George Bernard Shaw ’s Place Among the Writers of English Comedies



Regarding George Bernard Shaw ’s place among the writers of English comedies, A. Nicoll has written as follows, in his famous book, A History of late Nineteenth Century Drama:
“Looking at English drama as a whole, it seems that we may trace four main forms within the comic atmosphere. The first is William Shakespeare ’s comedy of romance, distinguished by its all-pervading humour – a humour which permits the dramatist to mingle together the most strangely varied elements, which allows him to put his fairies alongside his human lovers, to make his clown strut with his kings.

George Bernard Shaw: The Man- A Saint of the Life Force




  Shaw  is a bachelor, an Irishman, a vegetarian, a fluent liar, a social democrat, a lecturer and debater, a lover of music, a fierce opponent of the present status of women and an insister on the seriousness of art.” ....

 This is what George Bernard Shaw wrote to describe himself to a journalist quite early in life. If it was true of Shaw when he wrote this, it was true of him till the end of his long life except in one respect that he died not as a bachelor but as a married man. As a matter of fact Shaw was essentially the same man all through his almost a century old long life. “Old at sixty or young at eighty, adventurous or responsible, Bernard Shaw has not changed. He is always the same in everything that matters. All his developments are reflections of his one first vision; all his plays form a cycle of mystical faith in which he proclaims that each one of us is a Man of Destiny, a servant of the Life Force, a temple of the Holy Ghost.”

  Shaw  was the most outstanding man of his time. He was a dominating personality, a proponent world figure beyond the vulgar clutch of mortality. He bestrode the modern busy world like a colossus. If he uttered a single word or made a gesture or expressed an idiosyncrasy of his mind, it was at once flashed across the world from one end to the other. His plays may be forgotten future. But he will go down to posterity as the most vivid and arresting personality of his age.

Thomas Hardy’s A Woman's Fancy: Pathetic Intimacy Between a Women and a Dead Man

Thomas Hardy’s  A Woman's Fancy narrates the progress of a curiously pathetic intimacy between a women and a dead man, initiated by critically mistaken assumptions that both were once man and wife. As is general with narrative verse, it is the broad outlines of the story which give the poem its emotional charge, and encourage the reader’s involvement in two complementary ways.

 Thomas Hardy’s A Woman's Fancy is made accessible through the use of traditional verse patterns and direct vocabulary. A strong rhythmic pattern dominates throughout the regular rhyming of lines two and four, while the repetition of irregular line lengths in each stanza culminates in a dramatic emphasis on the short six-syllable fourth. It is as though we are reading a ballad, where the forms of poetry --- or verse ---- stamp themselves on material often drawn from the lives and language of ordinary people in order to furnish it with broad importance, broad significance. The inversions required at lines 21 and 34, ‘exclaim she’ and ‘uprises he’, add to this effect – the quaintness of the latter, together with ‘thuswise’ , suggestive of a sense of folk tradition.

Analysis of Walt Whitman’s I am the poet of the Body: Combines Body and Soul, Female and Male


 I am the poet of the Body;  from Song of Myself, no. 21 
by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

I am the poet of the Body;
And I am the poet of the Soul.
The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of hell are with me;
The first I graft and increase upon myself --
  the latter I translate into a new tongue.

I am the poet of the woman the same as the man;
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men.

I chant the chant of dilation or pride;
We have had ducking and deprecating about enough;
I show that size is only development.

Have you outstript the rest? Are you the President?
It is a trifle -- they will more than arrive there, every one,
  and still pass on.

I am he that walks with the tender and growing night;
I call to the earth and sea, half-held by the night.

Press close, bare-bosom'd night! Press close, magnetic, nourishing night!
Night of south winds! night of the large few stars!
Still, nodding night! mad, naked, summer night.

Smile, O voluptuous, cool-breath'd earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees;
Earth of departed sunset! earth of the mountains, misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon, just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark, mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds, brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbow'd earth! rich, apple-blossom'd earth!
Smile, for your lover comes!

Prodigal, you have given me love! Therefore I to you give love!
O unspeakable, passionate love!


