All About English Literature

For Exclusive Notes and Analysis

Friday, 23 October 2020

Emily Dickinson as a Poet of Death or Emily Dickinson Theme of Death

Analyze Emily Dickinson as a Poet of Death

The theme of Death loomed large almost one third of the bulk of Emily Dickinson poems. Throughout her life she was preoccupied with death. To her death is the supreme touchstone for life. Investigation of the theme of death gave her a panoramic view of vital issues such as religion, God, nature, love and immortality.  She referred to death not only in her poems but also in her letters to her friends, sometimes her attitude towards death is that of awe and fear; at other times she seems to be in love with death and regards it as a gateway to eternal and permanent rest.

 In a letter to T. W. Higginson dated 1863, she referred to her early awareness of death: “Perhaps Death gave me awe for friends-striking sharp and early, for I held them since in a brittle love, of more alarm, than peace”

She saw death all around herself, in her family, friends, love, life and convictions. On one occasion she explained why her ideas were rather dark : “I have just seen a funeral procession go by of a negro baby, and if my ideas are rather dark you need not marvel." She accepts death as a physical fact, as a material truth. Her pre-occupation with death largely be owing to her Puritan surroundings. In the Puritan doctrine of existence death theme occupied a solemn place. For the Puritan death is the climax of living, and it must be taken in a solemn way.

Thomas Wellborn Ford has grouped Emily Dickinson death poems into four categories:

(i)               Poems dealing with death and immortality;

(ii)             Poems dealing with the physical aspects of death;

(iii)           Poems which personify death; and

(iv)            Poems with an elegiac note.


In "Adrift! A little boat adrift" the poetess compares death with night and her life with a boat. In "I haven't told my garden yet--" there is the tone of mockery and death is talked of as something that does not deserve one's attention:

“I will not name it in the street

For shops would stare at me –

That one so shy-so ignorant

Should have the face to die.”

There are poems which simply dramatize death, observing the dying or the dead from specific angles, studying character psychology before or after the climatic point, that is death. Some of the poems are reflections on cemeteries, funeral processions or acts of burial. "Bless God" death is spoken of as a person with a 'musket of his breast, and who would charge the bravest of all the martial blest.'

Also Read

Her poem "I heard a Fly buzz- when I died-" highlights on the morbidity of death and what may happen after a person's physical body dies.  For Dickinson, this exploration of the afterlife leads her to believe that death can potentially be a disappointment instead of something to lean toward.  For instance, there are all the trimmings of a death scene in this poem: there is a "Stillness in the Air" and "The Eyes around--had wrung them dry--" as the dying speaker's loved ones surround her bed, waiting for her last moments.

“And then the Windows failed - and then

I could not see to see –"

Poems like "Just lost, when I was saved," "How many times these low feet staggered," present death as moving to a pre-chosen destination to take possession of the objects it has decided on in a cool, calculated manner. In "A Visitor in Marl," death is spoken of as something inevitable:

“As Visitor in Marl–

Who influences Flowers

Till they are orderly as Busts-

And Elegant -as Glass –

Who visits in the Night


Concludes his glistening interview

Caresses - and is gone”

Poems like "I want to thank Her," "It feels a shame to be Alive”, “I think I was enchanted," "Her sweet turn to leave the Homestead etc. are elegiac in tone, and recapture in words the moods of the speakers as they confront death. The gap between life and death is unbridgeable, but this realization comes only when one is betaken by death:

"Our journey had advanced

Our feet were almost come

To that odd Fork in Being's Road –

Eternity - by Term

Our pace took sudden awe

Our feet --reluctant-led –

Before-were-Cities - but

Between The Forest of the Dead -

Retreat-was out of Hope”

At last she walked between belief and disbelief, yet was always obsessed by death:

“Of Paradise's existence

All we know

Is the uncertain certainty”.

"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" is one of her best poems on death. It is also remarkable for its imagery. In this poem, the poetess suggests that the best way to overcome death is to conquer it:

“Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me,

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away.

My labour, and my leisure too,

For his civility.


We passed the school where children played

At wrestling in a ring

We passed the fields of gazing grain,

We passed the setting sun.


We passed before a house that seemed

A swelling of the ground

The roof was scarcely visible,

The cornice but a mound


Since then 't is centuries, but each

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the horse's heads

Were toward eternity.”

The idea that death is a gateway to immortality has been expressed frequently by Emily and in one of her poems she likens death to a pilot which takes the human soul to the shores of Eternity.

On this wondrous sea,

Sailing silently,

Knowest thou the shore

Ho!pilot ho!

Where no breakers roar

Where the storm is o'er?

In the silent west

Many sails at rest,

Their anchors fast,

There I pilot thee, -

Land, ho! Eternity!

Ashore at last.”

