Saturday, 8 May 2021

Memorabilia 2021

 Memorabilia 2020-21

The Memorabilia 2021 prepared by the Students can be accessed here




Video Recording of the Online event: Annual Day 2021



From the Desk of the Head of Department of English

#covid19 #coronavirus #corona #pandemic

Our last year, the academic year 2020-21, was entangled in these hashtags. Today is no better. The pandemic has turned India into quagmire. Officially, India is recording highest number of covid infected cases in entire world, for last several days. People are struggling to get oxygen cylinders, ventilators, hospital beds. The hotels are converted into paid-covid centers. Several academic institutes have started temporary covid care units. We are amidst second wave of covid19 pandemic and Indians are the hardest hit in entire world.

It is but obvious that Corona Pandemic is a natural calamity. Though some conspiracy theories try to convince us that this virus is man-made in Wuhan Virus Laboratory in China and it is a sort of biological war started by China to economically destroy India and enemy countries, yet we do not have ample evidences to believe in such theories. What is important for us to believe in, rather than these conspiracy theories, is that how such natural calamities are aggravated by human error of judgement. How, we the humans, are responsible for the tragedies that happen in our societies and in our personal lives – is something very important to be learned from this pandemic.

We are aware of the fact that India lowered its guard against the pandemic in the month of March 2021. Officially, it celebrated the victory against Corona Virus. The leaders got busy with election rallies; the people got busy with religious congregations. There was widespread skepticism regarding vaccination among common-men. All these human errors of judgement are equally responsible for the tragic situation in which we, the Indians, are today. We come into such a dire situation because people in power deny to accept the advises of the experts. At times, they are taking decisions based on intuitions or astrology instead of scientific evidences. And then we all suffer!

However, it is not only the natural mutations of the virus and the errors of judgement by human agency that is responsible. It is our immunity or lack of it, also, to be made accountable. We have rich heritage of Yoga, Pranayama and Ayurveda. But when it comes to make it a part and parcel of everyday life, we are the laziest lots. These precautionary life-style is neglected, I would say, criminally neglected, and then, when the house is on fire, we think of digging the well. Then, when the milk is spilled, what’s the use of crying over it.

We are supposed to keep one law of nature at our fingertips: A single rotten mango can infect all the healthy mangoes, but all healthy mangoes can not remove the rot from a single infected mango.



The point is, we all have to be hale and hearty. Even if a single person in a society is not taking care of his/her health, s/he is a danger to all human beings. If s/he gets infected by virus, s/he is going to spread and infect all healthy immune system. All healthy immune systems are incapable to transmit good health to a sick human. A sick human is capable to transmit sickness to all healthy humans. Isn’t this the crude and bitter reality of nature!

The life lessons we learn from the zeitgeist of our times are useful in our normal times also:

  1. 1)    When it comes to take decisions, which can affect innumerable lives and it may turn down to be the matter of life and death, believe in conclusions drawn out of logic and rationality. In short, do not take decisions based on intuition or irrational calculations.
  2. 2)    Never celebrate small victories. What seems to have ended might be just a small battle. The war might still be going on and we may be unaware about it.
  3. 3)    Always ask – ‘What next!’.
  4. 4)    Always remember – ‘Readiness is all’. Remember, so many sports persons got infected with corona virus. The Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) has been postponed because of several crickets got infected in the bio-bubble. So, even if you are keeping your immunity stronger with yoga, pranayama, Ayurveda or sports and outdoor games, be ready for the infection. So far as rotten mangoes are with us, we, the healthy mangoes, are prone to infection.
  5. 5)    Every thing is just a mind game! Keep your mind engaged with some sort of activities. Only keeping body fit is not enough for immunity. The mind, too, shall be engaged with something creative, constructive and beautiful. Keep your mind busy with the work you love to do!
  6. 6)    Learn to enjoy isolation! Practice individualism. It is not to say that do not be a part of community. Be ready to help the community but be self-reliant, Atmanirbhar! In short, do not give the remote control of your happiness or sorrow to others. Have a control over your remote control.
  7. 7)    Remember, immunity is the key to happy life! Health is heaven, and illness is hell! No better than corona pandemic can teach this simple lesson so effectively.

Writing for this very well edited Memorabilia 2021, I am indeed glad to see that almost of all students are safe and healthy in this time of illness. Baring a few students, all others are hale and hearty. It was great to see that in the Webinar Presentation Season 4, all students made their presentation and no body gave an excuse on the grounds of illness. This is something rarely found even in normal days. It seems you in good health because you all are keeping yourself creatively and constructively engaged with your studies and other work. Keep doing so! Never keep your mind idle!

Finally, I would like to say that this was a very good batch (2019-21) of students. Most of you were very eager to know more, your eyes were hungry to learn more and more, your sincerity in your work was very genuine, your habit of doing a little bit more than expected was something very rarely found these days.

The prime objective of our Department is to (i) develop literary sensibility, (ii) generate interest in academic & research writing, (iii) make students critical thinkers, and (iii) hone digital skills among our students. In this batch, I am glad to say that, the number of students who displayed these achievements are in large number than those who didn’t. Many of you have set a higher benchmark for the batches to come.



This year was a year of learning and doing so many new things. It was the year of disruptions. After teaching for two and half decades, the teachers start getting safe in their cocoon. In our younger days, we break the cocoon to get ourselves beautiful wings to fly like butterfly. The metamorphosis from caterpillar – to – chrysalis - to – butterfly

gets somewhere stagnant. We start believing that we have metamorphosed into butterfly. The corona year, for me, was a realization that there were I got stagnant was a phase of ‘chrysalis’. The challenges of teaching and also learning lot many things in this corona year was something like ‘becoming a butterfly’. This year was full of trials and errors, in short, of learning a lot – to teach in online mode, hybrid mode – to make lightboard, to try various innovative practices in teaching – learning to live stream events – was like getting new wings to fly.

All that was done during this pandemic year – is documented here https://sites.google.com/view/webinar-eng-mkbu/home .

Best wishes to all the students to shine out in real life situations. Never let your guards down. Keep on honing new sills. Never think that you have already metamorphosed into butterfly. Always keep in mind that you may be still in your cocoon and keep on breaking the self-imposed limits. The tough times make us tougher. The bitter times make us better. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!



Friday, 2 April 2021

Fantasy and Religious Vision in the Twentieth Century Literature

Fantasy and Religious Vision in the Twentieth Century Literature


 



The Chronicles of Narnia

If Huxley's fiction created utopian and dystopian words based on a vision of technology, the work of the Anglo-Irish C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) offered a fantasy created out of a more religious vision. Lewis, highly regards Milton scholar, medievalist(he was the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge) and critic, after a late return to Christianity (partly under the influence of his friend, J.R.R. Tolkien), created 'The Chronicles of Narnia' (1950-56).
The Narnia takes are in seven books - their order has been a matter of some debate - and deal with the adventures of a group of children who visit a magical island, Narnia. Though Christian in theme and intention, there are influences from Celtic and Greco-Roman mythologies. In 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first of the epic cycle, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie stumble into Narnia. The evil witch, called simply the White Witch, is thwarted as the children befriend the great lion, Aslan. In book II (Prince Caspian) an evil king has acquired control of Narnia. How the children help the good Prince Caspian to fight and win against Telmar is the main story here. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader takes Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, and their cousin Eustace Scrubb, on a voyage with Prince Caspian to find and rescue the seven lords. In The Silver Chair, Aslan calls Eustace and his friend Jill to help him find Prince Rilian and rescue him from the Emerald Witch. Bree (a talking horse) and Shasta plan to escape from their country, somewhere south of Narnia in The Horse and his Boy. The Pevensie children and Aslan thwart the attempts of the Calormenes to conquer Narnia. In The Magician's Nephew, Lewis maps the origin of Narnia, even as other children enter the place. In The Last Battle there is a false Aslan. The last volume ends Narnia itself. Just when the Calormenes are set to take over Narnia - the result of machinations by Swift the Ape and Puzzle the Donkey - Aslan, Eustace and Jill enable a fight against the Satanic forces. Aslan ends Narnia and selects all those loyal to him to another world. It is also revealed that Narnia is i fact England and that the 'travellers' in Narnia are actually dead and they have been reunited in a perfect world.
Controversies over the use of Christian doctrines and symbols (such as the lion image) and Lewis's problematic presentation of Susan Pevensie (whose unflattering portrayal that highlighted her interest in cosmetics and by extension, her physical appearance and sexuality, was critiqued by two of the major children's authors Philip Pullman and J K Rowling) have continued.

