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Saturday, August 29, 2009

I M.A. English, CIA II,III and End sem

I.M.A English

Submission Paper: Summarize any article of your choice from a journal available in the library. Summary should be argument based and not just limited to capturing the gist of the article.
Journals to choose from:
1. ICFAI English Studies
2. JSL
3. Indian Literature
4. Quest
5. Contemporary Thought
6. Sage Gender Studies
7. Atlantic Review
8. Economic and Political Weekly
1. Last Date for submission: 3rd September (Thursday), ’09.
2. No word limit.
3. The photocopy of the chosen article must be submitted with the paper.
4. Submissions need to be typed and printed and not hand written.
5. Strictly no plastic folders. A paper clip can be used or the assignment can be stapled.
6. Format and structuring of the paper is the same as the Mid-Sem submission.

Submission Paper: Comparison of any two articles; one from any of the journals mentioned above and the other can be any research article (source is your choice but needs to be cited accurately).
1. Last date for submission: 12th September (Saturday), ’09.
2. Comparison can be based on anything; force a connection if you must. Arguments can be traced to ideologies and can be challenged; the approach and dimensions can be analyzed etc.
3. Photocopies of both the chosen articles must be submitted as well.
4. Submissions need to be typed and printed and not hand written.
5. Strictly no plastic folders. A paper clip can be used or the assignment can be stapled.
6. Format and structuring of the paper is the same as the Mid-Sem submission.

End Semester Exam
Submission of a research paper. Write a paper on any selected topic around our syllabus.
1. Submission date: 30th September (Wednesday), ’09.
2. Word/Page limit: 7 to 10 pages.
3. Submissions need to be typed and printed and not hand written.
4. Format and structuring of the paper is the same as the Mid-Sem submission.
5. A draft of the paper must be submitted on or before the 16th of September (Wednesday). The draft must be printed front and back unlike the final submission, which must be printed on one side only.
6. Strictly no plastic folders. A paper clip can be used or the assignment can be stapled.

Any further queries can be directed to Mr. Pinto personally or even through this post as a comment. Any suggestions (except regarding the dates of submission) will be welcomed by Mr. Pinto and can be debated on this blog. All the best!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Session II- Creative Communication

Session II started on 2nd August, 2009 at 9 a.m. As Mr. Pinto promised it all started with a test. It was based on previous day’s discussion and it was an objective test. This test not only revised what the class learnt the previous day but also clarified the confusions.
· After the test Mr. Pinto briefly explained the course structure and what are we going to learn over the next few encounters. The state promotes its self on two important pillars Education and journalism and the only element which is anti-state is Naxalites.
· English was first thought in Harvard University (USA) in 1834, later it was though in Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. In was only 50 years later that English was thought at Oxford, in England.
· Many a times it’s believed that disciplines such as botany etc originated in the west. Other would argue that they originated in the third world countries such as India. But these new discoveries originated due to collaboration of both.
· He explained the origin of Novels, the word itself is derived from the word novella (18th century), meaning new stories. The new stories later gave rise to news stories.
· The two disciplines journalism and novel emerged together.
· The sixth source of creativity was also revealed that is ‘Adaptation’.
· How old is Bharata natyam? This simple question as we thought had a mind-boggling answer. Many could not believe, but Mr. Pinto had his answer ready. He briefly explained how these dance style called as sadir, now known as Bharata natyam.
· He also explained the role of Annie Beasent in is this transformation.
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), Swiss linguist, he studied history of languages and he was also a researchers whose ideas about language structure influenced the development of structuralism.
· After his death, in 1916 his student compiled his notes and published a book in French called ‘Cours de linguistique générale’ (Course in general linguistics)
· Philosophy was considered to be an elite subject until 19th century when it was replaced by literature.
· Semiotics is what you don’t see. Semiotic is the science of science of signs. It finds the langne.
· C. S Pierce was working on the same topic and he uses the term semiotics but Ferdinand uses the term semiology.

Sign = Signified
· Sign is the union of signifier and signified and the sign is arbitrary in nature, it not logical or it is not same everywhere.
-as written by Anzil Fernandes

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Journals on English Literature and Linguistics in India

Following are some of the acadmeic journals on English studies (literture, lingusitics and other subjects taught in English literature depts in India.) I request the visitors/readers of the blog to contribute to making this list exhustive. Should you know of any other journals and their details please leave those details in the comment section below.

