Showing posts from 2007

Spenser as The Poets’ Poet

It was Charles Lamb who called Spenser ‘The Poets’ Poet’. At least there are two reasons why Spenser is regarded as the poets’ poet and the second father of English Poetry. Firstly, Spenser rendered incalculable service to English poetry in a variety of ways and left behind him models of poetic excellence to be imitated and followed by a host of poets who came in his wake. He is also called the “Prince of Poets of his time”. He coached more poets and more eminent ones than any other poets. Besides, he is the poets’ poet because he is not the poet of the common man, but only of the scholars and poets with well-versed in classical tradition and humanistic studies. During the Renaissance, Spenser’s poetry could really be appreciated by those who were familiar with classical writers and authors of the Renaissance. Since only scholars and poets had that necessary equipment to understand Spenser, and the common man had not that facility to understand him, Spenser is called the poet of poets…

The Age of Renaissance (1550-1600)

The Age of Renaissance or The Age of Shakespeare or The Elizabethan Period is considered as "The Golden Age", especially in the history of English Literature, because of some reasons, such as:

During the Elizabethan age, England was a nest of singing birds. The song was everywhere, in the street, in the court, and on the stage. Everybody wrote lyrics, down from the flowery courtier to the man in the street. It was the age in which the writers were free to write so that there were abundant productions in every branch of literature; literary works reached their prosperity.

There was a Renaissance (revival or rebirth or reawakening) of ancient Greek and Roman literature, mythology and culture, and this served as a source of inspiration to the countless writers of the period. The Renaissance came to full flowering.

There was also an awakening of the human mind to the vastness, beauty and wonder of the world. It was the age of great discovery; the discovery of America and the voyag…

Chief Characteristics of Romantic Poetry (2)

d. Melancholy
A romantic is a dissatisfied individual. The poet may be dissatisfied with the circumstances of his own life, with his age, with literary conventions and traditions of the day, or with the general fate humanity. Romantic poetry is, therefore, often pessimistic in tone. A romantic may revolt against the existing conditions and may seek to reform them, or he may try to escape into an imaginative world of his own creation. Often the poet escapes into the past. The middle ages have a special fascination for him for they not only provide him with an escape from the sordid realities of the preset but also delight his heart by their colour pageantry and magic.

b. Love of Nature
Zest for the beauties of the external world characterizes all romantic poetry. Romantic poetry carries as away from the suffocating atmosphere of cities into the fresh invigorating company of the out-of door world. It not only sings s of the sensuous beauty of nature, but also sees into the ”heart of things…

Chief Characteristics of Romantic Poetry (1)

The term ‘Romanticism’ has been variously defined by various writers. Peter, for example, calls it the “addition of strangeness to beauty”. And Watts Dunton defines it as, “the renaissance of wonder.” Herfood calls it extraordinary development of imaginative sensibility. Legouis and Cazamian emphasize both the emotional and imaginative aspects of romanticism and call it, “an accentuated predominance of emotional life, provoked and directed by the exercise of imaginative vision”. All such definitions are, however, unsatisfactory and partial, for they emphasize one or the other element of this type of literature instead of giving a composite view. It would therefore, be more profitable to consider the salient features of English Romantic poetry instead of wasting time in defining Romanticism.

The chief characteristics of romantic poetry are:

a. Subjectivity
All Romantic literature is subjective in nature. It is an expression of the inner urges of the soul of the artist. The poet does not c…

Marxist Criticism (5)

Marxist criticism in Britain has not flourished to the extent it has elsewhere. The first English Marxist critic of note was Christopher Caudwell (1907-37). In “Illusion and Reality” (1937) and “Studies in a Dying Culture” (1938), he attempted definitions of Marxist theories of art. It is more important since Raymoond Williams (1921-88) attempted an historical assessment of culture and literature in Marxist terms. His relevant works are, notably, “Culture and Society 1780-1950” (1958), “The Long Revolution” (1961), “The Country and the City” (1973), and “Marxism and Literature” (1977). The principal theorist of Marxist criticism in Britain is Terry Eagleton, who has developed various views of Althusser and Macherey and suggests that a basic problem is to make clear the relationship between an ideology (e.g. Marxism) and literature. In his view, texts do not reflect reality but influence an ideology to produce the effect or impression of reality. By ideology, he does not necessarily me…

Marxist Criticism (4)

The French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser (1918-1990) developed a theory of different ‘levels’ within the social formation and argued that these ‘levels’ possess no overall unity. They have a ‘relative autonomy’.

‘Relative autonomy’ is a recent attempt by Marxists to get round the problem posed by Marx’s view that Greek art was eternally beautiful. This ‘idealist embarrassment’ can be overcome if we recognize that art is relatively autonomous.

Althusser argues that at any point one ‘level’ may be dominant and that level is determined (in the last instance) by the economic level; or’ it may be free of it as well – hence it is relative. Althusser’s views on literature differ from those of any traditional Marxist. In his opinion great works of literature do not express an ideology nor do they provide a ‘conceptual understanding of reality’. He sees literature as an ideological form/state apparatus. In “Letter on Art to Andre Daspre” and “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” (in…