The Lord of the Rings

The most enduring fantasy work produced in 20th century literature is surely 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954-5), prefigured, at least in terms of its characters, in 'The Hobbit' (1937). JRR Tolkien (1892-1973), a professor of poetry at Oxford, was influenced by Greek and Finnish mythologies. The Bible (Tolkien admitted that his was a Christian work) and old English writings (specifically Beowulf, on which Tolkien lectured) are discernable influences on Tolkien's own work. 

Religion in The Chronicles of Narnia

CS Lewis did not originally set out to incorporate Christian theological concepts into his Narnia stories; it is something that occurred as he wrote them. As he wrote in his essay Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's To Be Said (1956):

Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument, then collected information about child psychology and decided what age group I’d write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out 'allegories' to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way. It all began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn't anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord.

Lewis, an expert on the subject of allegory and the author of The Allegory of Love, maintained that the Chronicles were not allegory on the basis that there is no one-to-one correspondence between characters and events in the books, and figures and events in Christian doctrine. He preferred to call the Christian aspects of them "suppositional". This indicates Lewis' view of Narnia as a fictional parallel universe. As Lewis wrote in a letter to a Mrs Hook in December 1958:

If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim's Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality, however, he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, 'What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at all. (Wikipedia)

 



India in the Twentieth Century European Literature

 India in the Twentieth Century European Literature

a. Rudyard Kipling: Kim (1901)

b. E M Forster: A Passage to India (1924)

c. T S Eliot: The Waste Land (1918-22)

d. Herman Hesse: Siddhartha (1922)

e. Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse (1927)

f. H.G. Wells: Around the World in Eighty Days (1872-73)


Rudyard Kipling: Kim (1901)

Kipling’s ideal  of imperialism in India was that of a paternalistic, quasi-feudal imperial one. As “legitimate” and benevolent rulers, the British took a privileged position at the top of the social chain with a systematic mode of government . Kipling could have easily been influenced by the spreading ideal of social Darwinism, a societal spin on Darwin’s order of the natural world. For Kipling, hierarchy was natural and was determined by survival of the fittest. Imperialism could not be corrupt to Kipling, because social order is fated, therefore moral.

In Kim, it is obvious that Kipling did not see imperialism as any type of disruption, exploitation, or subjugation, but as economic development and moral enlightenment for India. In the novel, working as a spy for the British Empire and looking for spiritual harmony work side-by-side. British rule is never challenged; instead Kipling uses several minor characters strictly for the purpose of advocating British rule. Although Kipling shows a knowledge of a number of Indian languages and the capability of using many voices, there is no variety of viewpoint. All voices hold one style and one dominant point of view in favor of British imperialism. Kipling’s use of Indian words and phrases lacks any attempt to represent the their cultural specificity. 

(Gopen, Shina. 'Rudyard Kipling'. https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/postcolonialstudies/2014/06/11/kipling-rudyard/)


E M Forster: A Passage to India (1924)
The story of A Passage to India hinges on a rape that never was. A white young woman accuses a charming Indian Muslim doctor of having assaulted her in a dark cave during a picnic, but at the trial of the accused a few weeks later, she goes to the witness box and says she cannot be sure and is withdrawing all charges.
Forster here boldly reverses many Raj stereotypes. The race-and-rape narrative had been common in English novels about India ever since the “Mutiny” of 1857 when several such incidents were believed to have happened. The trope of an oppressed ill-treated native raping a woman of the master race in a token act of revenge for the greater crime of the coloniser having raped his country had been inaugurated in English literature by Shakespeare in The Tempest (1611). (Trivedi, Harish. The rape that never was: Forster and ‘A Passage to India’)

Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse (1927)

Herman Hesse: Siddhartha (1922)









H.G. Wells: Around the World in Eighty Days (1872-73)


Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Demographic Survey of Students of English Department MKBU

 Demographic Survey of Students of Department of English, Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University

The following links are about the demographic survey of the students studying in Masters of Arts programme in Department of English, MKBU.