My sincere thanks Nandita Mane, Nagpur for initiating this post. 

I have now started and exclusive blog for Humanities and Social sciences journals. Click here to visit that
      1. Journal of Contemporary Thought
Publisher: Forum For Conteporary Thought, Vadodhara, Gujarath and College of Liberal Arts of the Louisiana State University in Shreveport, USA.
Periodicity: twice a year; in summer and winter
Contact: Prof. P. C. Kar, Director, Centre for Contemporary Theory and General Semantics, C-304 Siddhi Vinayak Complex, Behind Baroda Railway Station (Alkapuri Side), Faramji Road, Baroda-390 007, GUJARAT, INDIA.
Annual Subscription: Institution: Rs 400/-, Individual: Rs 200/-

2. The ICFAI Journal of English Studies
Publisher: The ICFAI University Press, #52, Nagarjuna Hills, Panjagutta, Hyderabad, 500082.
Periodicity: 4 times a year. March, June, Sept, and Dec.
3. The Quest
Publisher: Editor, The Quest, 202, Preeti Enclave, Chandni Chowk, Kanke Road, Ranchi 834008, India
Periodicity: June and December
Annual Subscription: Rs 400/-

4. The Atlantic Literary Review
Publisher: K.R. Gupta, 7/22, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110002 (India)
Editor: Rama Kundu
Subscription: Annual (4 issues): Institutional (net): Rs 1000/-, Individual (net) : Rs 600/-

5. Indian Literature
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan, 35, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi-110001, India
Subscription: Rs 250/-

6. Indian Journal of Gender Studies
Publisher: Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 25, Bhai Vir Singh Marg, Gole Market, New Delhi-110001, India
Editors: Malavika and Leela Kasturi
Annual Subscription: Individual (print only) Rs 850

7. Journal of Indian Linguistics 

8. Language in India (issn: 1930-2940)
 Website: (open access)

9. International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics 

10. International Journal of Translation Studies (ISSN: 0970-9819)

11. Indian Journal Of Applied Linguistics (ISSN 0379-0037)

12. International Journal Of Communication (ISSN - 0975-640x)

13. PARNASSUS: AN INNOVATIVE JOURNAL OF LITERARY CRITICISM (ISSN 0975-0266), published from Feroze Gandhi College, Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh), India, and edited by Dr Nilanshu Agarwal, nilanshu1973 at (Details from by JoseAngel)

14. Contemporary Discourse ISSN 0976-3686
Editors,:Sudhir Nikam  and Madhavi Nikam

15. Muse India-A literary E-journal

16. The Muse: An International Journal of Poetry ISSN 2249 –2178
Chief Editor:  Pradeep Chaswal
Email: themuseindia AT 
17. HYPHEN: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Art & Culture (ISSN 0975 2897)
Editor: Dr. Kanwar Dinesh Singh
njournal AT
(Thankyou Dr Singh for the details)

18  Journal of Ecocriticism ISSN 1916-1549 (Ejournal) 

19. TJELLSpeer-reviewed, open access, international, quarterly journal,published in March, June, September and December. 

Click here to visit the post "Computer Aided Langauge Learning (CALL) Related Journals"

Translation Studies: A Bibliography

Translation Studies: A Bibliography

Bassnett, Susan, and Harish Trivedi, eds. Post-colonial Translation: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge, 1999.

Bassnett, Susan. Translation Studies, London: Routledge, 1991.

Das, Bijay Kumar. The Horizon of Translation. New Delhi: Atlantic, 1998.

Gupta, R.S., ed. Literary Translation. New Delhi: Creative Books, 1999.

Kothari, Rita. Translating India. Rev. ed. New Delhi: Foundation Books, 2006

Mukherjee, Sujit. Translation as Recovery. Delhi: Pencraft, 2004.

Mukherjee, Tutun, ed. Translation: From Periphery to Centrestage. New Delhi: Prestige, 1998.

Munday, Jeremy. Introducing Translation Studies : