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Monday, July 13, 2009

Historical Biographical and Moral Philosophical approach

( The Following is lectures notes by Mr. Pinto - P.S.ENG-III)

In the words of Mr. Pinto, literature does not teach us anything. If, for instance, an individual take up psychology she can become a psychologist or if one is engaged in the field of sociology he can become a sociologist, literature is the only subject wherein an individual cannot be an expert. For example, literature will not teach us how to write a poem. All literature does is engage us in a textual analysis. Our unconscious is accustomed towards textual analysis and hence our engagement in the classroom with the various texts is nothing but a textual analysis of the text. This was Mr. Pinto’s reply to all those who didn’t have a text in the class.

Mr. Pinto wanted us to cultivate an interest in
1. Logic

2. Few schools of philosophy- Socratic school of philosophy

3. The works of Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Khant, Engel and Foucault.

In today’s’ class Mr. Pinto commented on the historical biographical approach and Moral philosophical approach. He took up the word “text” and analyzed it for us. He said textile and textual drew similar ideas. Just as textile is a mixture of various elements, text/ual is also quite similar. A text, like textile, is woven together giving us a definite pattern of writing. Mr. Pinto highlighted the limitations of language by saying that one cannot go beyond the structure of the text. He said that there can be constant replays, modification and difference in perception of the text but all this can take place only within the boundaries of the structure of the text. He said that with a close engagement with the text we can see through it. We cannot accuse the writer based on one notion of the text it is important to take into account the authenticity of the text. The versions that come to us might not always be the original publication but rather the edited versions or editions. For e.g. In Andrew Marvell’s “To his Coy Mistress” instead of “dew” the first edition of the poem had “glue”. Shakespeare’s works’ that we have read is also not the original version but rather edited versions of his work.
The term Genre is a French word that divides the text into various segments. A text may have various genres ranging from poems, essays, short stories and novels. In similar ways poem is also divided into various genres. A poem can be ballad, sonnets, villanelle, the elegy, the ode, the sestina, the haiku and the dramatic monologue. The Elegy harbours the pattern of lamentation; the Ode uses the Pindaric pattern and haiku is a celebration of wisdom which delays understanding.
Haiku combines form, content and language in a meaningful yet compact form. Mr Pinto quoted

“O wonder marvel,
I cut woods,
I drew water from the well.”
These lines have been written by a Buddhist monk after getting enlightened. Though he witnessed change within him, life does not after enlightenment. The monk’s perception towards life may be different after enlightenment but he still had to cut wood and draw water from the well.

Historical biographies concern itself with the emphasis on super structure and the biography of the poet. It was in the seventeenth century that Andrew Marvell wrote “To his Hoy Mistress”. The social setup in that particular time was highly puritan. Renaissance had influenced classical learning and hence Logic. Logic is the formal and systematic study of principle of valid inference and correct reasoning. The term logic is very precise and very particular with the use of languages. For example the opposite of white is non-white and not black or green. The Physical world is structured in such a way there is only an existence of zero and one. To his Coy Mistress is an argument towards a school of thought of puritans and the structure. The argument was a reflection of the writing process removed from traditional conceptions of time and a discourse on the urgency of creating written material within human time frames with the presentation of written material as a celebration of life. This pattern of writing did not reflect the poet’s personal emotions but rather a comment on the structure of the society. Thus the weaving of the text was only a pattern to say something.

Taking a moral philosophical approach towards reading “To his Coy Mistress” Mr. Pinto said that the poem is not of sexual imagery but of time. Mr. Pinto also says that to have clarity in idea one must read philosophy. Andrew Marvell systematically reasoned with his desired object about the futility of delaying their interlude when the hours available to them were limited. Metaphysical writers viewed poetry as an intellectual exercise, an opportunity to develop ideas in a logical, argumentative structure; for them, the object of poetry was not to serve as an outlet for an effusion of emotional sentiments. If one approaches "To a Coy Mistress" as a discussion of the pressures which time placed upon a writer, Marvel's apostrophe took on an ironic twist. He used his analytical skills to coax his writing to manifest his intended desires, providing a playful look at the connection between a man and his work. Complicating this relationship was the necessity of negotiating under the terms and constraints of an outside third party: time.


Anonymous said...

very useful piece of writting for students.

Anonymous said...

very useful piece of writting for students.