For comparative analysis, refer to this report of Ashoka University:



Monday, 22 March 2021

JK Rowling Interview & Talk

 Harvard Commencement address 2008

Transcript



Oprah Winfrey Show: Interview with J K Rowling


Viral Videos

In this video, an unripe and untutored girl questions religious guru the nonsensicality in cutting trees to celebrate Holika Dahan and misuse of milk in worshipping Shiva Linga. The religious guru teachers her lessons in religious reading of these rituals.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Puritan and Restoration Age: English Literature

 

Puritan and Restoration Age: English Literature





Browning: Victorian Poet

Robert Browning: Victorian Poet 



Robert Browning, (born May 7, 1812, London—died Dec. 12, 1889, Venice), major English poet of the Victorian age, noted for his mastery of dramatic monologue and psychological portraiture. His most noted work was The Ring and the Book (1868–69), the story of a Roman murder trial in 12 books.

Click here to read more about Browning's Life


Browning's Biography

Browning's Legacy

Legacy

Few poets have suffered more than Browning from hostile incomprehension or misplaced admiration, both arising very often from a failure to recognize the predominantly dramatic nature of his work. The bulk of his writing before 1846 was for the theatre; thereafter his major poems showed his increasing mastery of the dramatic monologue. This consists essentially of a narrative spoken by a single character and amplified by his comments on his story and the circumstances in which he is speaking. (Read more . . . )

About Browning's Poems

Themes in Browning's Poems

All you need to know about Robert Browning - Victorian Web

Check your understanding - Online Test


Tennyson: Victorian Poet

Lord Alfred Tennyson - the Victorian Poet



Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in full Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Freshwater, (born August 6, 1809, Somersby, Lincolnshire, England—died October 6, 1892, Aldworth, Surrey), English poet often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. He was raised to the peerage in 1884. (Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alfred-Lord-Tennyson)

Why is Alfred, Lord Tennyson, important?

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was the leading Victorian poet in England. His poetry is remarkable for its metrical variety, rich imagery, and verbal melodies. It dealt often with the doubts and difficulties of an age in which traditional religious beliefs about human nature and destiny were increasingly called into question by science and modern progress.

What was the childhood of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, like?

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was the fourth of 12 children raised in a lonely rectory in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. Though home conditions were difficult, his father, the rector, managed to give him a wide literary education. The Lincolnshire countryside influenced his poetry, which he began composing before his teens.

Where was Alfred, Lord Tennyson, educated?

 In 1827 Alfred, Lord Tennyson, entered Trinity College, Cambridge. There he made lasting friendships and his reputation as a poet increased. In 1831 Tennyson’s father died, and his grandfather discovered his father’s debts. As a result, he left Cambridge without taking a degree.

What did Alfred, Lord Tennyson, write?

The best-known poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, included “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “Crossing the Bar.” His longer works included In Memoriam, inspired by his grief over the untimely death of a friend, and Idylls of the King, based on Arthurian legend. Later in life he experimented with playwriting but was less successful.

Want to know more about the biography of Tennyson? Click here

Tennyson as poet

Tennyson - the Poet of Our Time

Tennyson's Poetry

Cambridge Author: Tennyson

Check your understanding of Victorian Poets: Tennyson and Browning: Online Test

Monday, 1 February 2021

Hard Times: Charles Dickens

 Introduction

Hard Timesnovel by Charles Dickens, published in serial form (as Hard Times: For These Times) in the periodical Household Words from April to August 1854 and in book form later the same year. The novel is a bitter indictment of industrialization, with its dehumanizing effects on workers and communities in mid-19th-century England.
Louisa and Tom Gradgrind have been harshly raised by their father, an educator, to know nothing but the most factual, pragmatic information. Their lives are devoid of beauty, culture, or imagination, and the two have little or no empathy for others. Louisa marries Josiah Bounderby, a vulgar banker and mill owner. She eventually leaves her husband and returns to her father’s house. Tom, unscrupulous and vacuous, robs his brother-in-law’s bank. Only after these and other crises does their father realize that the manner in which he raised his children has ruined their lives. (Britannica

Check your understanding of the novel: Online Test






Additional Resources:





Musical Performance of Hard Times in Hindi:


Understanding Hard Times: An Analytic Note by F.R Leavis /The Great Tradition


Video recording of Online Classes on Hard Times




Sunday, 24 January 2021

Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde

 The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde


Introduction

The Importance of Being Earnest, in full The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious Peopleplay in three acts by Oscar Wilde, performed in 1895 and published in 1899. A satire of Victorian social hypocrisy, the witty play is considered Wilde’s greatest dramatic achievement.
Jack Worthing is a fashionable young man who lives in the country with his ward, Cecily Cardew. He has invented a rakish brother named Ernest whose supposed exploits give Jack an excuse to travel to London periodically to rescue him. Jack is in love with Gwendolen Fairfax, the cousin of his friend Algernon Moncrieff. Gwendolen, who thinks Jack’s name is Ernest, returns his love, but her mother, Lady Bracknell, objects to their marriage because Jack is an orphan who was found in a handbag at Victoria Station. Jack discovers that Algernon has been impersonating Ernest in order to woo Cecily, who has always been in love with the imaginary rogue Ernest. Ultimately it is revealed that Jack is really Lady Bracknell’s nephew, that his real name is Ernest, and that Algernon is actually his brother. The play ends with both couples happily united. (Britannica)

Characters



Plot Summary

Thematic Study

Check your understanding: Online Test

Thinking Activity: Points to Ponder

Ponder upon these points and write a blog. Paste the link of your blog-post in the comment section
  1. Wilde originally subtitled The Importance of Being Earnest “A Serious Comedy for Trivial People” but changed that to “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” What is the difference between the two subtitles?
  2. Which of the female character is the most attractive to you among Lady Augusta Bracknell, Gwendolen Fairfax, Cecily Cardew and Miss Prism? Give your reasons for she being the most attractive among all.
  3. The play repeatedly mocks Victorian traditions and social customs, marriage and the pursuit of love in particular. Through which situations and characters is this happening in the play.
  4. Queer scholars have argued that the play's themes of duplicity and ambivalence are inextricably bound up with Wilde's homosexuality, and that the play exhibits a "flickering presence-absence of… homosexual desire" Do you agree with this observation? Give your arguments to justify your stance.

Additional Resourses:

Radio Play Performance of the Importance of Being Earnest


Saturday, 16 January 2021

The Rover - Aphra Behn

 The Rover or The Banish'd Cavaliers: A Play by Aphra Behn



Introduction

The Rover, in full The Rover; or, The Banish’t Cavalierscomedy by Aphra Behn, produced and published in two parts in 1677 and 1681. Set in Madrid and Naples during the exile of England’s King Charles II, the play depicts the adventures of a small group of English Cavaliers. The protagonist, the charming but irresponsible Willmore, may have been modeled on John Wilmot Rochester, a poet in the inner circle of Charles II. The hero’s real-life counterpart may also have been John Hoyle, who was a lover of the playwright. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Aphra Behn's "The Rover" was published in 1677 and first performed in March of that year at Duke's Theatre in Dorset Garden. The play is based upon Thomas Killigrew's drama "Thomas, or, The Wanderer," which was published in 1664. Some dialogue in Behn's "The Rover" closely resembles that found in Thomaso's script; however, the majority of the text was re-written completely, or else is entirely original. As a result of such similarities between texts, Behn was accused of plagiarism on more than one occasion.

Behn's "The Rover" was very well received in the theatre, particularly by Charles II, and also by his successors. Seventy performances of the play are recorded between 1700 and 1725, and another eighty-eight over the course of the following thirty-five years. (Sally Butler)


Download Original Play - The Rover

Characters

Plot Summary

Act wise Analysis

Thematic Study

Online Test: Check your understanding

Inscription on Aphra Behn's Tombstone:

"Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be Defence enough against Mortality."
Aphra Behn's writings (poems and plays) revealed the immoral behaviour of the men of her time. The men of the day, with witty language, used to cover-up their debauched and lascivious (immoral) behaviour. To counter such culture of the civilized nobility of the time, she might have drawn equally immoral women characters. Not only the female characters, even her own life was an example, which scandalously, made a brave statement against the free space given only to the men during her time. Thus, in this context, we can read the inscription as - 'the witty men tried to defend their lascivious behaviour by their wit, however, Behn revealed their true nature and proved that immoral behaviour cannot be veiled or hidden under the garb of witty language. She, herself and her writings, ironically enough, lies to prove that wit can never be defence enough against morality. (Westminister-Abbey's Website)



Video Resources on 'The Rover'


Articles: