End-semester Examination - October 2008
Course: BA Time: 3 hours
Subject: Optional English Max Marks: 100 Paper: OEN 531 - Literary Theory and Criticism
1. What is literature according to Eagleton?
2. “No poet, no artist of any art has his complete meaning alone.” – TS Eliot. Discuss the efficacy of the historical-biographical approach in the light of the statement.
3. Criticism should dissociate art from mystery and concern itself with how literary texts actually worked. How does this statement reflect formalist concerns?
4. What are the two major contributions of Saussure to Structuralism according to Rivkin and Ryan?
5. How did Derrida’s concept of “difference” challenge the central assumptions of Plato’s metaphysics?
6. Explain the three parts of the mind as proposed by Freud.
7. What is the contribution of French feminists to feminism?
1. How does Eagleton challenge the ideas of literature upheld by various schools of thought?
2. Critique the central assumptions in the essay ‘Are Poems Historical Acts’?
3. Attempt a formalist critique of the following text.
After his Death
It turned out
that the bombs he had thrown
that the acid he had sprayed
had painfully opened
the eyes of the blind.
from the water he had polluted.
We sat with astonishment
enjoying the shade
of the vicious words he had planted.
The government decreed that
on the anniversary of his birth
the people should observe
two minutes pandemonium.
- Norman MacCaig
4. How does Levi-Strauss attempt a structuralist reading of Oedipus the King?
5. What principles of poststructuralism does Hillis Miller draw upon in his reading of “A Slumber did my Spirit Seal”?
6. Attempt a psychoanalytic criticism of the following poem.
A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.
- William Wordsworth
7. Attempt a feminist critique of the following text.
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.