In I am the poet of the Body Walt Whitman  seeks to define his identity in terms of a poetic voice. The repeated ‘I am the poet’ of the opening lines of the first two units of verse makes the claim starkly, while other verbs continue the idea of a speaking voice – ‘I say’, 11.5 – 6; ‘I call’, 1.13 – and develop it specifically into linguistic and poetic directions – ‘I translate’, 1.3; ‘I chant’. 1.7. The notion of song here echoes a fundamental conception of the poet as singer, which has informed poetic theory and practice through the ages, perhaps most significantly and memorably in the formulaic opening of classical epic.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Technical Tips for Writing a Good Essay: Presentation of Critical Writing

To describe the conventions generally agreed for the form and presentation of critical writing – what is understood by the term ‘Scholarly method’ – can be an extensive business. But you will appreciate that, in principle, some regularly in the way we communicate is very advisable. It helps us to write efficiently, economically and clearly, besides making the text of our criticism more agreeable to the reader’s eye. This last point is particular importance when, denied the neat and impressive packaging of typescript or the benefits of word-processor, our arguments rely on handwriting to make their effect.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 42



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

1.     Carlyle became lifelong friend of Emerson. Emerson became famous throughout the country as “The Safe of Concord”. Emerson called his Journals as his “Savings Bank”. Emerson was greatly influenced by Indian especially Hindi thought. What appeared most to Emerson was the concept of the fundamental Atman – Brahman unity.
2.      “The American Scholar” is an address delivered at Harvard College in 1937. It has been called the nation’s intellectual Declaration of independence. It was reprinted in London in 1844 under the title “Man Thinking: An Oration”.
3.     Leaves of grass gives equal status to woman with man. It is usually spoken of as Whiteman’s poetic autobiography. Vivekananda called Whitman “The Sanyasin of America”. Emerson had seen the Leaves of Grass as a combination of Bhagwad Gita and The New York Herald.

Shaw and Shakespeare: A Modern Battleship and An Elizabethan Man-of-war




George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and William Shakespeare (1564-1616) are the two greatest dramatists of England. They lived in different ages and worked under different conditions of time and circumstances. Their mental attitudes and dramatic methods too were different. So, there can be no comparison between them just as there can be no comparison between a modern battleship and an Elizabethan man-of-war. But in spite of all their differences they resemble each other in one important respect that both of them have made valuable contributions to the development of the English drama by using the heterogeneous dramatic materials of their respective ages and welding them into a harmonious whole by the wizardry of their dramatic genius. Regarding the points of similarity between Shaw and Shakespeare A. Nicoll’s valuable observation in his book, A History of Late Nineteenth Century Drama deserves careful reading. He states as follows: “To compare Shakespeare and Shaw may be a trifle foolish, for such comparisons of persons far removed in time from one another savour of the purely academic; but provided we maintain oar sense of proportion and balance, the parallel may yield material for critical evaluation. Shakespeare was born in 1564 and came to the theatre in the early nineties of the sixteenth century. Shaw was born in 1856 and had his first plays produced in 1892. When Shakespeare joined a company of London players he found a renascent drama which as yet had not realized its own destiny. Lyly had provided a new model in mythological fantastic comedy; Gascoigne had experimented in translation from the Italian Commedia Erudite; a strange romantic style was being exploited by Greene and a peculiar revenge drama had attracted the attention of Kyd; above all, Marlowe was plumbing the depths of a new tragedy and displaying the full powers of blank verse. Shakespeare’s virtue it was, not surely to bring a still further outstanding genius to the stage, but to seize from Lyly and Greene and Kyd and Gascoigne and Marlowe just such materials as might be regarded most valuable and to weld these into one harmonious whole Marlowe’s verse and high tragic conception be made his own, and combined with that the subtlety of The Spanish Tragedy: to the Italian wit as reflected in Gascoigne he  added Lyly’s over-delicate grace and Greene’s romantic robustness.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Shakespearean First 30 Sonnet analysis: A Panacea for the Poet’s Emotional Distress

Shakespeare's Sonnet 13 is at the center of a sequence of sonnets dealing with the narrator’s growing attachment to the fair lord and the narrator’s paralyzing inability to function without him. The sonnet begins with the image of the poet drifting off into the “remembrance of things past” – painful memories, we soon learn, that the poet has already lamented but now must lament a new. The fair lord enters the scene only in the sonnet’s closing couplet, where he is presented as a panacea for the poet’s emotional distress.

Closely morning the message of  Sonnet 29, here Shakespeare cleverly heightens the expression of his overwhelming anxiety by belaboring the theme of emotional dependence. Whereas in Sonnet 29 he quits his whining after the second quatrain, in Sonnet 30 three full quatrains are devoted to the narrator’s grief, suggesting that his dependence on the fair lord is increasing. Meanwhile  Sonnet 30’s closing couplet reiterates lines 9-14 of Sonnet 29 in compact form, emphasizing that the fair lord is a necessity for the poet’s emotional well-being: the fair lord is the only thing that can bring the poet happiness.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers - Traditional Novel or Experimental Novel?



D. H. Lawrence has displayed a bold originality of his genius and his consummate artistic finesse in Sons and Lovers. With his pioneering artistry, he deviated from the traditional patter of fiction and tried to break fresh grounds. It was Lawrence’s unmatched artistic fecundity or rare ingenuity which was responsible for the genesis of a completely new type of fiction, popularly acclaimed as ‘physiological novel’. His originality paved the way for the emergence of a new literary genre, unknown to nineteenth century literary circle. His sharp or distinct departure from the conventional type of fiction is evident in the theme of this novel and in the presentation of the theme.

The primary concern of the conventional 19th century novelists was with the story-telling aspect. The element of story was very much important to them. They had a great inclination for a well-knit structure and they sought to abide by the strict rule or propriety concerning the unity of time, place and action. But Lawrence was motivated by an altogether different intention. Of course, in Sons and Lovers the story element has not been relegated to a secondary position. Lawrence gave due emphasis to the story-telling aspect. But at the same time he was very much conscious of his genius which was apt to strike a new note, hitherto unexplored and untouched by the so-called conventional novelists. Lawrence did not sell himself as a traditional raconteur. Hence, story-telling was not his forte. Nevertheless, in Sons and Lovers we get quite interesting and engaging story. The novel may appositely called as an autobiographical novel. The story is cast in the mould of his own life.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

William Blake's “A Poison Tree”, Imbibed with a Great Message: Love



Blake's “A Poison Tree”, imbibed with a great message, tell us a small story. It is all about love and hate. Simply, Love, emotion explored in human condition, is the capacity to measure our mental health. It ranks among other human needs. As a basic force in shaping reality in living, one should express it. Proverbially, Hate, whereas, has no medicine. It corrupts, poisons and maligns. It is the mischief of human heart one should avoid.
Now coming to the poem, we find that the poet was angry with his friend and he told it to his friend and his anger disappeared:
“I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.”

UGC Practice Set: 10 Common Clarification from English Literature



 Q1. What is Rhyme Royal? Comment on its use by Chaucer.
  Ans. The Rhyme Royal Stanza consists of seven lines usually in iambic pentameter. The Rhyme scheme of this stanza is a-b-a-b-b-c-c. In practice this stanza can be constructed either as a terza rima and two couplets (a-b-a, b-b, c-c) or a quatrain and tercet (a-b-a-b, b-c-c). This allows for good deal of variety especially when the form is used in long narrative poems.
 Chaucer first used the Rhyme Royal stanza in his long poems – Troilus and Criseyde and Parliament of Fowls. He also used it for The Canterbury Tales in the Man of Law’s Tale, The Prioress Tale and the Clerks Tale and in a number of shorter lyrics.

Q2. The role of “witches in Macbeth”.
Ans. The witches play a very central role in the play. The very beginning of the play is from their predictions. They act many times, as a means by which the real natures of people come to light. They serve to advance the story, reveal human weakness, heighten the tension and give the audience a hint of things to come. They do not however, control Macbeth or anyone else in the play. Shakespeare uses them to add an element of supernatural Spectacle and sensationalism; as a means by which the action of the play moves forward as they feed both Macbeth’s ambition and his paranoia, and lastly as the voice of the omniscient playwright. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Martyrdom-Central Theme of T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral


Eliot had the feelings and sentimental of a devout Christian. His catholic soul did not infrequently bespeak itself through the pronouncements of Becket. Through the entire compus of the play, the echo of his own catholic soul resounded through the character of Becket who was a veritable martyr. This martyrdom is the pivotal theme of the play around which the other members if the Dramatis Personae rotate. His martyrdom is what constitutes the focal point of the entire drama. The priests, the tempters, the knights and the band of poor women of Canterbury – all partake of the prevailing sense of somber gloom, generated by the foreboding or premonition of an impending disaster. All the characters in the drama “are forced to bear witness” to the ghastly deed. Everyone waits for the momentous finale:

 “Some malady is coming upon us. We wait, we wait
And the saints and martyrs wait, for those
 who shall be martyrs and saints.
Destiny waits in the hand of God,
shaping the still unshapen.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Model English Note -6 for PGT , TGT and Other Competitive Examinations



Difficulty Level:  Graduation     Time: 2hr
Each Question: Word Limit: 30  
 
1. Do you ‘myth making faculty' in Shelly and Keats? Substantiate your answer.  
                                           
Ans- Myth making faculty means the poetic articulation on something with utmost devotional zeal. Thus a common phenomena of life treatment of the poetry art. In Keats and Shelly such a quality is abundant. In ‘Nightingale' it is metamorphosed into a bird of spiritual and divide entity and takes a tourney to get ‘permanent’. On ‘skylark’ too, the bird becomes a symbol of divine joy and bless and becomes a myth for she lean creativity.
2. How do you know that Shelley’s skylark is not a creature of ‘flesh and blood’? 
                                           
 Ans- Through some concrete categorical hits from the poem we can easily from the ideal of the disembodied from of the bird skylark. It is a ‘spirit’ and ‘bird thou never worth’ It is the spirited entity being the cloud of fire with an ‘unbodied joy’.
3. What does the bird specially know in Hardy’s poem, Darkling Thrush ? 

Ans- Hardy’s Darkling Thrush being a swansong- utters some prophetic truth along with joy and merriment of some hope and prosperity which the poet is ignorant of amid the tasteless, insipid, frozen wintry landscape. It is a voice for future regeneration, birth and vitality.

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Criticism : “Form and Content” -A Process of Identification


According to the new critical Theory “Language is a crucial element in the theory for it is only the moment of entry into the symbolic order of language that full subjectivity comes into being." Before it enters the symbolic through acquisition of language, the infant goes through the mirror stage, entering the realm of the imaginary on which the subject never entirely leans. In the mirror stage Lucan argues that the infant beings to recognize a distinction between its own body and the out side world. This is illustrated in the child’s relation to its own image in the mirror; the infant lacks control of its limbs and its experience is a jumbled mass but its image in the mirror appears unified and in control. The child recognizes its image and merges with in a process of identification, creating an illusory experience of control of the self  and world – an imaginary correspondence of self and image. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Model English Note -3 for PGT , TGT and Other Competitive Examinations

Difficulty Level: Post Graduation     Time: 2hr 
    Each Question: Word Limit: 30  
1.      What is alliteration? 
2.      Write a note on the imagery of the poem “The Tyger”.
3.      How has Coleridge treated the supernatural element in ‘Christabel’?
4.  ‘In tasks so bold can little men engage,  And in soft bossoms dwell such might rage.’ – What attitude of pope is reflected in these lines? 
5.      What’s the function of Banaquo in ‘Macbeth’? 
6.      “The wine of life is drawn, and the mere less Is left this vault to brag of.” –                                        Explain the image. 
7.      In the play “She stoops of Conquer.” Whom do you think stoop to conquer and why? 
8.  When and why does Serguis tell Petkoff that the world is not such an innocent place as they used to think? 
9.  What type of society is depicted by Jane Austen in ‘Pride and Prejudice’? 

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