Showing posts with label modern epic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label modern epic. Show all posts

Sunday 9 August 2015

Universal Human Laws in 'The Waste Land'

Universal Human Laws in the modern epic 'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot.

The connection between epic and myth is that of an egg and the chicken. Just as the famous riddle by Sphinx ("What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?"), whether the egg came first or the chicken is the riddle which puzzled many for centuries. Is myth the product of an epic or does epic sprout from the myth? The sphinx riddle was answered by Oedipus ("Human Being") and the 'egg-chicken' one by scientists ("Researchers found that the formation of egg shells relies on a protein found only in a chicken's ovaries. Therefore, an egg can exist only if it has been inside a chicken"). Similarly, we can say that myth pre-exist the epic. In fact, epic poet legitimizes myth as history or truth. The epic is the daughter of the mother, Myth/s. Thus, an epic can be studied as myth. The tools and theories to study myth can easily be applied to epic.  
Are myths / epic subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Functionalism explains human society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions, and institutions. A functionalist reading of myths/epic might extract the universal human laws.
Have a look at this presentation with various Universal Human Laws in 'The Waste Land'.

Universal Human Laws in The Waste Land (T.S. Eliot) from Dilip Barad

After studying these Universal Human Laws, would you like to give priority to the UHLs which you find more Universal than the other? Click this link to open an online form and give your priority:

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Presentations on T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'

Presentations, Quiz and Points to Ponder on T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'

1) "Shantih" in The Waste Land. Author(s): K. Narayana Chandran. Source: American Literature, Vol. 61, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 681-683. Published by: Duke University Press. Stable URL:
2) The Waste Land and the Upanishads : What Does the Thunder Say? Author(s): M. E GRENANDER and K. S. NARAYANA RAO. Source: Indian Literature, Vol. 14, No. 1 (MARCH 1971), pp. 85-98. Published by: Sahitya Akademi. Stable URL:
  1. 'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot
The literature is not only the mirror image of society. It can neither be limited to the metaphor of photographic representation, nor be limited to the lamp which brightens the corner of society or human nature. Sometimes, literature is the x-ray image of the society. The black and while skeleton of society. The ugly-but-real-at-its-core face of society is captured on transparent paper. The writer's eyes like an x-ray machine, penetrates deep and captures the nuances of social decay, moral decay and cultural decay. The rotten state of human life in the early quarter of the Twentieth century is meticulously captured by T.S. Eliot in 'The Waste Land - quite aptly known as 'The Modern Epic'. The root cause of this decay (social, moral and cultural) is spiritual degradation and sexual perversion. Is spiritual degradation the cause of sexual perversion or the effect of sexual perversion is due to spiritual degradation? It is not easy to answer this is simple cause-effect relationship. They both are interdependent. They have walked hand-in-hand, in past, they walk together in present and they will, if the lessons are not learnt from literature. People question the usefulness of 'Arts' in life. Can we find the answer art (verbal) like 'The Waste Land'.

An Introduction and Themati... by dilipbarad

2. Universal Human Laws in the Modern Epic 'The Waste Land'
Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? The Waste Land not only makes extensive use of myths but also makes, a myth – the myth of the hollowness of Human Beings in Modern Times.The rituals of the modern men are mythified – which in turn attempts to legitimize it.Or rather it would be better to say: the rituals (sexual sins) are illegitimized in epic which is heavily drawn as modern day myth – the myth of decay, desolation and degeneration of human values, civilizations and cultures.As the poem operates in a dismantling way, rather than legitimizing, it illegitimizes the rituals of the Modern Times.

Universal Human Laws in T.S... by dilipbarad

3. Autobiographical Elements in T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'
It is well said that “Honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry” . . . and . . . “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality”.Consciously, the poet should make such attempts . . . But the Un/Subconscious is not under the control and commands of Conscious Mind. It finds it outlet in the expression. At the very moment when, quite  consciously, the poet has surrendered itself to the process of creation, it leaks out – it finds its moment of expression. T.S. Eliot, the high priest of the school of depersonalization is also not free from the ‘Un/Subconscious overflow of powerful self . . . Which can only be recollected in tranquility by the biographical critics’.

Autobiographical Elements i... by dilipbarad

4. Shantih:

Three kinds of children of Praja-pati, Lord of Children, lived as Brahman-students with Praja-pati their father: the gods, human beings, the demons.—Living with him as Brahman students, the gods spake, 'Teach us, Exalted One.'—Unto them he spake this one syllable Da. 'Have ye understood?'—'We have understood', thus they spake, 'it was damyata, control yourselves, that thou saidest unto us.'—'Yes', spake he, 'ye have understood.' Then spake to him human beings, 'Teach us, Exalted One.' —Unto them he spake that selfsame syllable Da. 'Have ye understood?'— 'We have understood', thus they spake, 'it was 
datta, give, that thou saidest unto us.'—'Yes', spake he, 'ye have
understood.' Then spake to him the demons, 'Teach us, Exalted One.' —Unto them he spake that selfsame syllable Da. 'Have ye 
understood?'—'We have understood', thus they spake, 'it was 
dayadhvam, be compassionate, that thou saidest unto us.'—'Yes*, spake he, 'ye have understood.' This it is which that voice of god repeats, the thunder, when it rolls 'Da Da Da,' that is damyata datta dayadhvam. Therefore these three must be learned, self-control, giving, compassion. ~ Charles Rockwell Lanman, former Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University and Eliot's teacher of Sanskrit and Buddhism

Ezra Pound and the drafts of The Waste Land

Points to ponder:

1) What are your views on the following image after reading 'The Waste Land'? Do you think that Eliot is regressive as compared to Nietzche's views? or Has Eliot achieved universality of thought by recalling mytho-historical answer to the contemporary malaise?
T.S. Eliot and F. Nietzche
2) Prior to the speech, Gustaf Hellström of the Swedish Academy made these remarks:
T.S. Eliot and S. Freud
What are your views regarding these comments? Is it true that giving free vent to the repressed 'primitive instinct' lead us to happy and satisfied life? or do you agree with Eliot's view that 'salvation of man lies in the preservation of the cultural tradition'?

3) Write about allusions to the Indian thoughts in 'The Waste Land'. (Where, How and Why are the Indian thoughts referred?)

4) Is it possible to read 'The Waste Land' as a Pandemic Poem?

Key to draft your response:
1) Introductory paragraph > Write about the poem in 50 words > Write about the central theme of the poem.
2) Sub-heading for your response to point no.1 > then explain the point > thereafter express your views.
3) As above for other three points . . .

Video Recordings of Online Remote Teaching:


Reading 'The Waste Land' through Pandemic Lens - Part 1

Reading 'The Waste Land' through Pandemic Lens - Part 2