July 2018 ~ All About English Literature

For Exclusive Notes and Analysis

Monday, 16 July 2018

Write a Brief Note on Bildugsroman.

Write a Brief Note on Bildugsroman.

Bildungsroman novel originated from Germany. It is a special kind of novel that focuses on the psychological   and moral growth of its main character, from his or her youth to adulthood.

A bildungsroman is a story of the growing up of a sensitive person, who looks for answers to his questions through different experiences. Generally, such a novel starts with a loss or a tragedy that disturbs the main character emotionally. He or she leaves on a journey to fill that vacuum.

During the journey, the protagonist gains maturity, gradually and with difficulty. Usually, the plot depicts a conflict between the protagonist and the values of society. Finally, he or she accepts those values, and they are accepted by society, ending the dissatisfaction. Such a type of novel is also known as a “coming-of-age” novel.

1. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (By Henry Fielding)
Squire Allworthy, a wealthy landowner, discovers a foundling, Tom Jones. Tom Jones grows up into a lusty but honest young man, in contrast to his half-brother Blifil, who was all hypocrites.

Tom falls in love with Sophia Western, but the relationship is opposed by her father, on the basis that Tom is a “bastard.” After this loss, Tom undergoes many experiences, and finally it is revealed that Tom is the son of Mr. Summer, a friend of Allworthy, and Mrs. Waters, who is Allworthy’s sister. Therefore, society accepts him when it is established that he is not a bastard.

2. Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield and Oliver Twist
3. Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.
4. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

The bildungsroman novel depicts and criticizes those vices of society which cause the protagonist to suffer. The novel conveys a sense of realism.

What is Ballad? Explain.

What is Ballad? Explain.

Ballad is an old English pattern of story meant for singing which is full of anecdotes conserve by memory and handed down orally. A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. The term derives its name from medieval French dance songs or “Ballares”. In theme and functions they may originate from Scandinavian and Germanic tradition of story-telling that can be seen in poems such as Beowulf.

The Characteristics of Ballad:
                                                       I.            A song that tells a story.
                                                    II.            It is verbally transmitted.
                                                 III.            It concentrates on single episodes.
                                                IV.            It deals with material or universal appeal.
                                             V.            It contains four lines stanzas with ballad metre. First and third lines are iambic tetra metre. Second and fourth lines are iambic tri metre. The rhyme pattern is ‘abcb’
                                                VI.            It lacks superfluous details.
                                             VII.            It has abrupt ending.

Examples of Ballad:
a)     John Keats’ poem “La Belle Dame sans Mercy”
b)    “The Rime of the Ancient Mariners” by S. T. Coleridge:

“I looked upon the rotting sea
     And drew my eyes away
I looked upon the rotting deck
     And the dead man lay.”

Classification of Ballad:
1.     Broadside Ballad
2.     Literary Ballad
3.     Folk Ballad
4.     Ballad of the Knightly Romances


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

What is Journalese? What is it's function to English Language?

What is Journalese? What is it's function to English Language?

Journalese is “the name of literary vice which consists in the use of silted language of journalism.” It is an informal, often pejorative term for a style of writing and word choice found in many newspapers and magazines.  In English Newspaper we often find such big words and expressions probably to make them attractive to the readers. Journalists may use pedantic sentence like “the  disastrous conflagration extended its devastating career” instead of using a simple expression like ‘the great fire spread.’

"In general," said Wilson Follett in Modern American Usage, "journalese is the tone of contrived excitement." William Zinnser calls it "the death of freshness in anybody's style" (On Writing Well, 2006).

It's a quilt of instant words patched together out of other parts of speechAdjectives are used as nouns ('greats,' 'notables'). Nouns are used as verbs ('to host', ‘to eye’), or they are chopped off to form verbs ('enthuse,' 'emote'), or they are padded to form verbs ('beef up,' 'put teeth into'). This is a world where eminent people are 'famed' and their associates are 'staffers,' where the future is always 'upcoming' and someone is forever 'firing off' a note.

Journalists often fall into a sloppy style of generalities, clichés, jargon, and overwriting. This style even has a name: journalese. In the language of journalese, temperatures ‘soa’r. Costs ‘skyrocket’. Fires ‘rage’ and rivers ‘rampage’. Projects are ‘kicked off’. Opponents ‘weigh in’. Buildings are ‘slated for demolition’ or perhaps they are ‘tagged’. In journalese, people get a ‘go-ahead’ and projects get a ‘green light’.


Sunday, 8 July 2018

Donne's The Sunne Rising as a Love Poem

Donne's The Sunne Rising as a Love Poem

“The Sun Rising” is a typical love poem by Donne, characterised by his usual vigour, sprightliness and freshness. This poem, like most of Donne’s love-poems is inspired by the poet’s love for his wife, Anne Moore. Donne’s love amounts to a passion. It is a perfect synthesis of the spiritual and physical love. The supremacy of love which transcends both time and space, for it knows ‘no season and no climes’ is established with a daring jugglery of words.