Just as the diver is rewarded with the pearl after taking plunge into the depth of the ocean and just as the seraph has been raised to the first rank, similarly immortality is the reward for human beings who face death calmly and boldly. Our attention should be focussed on immortality rather than on death:

“Pearls are tha Divers 'farthing

Extorted from the sea –

Pinions--the Seraph's wagon

Pedestrian once-as we

Night is the morning's

Canvas Larceny-legacy

Death, but our rapt attention

To Immortality.”


In some poems, Emily Dickinson portrays death as a cruel personal enemy and as a brutal killer who attacks his victims without any mercy or permission. In “A Clock stopped”, the poet shows how her subject suffers in the dying moments. The dead clock is compared to heart that has stopped beating. The poet uses the clock and its second hand to represent the heart. To use the dead clock representing the heart enables the readers to perceive a clear picture of when the heart has stopped beating and death has occurred.

In “What care the Dead, for Chanticleer”, Dickinson portrays death as a leveler i.e. there is no exception for death. She uses death as God’s vehicle to bring all human lives to heaven.

In “Color-Caste-Denomination" and “Not any higher stands the Grave”, Dickinson personifies death as a democrat, the great equalizer or the force which claims without discrimination men and women.

In “Death is the Supple Suitor”, death assumes the character of a skillful lover wooing a lady.

In “All but Death can be Adjusted”, the poet portrays death as predetermined and fixed end, something which is fixed for all human beings. Death is the fate that nobody can change except God.

To sum up, death has its own claims on Emily Dickinson. Wendy Martin believes that, “Death was the problem for Dickinson, a riddle she could never solve, but which she always explored”



Thursday, 22 October 2020

Emily Dickinson as a Popular American Poet, Emily Dickinson Poems PDF

Emily Dickinson as a Popular American Poet, Emily Dickinson Poems PDF

Emily Dickinson as a Poetess

Emily Dickinson was a renowned American poet of the nineteenth century. She was "the most perfect flower of New England Transcendentalism," and anticipator of metaphysical poetry, a smeller of modernity, and an upholder of romanticism. In her wit she was metaphysical, in her attitudes a Romantic and in her poetics, a modern. A.C. Ward has called her "Perhaps next to Whitman the greatest American poet of the last century."

Emily Dickinson: Variety Subjects and Themes

Although isolated from active life of hurly burly, secluded from the practical experiences of life, living in her ivory tower, she wrote on a great variety of subjects. She wrote on life, on death, on contemporary social scene, on mortality and immortality, on pain and pleasure, on hope and fear, on love, Nature, God, religion, and virtue.

Like Blake she could see eternity in the grain of palm, in the blade of grass, in the chirp of birds and the sound of the stream. She had a richly romantic soul that found strange beauty and startling suggestion in the simplest elements of experience-the glance of a friend, a sentence in a book, a bee's hum, a stone in the road, or slant of light on winter afternoons.

Emily Dickinson: Her Originality

The first thing that strikes us on reading the poems of Miss Dickinson is their great originality. She belonged to no school of poets and hardly cared to imitate anyone's style. A few thought that she was influenced by Whitman's style. In fact we have the assertion of Emily Dickinson that she never read Whitman and she had been told that "he was disgraceful." There is greater truth in the suggestion that Emily Dickinson poems smack of Emerson's poetry. A comparative study of Emerson's and Emily Dickinson's verse makes this clear.

Emily Dickinson: Her Poetic Creed

In the form of scraps, letters and her scattered observations, she framed a poetic creed which is not systematic. According to her, poetry is an expression of her private grieves. In a letter she wrote: "If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off. I know that is poetry." Great poetry is identified by its soothing effect.

Emily Dickinson: Her Lyricism

Emily was a romantic at heart. She was a great lyrical poet like the great romantic poets. In her poetry too we find the major qualities of the great romantic lyrical poets. We have the same love for nature, same personal and emotional note, same pessimism and melancholy, same musical craving to express the grief hidden, and the same richness of imagination as found in the great romantic poets of the nineteenth century. She also has the usual spontaneity. Her themes are also romantic by and large. In her techniques and in her revolt against the Calvinistic tradition of her times she is very much unromantic. Her mysticism and love of beauty is also akin to romanticism.

In short, hers is a lyric genius, neither dramatic nor narrative. She wrote about 100 lyrics. She has the precision and economy of expression needed for a lyric. She brought freshness, vivacity, wit and restraint into the lyric form. Her poems are rightly called "bolts of melody," tinkling piano tunes. Hers are the poems of "self."

Her recurrent themes are life, death, soul and love. About one third of her total poetic output relates to death. She is the poet of the limitless reaches of the inward mood and consciousness. She explores human soul and grasps the essence of human experience. She is taster of epigram too. She makes capital out of capitalization of and use of dashes and punctuation. One of her most notable abilities is her skill in giving concrete expression to abstract idea.

Emily Dickinson: Metaphysical Elements in Her Poetry

Emily Dickinson anticipated Donne, Cowley and metaphysical poets' revival. Like the poetry of the metaphysical school of her poetry also is a union of thought and emotion and is full of startling images. It possesses Donne's wit and epigrammatic quality. It has the metaphysical brevity and compactness. She is also the mistress of the metaphysical paradox and poignancy.

Emily Dickinson: Modernity in Emily Dickinson Poems

Emily Dickinson was a modern poet, and she anticipated Hopkins and Pound. Her conceits and jottings, her technical innovations and brevity show her modernity. As the editors of The American Tradition in Literature observe, “Readers of the Twentieth Century would understand her better, for it was their idiom that she spoke." In the words of Norman Forester, "Emily Dickinson seems to have experienced, far in advance, something like the spirit of revolt, the skepticism, the freedom of expression that flourished after her the First World War."

Like the moderns she discovered that sharp, intense image is the poet's best instrument. She also anticipated the modern enlargement of melody by assonance, dissonance, and "off rhyme," the utility of the ellipsis of thought and the verbal ambiguity In her images and symbols also she is like the modern poets. The lines such as "I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain," the image of box and boot, sink city, the decayed house, coughing goat, sneezing woman and peevish gutters are modern and symbolize spiritual decay and impotence of the present age.

Autobiographical Element in Emily Dickinson’s Poems

Emily Dickinson poems are confessional document of the eccentricities of the poet's mind. It is a record of her reactions to some unnamed events in life. She lacks the pure objectivity of the modem poets especially that of Eliot who says that poetry is not an expression of personality but an escape from personality. The picture of Emily Dickinson that emerges from her poems is that of a saintly recluse who defied the conventions of society and who rebelled against the tenets of formal religion. Her egotistical defiance of society and her nearly blasphemous attitude to religion are not the results of immature adolescence. Many of her poems reveal her frustration and her obsession to death.

Image and Symbol in Emily Dickinson Poems

“Tell all the truth

But tell it slant.”

So wrote Emily. According to her poetics, direct statement of ideas or direct communication of emotions is not useful. "Her poetry is fundamentally oblique where an idea is communicated, or an emotion recreated not by direct verbal statement but through evocation of appropriate images. Thus, in effect, the image becomes the medium of the poet's communicating process." the image, therefore, has an important role to play in her poems.

Most of her images are drawn from flowers, bees, spiders, wars, voyages of exploration, lightening and volcanoes. There are geometrical and surrealistic images too.

Just mark a few of images,

1. ...a Maid

Always a Flower would be

2. Essential oils--are wrung

The Attar From the Rose

Be not expressed by Sungs--alone

It is the gift of screws.

3. Because the Bee may blameless hum

For Thee a Bee do I become

List even unto Me.

4. A sepal, petal, and a thorn

And I'm a rose.

5. The reticent volcano keeps

His never slumbering plan.

As mentioned by Albert. J. Gelpi, the rose symbolizes natural phenomena; the sun, the transcendent fertilizing power; and the attar, the artistic distillation. The spider is the symbol of the artist, who spins around him a world of imagination. The poetess calls the spider “the neglected son of genius." The images of the sea, voyages and exploration symbolize the poet's yearning to explore the mysterious continents of her inner self.

Her imagery is complex and functional. In extreme flights of imagination she uses images which seem surrealistic in their content For instance in the poem. "I'll tell you how the sun rose", the poetess speaks of the sunrise in terms of 'a ribbon at a time.' So is the images of the “hills untieing their bonnets.” Her most frequent metaphor for ecstasy is circumference.

Emily Dickinson: Her Technical Peculiarities

Strange use of capital letters, frequent use of dashes, use of synonyms, repetition of metres, use of irregular metres and rhythms, slanting manner of expression, brevity and conciseness of expression. use of colloquial expressions, grammatical irregularities, are some of her well-known technical popularities.

Download the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson:




Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Thackeray's Vanity Fair as a Picaresque Novel

Thackeray's Vanity Fair as a Picaresque Novel

 Vanity Fair as a Picaresque Novel

The very term, "Picaresque" has been originated from the Spanish word ‘Picaro’, which means a "rogue", or "knave". A Picaresque novel is a story undertaking the adventures or misadventures of a Picaro or who wanders from one country to another, from one setting to another, from the town to the country, from one inn to another and in this way the novelist gets an opportunity of introducing a variety of characters and incidents, of painting society as a whole realistically. The picture may be satiric but the aim of the novelist is to delight and entertain, and not to reform or improve.

Vanity Fair: Picaresque Character

Thackeray's Vanity Fair has a strong, well marked element of the picaresque. It has a number of characteristics of the picaresque novel. First, its central figure, Becky Sharp, is a rogue and a villain. As David Cecil puts it, "she is not a lamb but a wolf, artful, bold, and unscrupulous". She is an orphan with no parents, or other friends and relatives to look after her. Early in life, she is left unprovided and uncared for to shift for herself. She is an adventuress who uses her wits to make her way in life, and the novel is a study of her adventures and her vicissitudes as she passes through various scenes, meets with various incidents, and comes in contact with a great variety of characters.