In the opening stanza, the sun is addressed as “busy, old fool” flashing his light into the lover’s bedroom, perhaps with the intention of waking up and parting them. In a tone of dramatic monologue, the poet lover reprimands the Sun and calls it names for disturbing love making. Instead he may go about his trivial errands like pulling up ‘late school boys’ and lazy apprentices who hate to work.  The country ants and courtiers may knuckle under his authority but not so the lovers.  Love is above time, which is regulated by the sun.  For lovers, seasons, hours and days have no meaning.

The Sun is the supreme power-house of the world. Yet it should not brag over it. The poet lover could eclipse and could the beams of the Sun with a wink. He does not do so because he does not wish to “loose her right so long.” . In hyperbolic language he asks the sun if the eyes of his beloved are not brighter than sunlight.  Gazing into her eyes, the sun may feel dazzled.  All the assets of mines of the West Indies and spices of the East Indies are more valuable than his lady love in the bed.

The lovers in Donne’s poem are the archetypal ideas or the soul of the world:
“She’s all slates, and all princes I;”
Together they constitute the soul of the world. The pomp and majesty of a king is then a mere imitation of the glory attained by lovers.  Compared to their spiritual wealth, all material wealth seems counterfeit. The poet-lover offers it the needed ease. The Sun’s duty is warming the world. It warms only half of the world at a time. By shining on the lover’s bed it can shine over the whole world at a time.

“The Sun Rising” is one of the most successful love poems of Donne. As a poet of love he can be an extreme realist and deals with the physical side of it as also its spiritual side. Here he treats of a situation very significant for wedded lovers, but unusual in the poetry of love—two lovers in bed who refuse to get up when the sun shines on them in the morning.

Negative Capability: A Comprehensible Approach

Negative Capability: A Comprehensible Approach

The most famous romantic poet John Keats, “the Chameleon Poet”  is the expounder of the term “Negative Capability”. Writing to his brothers, George and Thomas, in  December 1817 letter found in Selected Letters, Keats coins the phrase “Negative Capability”:

“I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”

“Negative capability" is the ability to not know, to tolerate ambiguity and resist that instinctive need to protect oneself through understanding and control. It is the ability to see the truth of the world through an unfiltered lens, no matter how disturbing or threatening it is, and to abandon beliefs that serve to protect one’s identity and create comfort. Therefore, a person with negative capability has no fixed “self,” but rather possesses shifting selves which allows her constant sympathies with nature and with others. Keats was seen as rejecting the Enlightenment’s attempts to rationalize nature.

The world is full of uncertainties. No one really knows what happens next. Every living creature is programmed to survive. In human beings that conditioned self-interest extends beyond our physical selves (our bodies) to our social selves (our identities). For most, life is a personal survival puzzle to be solved, and they conceptualize every experience in order to predict and explain it in accordance with that goal.

The most prominent references of ‘Negative capability’ are found in Keats’ poem “Ode to a Nightingale”, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to Autumn” etc. In “Ode to a Nightingale” Keats wants to escape from the real world full of ‘fever’ and ‘fret’ to the magical and ideal world of Nightingale. The inspirational power of beauty, according to Keats, is more important than the quest for objective fact; as he writes in his ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”.

If we think of the Harry Potter universe, most of us are aware that magic doesn’t exist in real life, but J.K. Rowling dumps us right into the world of witches and wizards, giants and dwarves, goblins and ghosts, and she fully expects her readers to keep up with her.

Therefore, negative capability gives the reader permission to sit back and enjoy the ride, and it can also give them an idea of what to expect from the rest of the work. If we don’t make the attempt to explain all the details, the reader will subconsciously receive our permission to not worry about the hows or whys.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Three Unities of Drama: Literary Term

Three Unities of Drama: Literary Term

Classical Greek and Latin dramas were strict in form. The concept of the three unities, in relation to classical drama, derives from Aristotle's Poetics but is not directly formulated by the Greek philosopher. He merely states that a tragedy should have unity of action.

The Poetics was unknown in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. During the Renaissance a Latin translation is published in Italy, after which there is much discussion of classical literary principles. However it is not until 1570, in a book by Lodovico Castelvetro, that the concept of three unities evolves:

1. Unity of Time: The action of the play should take place in a short internal chronology, ideally, no more than 24 hours. The neo-classicists believe that the spectators would not believe in the reality of an action that compressed several days or years into a three-hour drama. If the spectators did not believe in the reality of an action, the tragedy would not have its proper effect.
2. Unity of Place: It was said that in drama there should be no change of place, and even if the scene changes it must not be too great a distance.  A public square or palace courtyard would usually serve this purpose well. But the plays of the Elizabethans incorporate scenes of various places and action and their plays moves from one city to another city, from one country to another.
3. Unity of Action: It is the unity of action which makes the plot intelligible, coherent, and individual. The events and incidents are connected with each other logically and inevitably on the principle of probability; they move towards a common goal, the Catastrophe, aimed at by the dramatist.  The plot must have “a beginning, a middle and an end”
Dr. Jonson in his Preface to Shakespeare rejected the “three unities”. However in England, the unities of time and place are optional device for the playwrights. An example of modern plays composed strictly according to the unities is Tennesse Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Influence and Contribution of Shakespeare on English Language

Influence and Contribution of Shakespeare on English Language
William Shakespeare, possibly the greatest of all English dramatists is to be mentioned particularly as a literary icon in English. He remains unparalleled and unrivalled in the realm of philology. No other individual writer has exercised so much influence on English language as Shakespeare has done- I) Vocabulary building, ii) Syntax, iii) morphological processing, iv) the effective employment  of words and phrases, v) different grammatical principles vi) individualization of character, vii) Shylock’s language etc.

There is incredible potency of vocabulary used by Shakespeare in his dialogues of his drama. According to Otto Jespersen (The Growth and Structure of English Language), “Shakespeare’s contribution in English philology is the richest ever employed by any single man.” His unique use of words ornamented English vocabulary-
1.     Dwindle (Macbeth)
2.     Weird (Macbeth)
3.     Auspicious
4.     Excellent
5.     Barefaced
6.     Courtship
7.     Loggerhead
8.     Fretful
9.     Assassination (Macbeth)
10.            Castigate
11.            Dexterously
12.            Multitudinous
13.            Watchdog
14.            Sanctimonious
15.            Lackluster
16.            Leapfrog
17.            Housekeeping
18.            Fashionable ( Troilus and Cressida )
19.            Obscene (Love's Labour's Lost)
20.            Swagger ( Henry V
21.            Puking (As You Like It)
22.            Addiction (Othello)
23.            Zany Love's Labour's Lost

A.C. Bradley claims that “The greatness of W. Shakespeare lies not in innovative thought process but in artistic representation of thought process with the help of greater number of new words and expressions .” There are some expressions or phrases which we use day-in and day-out without remembering or knowing even that they have come from the immortal pen of Shakespeare-

1.             “Fair is foul, foul is fair.” (Macbeth)
2.             “Prime rose path to the everlasting bonfire” (Macbeth)
3.             “Life’s fitful fever.” (Macbeth)
4.             “Hurly-burly” (Macbeth)
5.             “Full of sound fury” (Macbeth)
6.             "It’s Greek to me" (Julius Caesar
7.             "All that glitters isn’t gold" (Merchant of Venice)
8.             “To be or not to be” (Hamlet)
9.             “Be all and end all”  (Macbeth)
10.        “Green-eyed monster” (Othello)
11.        “Off with his head” (Richard II)
12.        “Fair Play” (The Tempest)
13.        “Lie Low” (Much Ado about Nothing)
14.        “Love is blind.” (The Merchant of Venice)
15.        "All's well that ends well" – (All's Well That Ends Well)
16.        "A wild goose chase" – (Romeo and Juliet)
17.        "Naked truth" - Love's Labour's Lost
18.        "Give the devil his due" - Henry IV, Part I
19.        "Salad days" - Antony and Cleopatra
20.        "Wear your heart on your sleeve" – Othello
21.        "All of a sudden" - The Taming of the Shrew
22.        “Break the Ice” - The Taming of the Shrew
23.        “A sea change” (The Tempest)
24.        “Mind’s Eye”-(Hamlet)
25.         “Truth will out” – (The Merchant of Venice)
26.        “Lilly Liver’d” – (Macbeth)

A commanding characteristic of Shakespearean use of language is specially marked by individualization of character with their own sets of language: Shylock in the play The Merchant of Venice; Malvolio in the play Twelfth Night; Porter in the play Macbeth etc.

Shylock’s (The villainous figure in The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare) contribution to English language is enormous. The unforgettable Jew, Shylock is the bold creation of Shakespeare. His major contribution is his linguistic output. The first thing about him is his constant use of the expressions from the Old Testament. Shylock uses terms like “Jacob’s Staff”, “Parti-coloured lamb”, “Holy Sabbath”, “Hogger’s offspring” and so on.

Shakespeare’s contribution on English morphology is just wonderful. He develops new compound words by adding prefix “un”: ‘unavoided’, (inevitable), ‘unvalued’ (precious), ‘ungot’ (unborn), ‘unkiss’, ‘unfathered’ etc.

A number of new words were formed by adding French prefix ‘en’ or ‘em’: ‘enact’, ‘enkindle’, ‘endeared’, ‘embattle’, ‘emprison’ etc.

Shakespeare also extended the meaning of few existing words like ‘Charm’ which previously meant ‘well-known’ but Shakespeare makes it sense like ‘magical power’; ‘bonnet’ previously meant ‘wearing the lower part of lady’ but he means ‘cap’ or ‘hat’.

As a maker of English, Shakespeare who is also the greatest dramatist and poet of England, is perched on the zenith wherefrom no change in linguistic fashions will ever afford to debunk him.

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