The canvas is over-crowded with character and incident. The incidents and adventures which befall Becky or in which she is involved are thrilling, sensational, and melodramatic, characters from all strata of society have been introduced, and in this way a comprehensive and realistic picture of contemporary Victorian society has been presented.

However, it should be noted first, that the plot of the novel is not loose and incoherent as is the case with a picaresque novel. There might be a little superfluity and confusion here and there, but on the whole the novel has a coherent, unified structure. Secondly, it should also be noted that unlike the writer of a picaresque novel, Thackeray is not entirely concerned with moral issues. His intentions are moral. He is a moral satirist, and his aim in the novel is to expose and ridicule the false values and idols of Vanity Fair.

Vanity Fair: Picaresque Setting

Further, the novel has a vastness and variety of setting which characterizes a picaresque romance, and which is almost epical in its range and sweep. The novelist has provided an international backdrop to the adventures of his central figure. The action moves from London to the countryside, from the house of the Sedleys’ to Queen’s Crawley in Hampshire, and from Hampshire to Brighton. From Brighton the scene shifts to Paris, then to Brussels, and a number of other towns of Europe including Pumpernickel. In the background, there is India Boggeywala and Madras. The roar of cannons is heard, Napoleon and Duke of Wellington stand behind and the whole panorama of the Napoleonic wars passes before the mind’s eye. The amplitude of the setting gives the characters all the room they want to move about.

Vanity Fair: Picaresque Adventurers

Emphasizing the close affinity of the novel with a picaresque romance, E.M.W. Tilyard writes. "Vanity Fair, even if much nobler, is the logical heir of Barry London, which it succeeded in time". Becky and Rawdon are both adventurers and for a while they join in preying on society. In every other way they differ. And this diversity-in-likeness gives the novel its own richness as well as its master motive.

The picaresque story is a genuine literary kind because it is based on a permanent tendency of human nature; the tendency to sympathize with anti-social behaviour while knowing that it cannot go on forever." The careers of Rawdon and Becky furnish a superb example of this. We want Becky to win her gambles, until Rawdon develops a human affection and the beginning of a moral sense. Then we waver, and Rawdon becomes the successful agent of a transfer of feelings; then we sympathize with him rather than with Becky.

There is also a good deal of support for the adventures of Becky and Rawdon. There are other adventures besides these two. Old Osborne is the successful adventurer in business; the self-made man. Jos Sedley, timid as he is, adventures to money in India. Young Osborne is the adventurer among the aristocrats who fill in the commissions in the British Most of the character are or have been on the make and unite to give the novel its special character. The disinterestedness of Amelia and Dobbin is a smaller affair and serves as a foil rather than forms the main substance.

We may sum up in the words of Tilyard, “There can be no question of Vanity Fair's being an epic: it remains the superlative picaresque romance."



Sunday, 18 October 2020

Free Download Chetan Bhagat One Arranged Murder PDF : Book Review, Summary

Free Download Chetan Bhagat One Arranged Murder PDF : Book Review, Summary

 One Arranged Murder Book Review

The best selling author, Chetan Bhagat himself speaks “‘One Arranged Murder’ is a gripping murder mystery set in a backdrop of an arranged marriage. Not only does it have intense suspense, it is also filled with humour, love and relatable Indian characters — something common to all my books. The test readers gave a phenomenal response and I can’t wait for everyone to read it.”

The book has all the spices and flavor of a classic masala drama. It has romance, comedy, murder, action, adventure, family drama, friendships, and light-hearted banter. It has a big Indian joint family that looks picture perfect from the outside, but on the inside, it is brimming with secrets and scheming members. People have corrupt intentions, dirty secrets, personal vendettas, and generations-old grudges.

Bhagat employs witty writing style with a generous dose of light-hearted humor. Each part of the book, even the most mysterious ones have comical undertones. Nothing in the book is dark or foreboding; nothing that gives you edge-of-the-seat mystery vibes.

The characters are relatable dealing with day-to-day problems of life. Even though what happens to them does not happen to most of us, but still they are relatable. They dream of quitting their jobs to pursue what they are passionate about. The way they talk, the way they live – I am sure it will be relatable to most of us.

I feel that there is not much substance in Saurabh’s character. He is shown as bossy, complaining, neglectful, and most important of all – his character has been created around food.

“When you have super eaters like Saurabh, how super the food is and how good it is for you doesn’t matter”

Numerous characters, all of whom have different reasons, different motives, and different histories come under the radar of suspicion. The mystery is not the best, most ingenious, and inventive out there – but overall, it is entertaining to read. 

The climax is good and gives a befitting end to the story. Some aspects and elements are predictable but overall, the how’s and the why’s remain unanswered till the very end.

Just like most of his books, “One Arranged Murder” is written for the masses. Because the language is so simple and flowy, the book can be easily picked up by a non-reader or a beginner level reader in English.

One Arranged Murder Book Summary

Keshav and Saurabh are best friends, colleagues, flat mates, and business partners at a detective agency they started. They are the same guys whom we see in the book, The Girl in Room 105. But Keshav and Saurabh are not talking, and the reason is Keshav’s habit of fat-shaming Saurabh’s fiancé, Prerna. Prerna is on the heavier side, and Keshav always finds some reason to take a jab at her weight.

Prerna and Saurabh, on the other hand, are a cheesy and romantic couple. There is probably more love between them than any arranged marriage couple. On Karva Chauth, Prerna decides to fast for Saurabh. She doesn’t eat and drink all day, and in the evening, gets all decked up, waiting for Saurabh to come and help break her fast. Saurabh is supposed to enter from the back gate and meet her on the terrace of her three-storey house, but when he finally reaches there, what he sees shocks the life out of him.

This is the story of “One Arranged Murder”; the story of one arranged marriage that eventually becomes one arranged murder.

Still allured to read the book? All right! I am here to offer you free download One Arranged Murder in PDF. Just click the download button and the magic will happen:

one arranged murder


Saturday, 17 October 2020

Free Download All Rabindranath Tagore Stories PDF in English Version


Free Download All Rabindranath Tagore Stories PDF in English Version

Rabindranath Tagore Short Stories

RabindranathTagore, the literary titan of India and a polymath left a tremendous contribution in the arena of short story. His achievement, to take the short story to the masses, is highly commendable. The themes and characters of Rabindranath’s short stories are as varied as his oeuvre. 

Tagore spontaneously inter-mixed stark realism and poetic idealism in his stories which reflected the contemporary life in rural and urban Bengal. Many of the stories portray conflicts or tensions between the new and the old, cruelty and sensitivity, solitude and crowd, male and female.

The Postmaster is one of the earliest stories written by Rabindranath Tagore. The lyrical quality of this story consists in its being a record of the inexpressible grief of a village orphan girl who has none whom she can call her own. We find a similar situation in The Castaway, Here is an orphan boy Nilkanta who has the same tender regard for Kiran as Ratan has for the postmaster.

Tagore excels in dealing with adolescence psychology. In Home Coming the character of Phatik is a fine study of the adolescent mind. Phatik is a village lad of fourteen who is taken to his uncle’s home in Calcutta for his studies.

Kabuliwala is study of peculiar bond of relationship between the people despite the vast hiatus of ages. Here love transcends social barrier and makes us sympathize with a poor Kabuli fruit seller. The writer skillfully describes the beginning of friendship between Mini, a small Bengali girl of Calcutta and Rahman, the fruit-seller, who comes every year to Calcutta leaving his tiny daughter in his mountain home in Afghanistan.

Tagore believed that man can upgrade morally and spiritually if he lives a life in close contact with nature. The Hidden Treasure is an apt illustration of that.

In the stories In the Night and The Hungry Stones, Tagore created a world of supernatural thrill, suspense, mystery and fear. A solitary marble palace built by Emperor Mahmud Shah II for his pleasure and luxury about 250 years ago is the background of the story, The Hungry Stones.

Tagore hated the prevailing education system which cramped the personality of the children. Problems faced by the wards by their teachers are mirrored in Housewife.

In The Exercise Book the agony of a child is presented. Tarapada is after his heart, a settled life is not for him. Balai clings to his flowers.

Rabindranath portrayed various characters in his short stories, but women occupy a special niche in his short stories. His women rarely break the familial norms, or so it seems as the mould of femininity remains immutable. In his Wife’s Letter, the women are portrayed as slowly trying to push the boundary that patriarchy has put in place.

Hardships of Bengali women due to unhealthy customs are seen in many of his stories. In Number One, a woman commits suicide to get rid of biases. The Living or Dead deals with the same thing. In Punishment a man kills his wife to save his brother. Extraction of dowry from marriage leads to the stoppage of marriage in The Unknown. In Debits and Credits the evils are scathingly castigated.

Thus we see that Tagore sings the saga of the pathos of common life from the standpoint of a sympathetic humanist. He envisions a better future for mankind despite its present woes. His stories are universal and eternal in their appeal

Download all 4 Rabindranath Short Stories Books in English in PDF format.


Selected Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore


  1. The Living and the Dead
  2. The Postmaster
  3. Profit and Loss
  4. Housewife
  5. Little Master’s Return
  6. The Divide
  7. Taraprasanna’s Fame
  8. Wealth Surrendered
  9. Skeleton
  10. A Single Night
  11. Fool’s Gold
  12. Holiday
  13. Kabuliwala
  14. The Editor
  15. Punishment
  16. A Problem Solved
  17. Exercise-book
  18. Forbidden Entry
  19. In the Middle of the Night
  20. Unwanted
  21. Elder Sister
  22. Fury Appeased
  23. Ṭhākurdā
  24. Guest
  25. Wishes Granted
  26. False Hope
  27. Son-sacrifice
  28. The Hungry Stones
  29. Thoughtlessness
  30. The Gift of Sight
Click below to Download :


Stories by Rabindranath Tagore


  1. The Cabuliwallah
  2. The Home-Coming
  3. Once There was a King
  4. The Child’s Return
  5. Master Mashai
  6. Subha
  7. The Postmaster
  8. The Castaway
  9. The Son of Rashmani
  10. The Babus of Nayanjore
Click below to Download :


The Hungry Stone and Other Stories


  1. The Hungry Stones
  2. The Victory
  3. Once there was a King
  4. The Home-coming
  5. My Lord, the Baby
  6. The Kingdom of Cards
  7. The Devotee
  8. Vision
  9. The Babus of Nayanjore
  10. Living or Dead?
  11. We Crown Thee King
  12. The Renunciation
  13. The Cabuliwallah
Click below to Download :

Mashi and Other Stories


  1. Mashi
  2. The Skeleton
  3. The Auspicious Vision
  4. The Supreme Night
  5. Raja and Rani
  6. The Trust Property
  7. The Riddle Solved
  8. The Elder Sister
  9. Subha
  10. The Postmaster
  11. The River Stairs
  12. The Castaway
  13. Saved
  14. My Fair Neighbour
Click below to Download :


Thursday, 15 October 2020

What is Poetry? Easiest Way to Understand

What is Poetry? Easiest Way to Understand

What is Poetry ?

It is difficult to define poetry in cast-iron formula; Poetry has been variously defined. Johnson defines poetry as 'metrical composition’; Wordsworth defines it as the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”: he further says that poetry "is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science". According to Matthew Arnold, poetry is "simply the most delightful and perfect form of utterance that human words can reach". Edgar Allan Poe says that poetry is "the rhythmic creation of beauty". Mr Watts Dunton defines poetry as "the concrete and artistic expression of the human mind in emotional and rhythmical language".

These definitions of poetry are not exhaustive enough to include all the elements of poetry, nor do they recognize what is specifically called poetry. We can no more define poetry than we can define life or love. But we can understand what is poetry by its attributes and by its effects upon us. Poetry expresses some feelings and attempts to awaken the corresponding emotions in the heart of another. The greatest poet is he who has felt the most of all the things that move the hearts of men and felt them most deeply, and can touch the most hearts to sympathy.

Literally the term “poetry” (ancient Greek: poieo - create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities. The Greek verb poieo (make or create), gave birth to three different words: poietis (the one who creates), poiesis (the act of creation), and poiana (the thing created). From where we get three English words: poet (the creator), poesy (the creation) and poem (the created). A poet is therefore one who creates, and poetry is what the poet creates.

Poetry attempts to communicate a genuine emotion. Poets who are more sensitive than the ordinary men are moved by the beauty of things and seek to transmit that sense of beauty in others. Art finds and reveals beauty in everything under the sun. It is not the thing but the saying that moves us, not the matter but the manner of its presentation. An artist can make sad things beautiful and sordid things wonderful as Hardy has done in his novels and poetry. Creation of beautiful forms and communication of pleasurable feelings through these forms are the staple of good art.

Mr. G. K. Chesterton in his clever attack on Mr. Hardy's art, assumes with Matthew Arnold that art should show us things as they are' ; but art has nothing to do with the truth of things as they are, but with the impression they make on the artist's mind. Art is the expression of the artist's mood, not the representation of objective fact. "To a poet in a lover's mood the sea smiles with him in his joy, the winds whisper the name of his beloved, the stars look down on him like friendly eyes, to the same poet, in another mood, the same sea looks grim and cruel, the winds mock his sighs, and the cold stars watch him with a passionless inscrutable gaze." Thus in poetry, the emotion imagination of the poet plays a significant part in the interpretation of life. The poet interprets life as it shapes itself through his mood and imagination

Emotion is not poetry, but the cause of poetry and emotional expression is only poetry when it takes a beautiful form. To exist as poetry, emotion must be translated into music and visual images, clear and beautiful. Ideas are given emotional equivalents in poetry and made vivid and inspiring through music and pictures.

Aristotle defines poetry as 'modes of imitation of human actions.’ He also indicates the importance of imagination. A poet is a creator, not a mere imitator of reality. A. C. Bradley says : poetry strikes us as 'creation’, and the nature of poetry "is to be not a part, nor yet a copy of the real world...but to be a world by itself, independent, complete and autonomous". A poet, however, interprets life in objective terms and the values contained in a poem are embodied and dramatized in the poem's evolving meanings, imagery and symbols. Thus music, images, words are important in offering the poet's interpretation of life.

It is true that music, words and images are important for creating an objective picture of truth in poetry, but mere technical virtuosity or sheer music is not enough for good poetry. The vital distinction between music and poetry is that while music enchants us by pure sound, the appeal of poetry springs from the effect upon us of sound with a clearly defined intellectual content, perfectly fused with it. Poetry has not only an emotional appeal, it has an intellectual appeal. Its intellectual appeal derives from the words and images which are intellectual symbols of the poet's emotion.

Again, sheer music or mere tapestry of words and images cannot satisfy the readers. There must be some meaning in a poem. Spenser's exquisite melody expresses some facer of his beautiful self, while Swinburne's poetry cloys us with mere virtuosity. The essentially poetic quality in a poem is to be sought not in an alliance with music, not in an alliance with prayer, but in the perfect rightness of language to convey a passionately felt experience.

Poetry is generally of two kinds- subjective poetry and objective poetry. The lyric belongs to subjective poetry because a lyric is the expression of the poet's personal feelings. It is contrasted with the epic and dramatic poetry because in lyric poetry, the poet is principally occupied with himself. A lyric poet expresses his own mood, feeling or emotion that comes to him at a particular moment. He communicates his deeply--felt emotion in words and sic to the reader, and if the reader is moved or thrilled by the emotion of the poet, the poet is said to be successful. Personal lyric poetry passes into meditative and philosophic poetry in which the element of thought is important. Here thought is given an emotional equivalent and is made vivid and moving by the beauty of imagery and richness of language.

Wordsworth's Lines Composed on a few miles on the Tintern Abbey is a philosophical poem. But Pope's Essay on Man is a versified treatise rather than a poem. Elegy and Ode fall into the category of lyric poetry.

Epic and dramatic poetry belong to objective or impersonal poetry. While in lyric poetry, the poet looks into his heart to write, and even draws the outer world down into himself and steeps it in his own emotions; in objective poetry, he projects himself into the life without. In lyric poetry, the poet expresses himself immediately and directly, while in objective poetry, the poet reveals himself indirectly through what he represents and creates. 

But in objective poetry, the poet is not intrusive; the poet remains more or less in the background. But in lyrical poetry the poet is very much in the foreground and is self-intrusive. He speaks in his own person and impresses us with his own thoughts, feelings and moods. But in objective poetry, the poet creates characters and situations and speaks out their thoughts and emotions with detachment. His interpretation of life gleams forth through the impersonal forms that he creates. Such impersonal poetry falls into two groups-narrative poetry and dramatic poetry.

A narrative poem is one that tells a story. There are different types of poetry. The two basic types are epic and ballad. Metrical romance is considered a third basic type. Story telling in verse form is thought to have its beginning in the chanting of myth relating to ritual. Both ballad and epic were originally sung or chanted. It was usually accompanied by a musical instrument, the function of which was to maintain the poetry rhythm of the line and of composition. The ballad is a short story in verse and it is mainly occupied with the narration of tales of adventure, fighting and valour. Many of these ballads have immense dramatic power and wonderful metrical skill.

The epic has a larger canvas, a greater variety of characters, elevation of style and sustained narrative power. Many poets of the nineteenth century had a shot at narrative poetry. Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry marks the revival of ancient ballad poetry, Sir Walter Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel, The Lay of the Lake, Marmion are good narrative poems. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel, Wordsworth's Michael, The Prelude, Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Keats' The Eve of St. Agnes, Tennyson's Idylls of the King are good examples of modern narrative poetry.

Dramatic poetry is to be distinguished from the drama proper. Browning excelled in writing dramatic poetry in which a character is depicted under the impact of an intense situation. The character speaks out his mind under the stress of the situation. A background is etched and the character is revealed through his self-communings. Robert Browning's The Last Ride Together, Rabbi Ben Ezra, My Last Duchess, Tennyson's Ulysses are examples of dramatic poetry. Here the poet creates characters and depicts them with detachment. The poet does not intrude on the poem. But it has all the ingredients of poetry--music, rhyme, images and pictures. Shakespeare's plays have good dramatic poetry.

The limits of categories shift from generation to generation. The poetic categories such as lyric, narrative and dramatic are not wholly fixed. The 20th century has prized the dramatic highly: thus its emphasis is to show rather than tell. According to modern critics like Hume, T. S. Eliot, etc, all arts aim at objectification of feelings. Thus arts are impersonal because they seek to obliterate the personality of the author from the works. Modern poets speak through interior monologues or assume masks. T. S. Eliot pleads for the extinction of personality and dramatization of poetry. The image pattern, words and expressions, according to this theory are important. The poet's reading of life is rendered in objective terms-his set of values are embodied and dramatized in the poem's evolving meanings, imagery and symbolic action.



Follow Me in Social Media

Get Free Updates


A Doll's House (1) A Renouncing of Love (1) Absurd Drama (2) African English Literature (2) Agyeya (1) Alexander Pope (7) American Fiction (1) American Literature (29) American Play (1) American Poetry (4) Amitav Ghosh (3) Analyses (22) Anglo-Saxon Period (1) Aravind Adiga (1) Arthur Miller (5) Arundhati Roy (1) As You Like It (1) Australian Literature (2) Beowulf (3) Bertrand Russell (2) Bible (1) Biographies (14) Book Review (2) British Literature (105) Broad Notes (94) Character Analysis (2) Charles Dickens (1) Charles Lamb (2) Charlotte Bronte (2) Chetan Bhagat (3) Chinua Achebe (1) Christopher Marlowe (2) Classical Literature (2) Composition (4) Creative Writing (7) D. H. Lawrence (1) Daniel Defoe (1) Derek Walcott (1) Diaspora (4) Drama (5) Dream Children: A Reverie (1) E-book Download (16) Edmund Spenser (1) Edward Fitzgerald (1) Edward II (3) Elegy (1) Elizabethan Era (2) Emily Dickinson (2) English Language (18) English Literature (9) English Literature Quiz (10) Escapism (1) Essay (12) Essays (12) Eugene O'Neill (7) Explanations (3) Feminism (3) Francis Bacon (4) Frankenstein (4) Free E-book Download (12) Free PDF Download (11) Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1) Genre (1) Geoffrey Chaucer (1) George Bernard Shaw (1) George Eliot (4) George Herbert (1) George Orwell (1) Girish Karnad (1) Graphic Novel (1) Haiku (1) Hard Times (1) Heart of Darkness (1) Henrik Ibsen (1) Henry Vaughan (2) Historical Novel (6) History of English Literature (22) Indian Drama (2) Indian English Poetry (1) Indian Fiction (5) Indian Writing in English (36) Indo-Anglican Literature (35) Interesting Facts (10) Interpreter of Maladies (2) Jane Austen (2) Jane Eyre (2) Jayanta Mahapatra (2) Jhumpa Lahiri (3) John Donne (5) John Dryden (1) John Galsworthy (3) John Keats (4) Joseph Addison (1) Joseph Conrad (1) Justice (3) Kamala Markandaya (1) Keki N. Daruwalla (1) Kenilworth (3) Kim (1) Knowledge and Wisdom (1) Leo Tolstoy (1) Linguistics (5) Literary Criticism (5) Literary Essay (9) Literary Facts (3) Literary MCQ (6) Literary Photo Album (1) Literary Terms (17) Literary Trends (2) Literary Types (9) Lord of the Flies (1) Lyric (1) M. K. Anand (2) Mac Flecknoe (1) Macbeth (7) Mahadevi Verma (2) Man Eater of Malgudi (2) Mark Twain (1) Mary Shelley (4) Mathew Arnold (2) Midnight's Children (1) Modern Poetry (4) Modernism (1) Motivational Short Story (21) My Penning (1) Nayantara Sahgal (1) Notes (25) Novel (63) Novels (13) O' Henry (1) Ode to a Nightingale (1) Ode to the West Wind (1) Oedipus Rex. Oedipus the King (2) Of Friendship (1) On Fame (1) Online Quiz (9) Othello (1) P B Shelley (1) P. B. Shelley (1) Paulo Coelho (2) Philological Notes (11) Phonetics (3) Picaresque Novel (6) Plays (46) Poetry (56) Popular Literature (1) Post Colonial Literature (2) Post Colonialism (1) Postmodernism (1) Pride and Prejudice (2) Prosody (3) Pygmalion (1) Quiz (6) Quotations (6) R. K. Narayan (2) Rabindranath Tagore (3) Raja Rao (1) Random Quiz (8) Rape of the Lock (5) Realistic Fiction (1) Restoration Era (2) Rhetoric (2) Richard Wilbur (1) Robert Browning (1) Robert Frost (1) Robinson Crusoe (1) Romantic Poetry (3) Romanticism (2) Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1) Rudyard Kipling (1) Salman Rushdie (2) Samuel Beckett (3) Sarojini Naidu (1) Seven Ages of Man (1) Shakespearean Influence (2) Shakespearean Plays (12) Shakespearean Sonnets (4) Sheridan (4) Short Notes (11) Short Stories (10) Soliloquy (1) Songs of Experience (1) Songs of Innocence (2) Sons and Lovers (1) Sophocles (1) Sri Aurobindo (1) Substance Writing (1) Summary (8) Sylvia Plath (2) T. S. Eliot (2) Tennessee Williams (1) Texts (10) Thackeray (1) The Adventure of Tom Sawyer (1) The Alchemist (1) The Bell Jar (1) The Crucible (3) The Emperor Jones (7) The Golden Light (2) The Guide (1) The Mill on the Floss (4) The Namesake (1) The Pulley (2) The Rivals (5) The Shadow Lines (3) The Sunne Rising (5) The Superannuated Man (1) The Town Week (1) The White Tiger (1) The Winter's Tale (2) Things Fall Apart (1) Thomas Hardy (5) Thomas Wyatt (1) Toni Morrison (6) Tragedy (3) Tughlaq (1) UGC NET (1) Untouchable (2) Waiting for Godot (2) Walter Scott (3) Way of the World (1) William Blake (3) William Golding (1) William Shakespeare (15) William Wordsworth (3) Word Notes & Annotations (1) Word Notes & Anotations (2)

Blog Archive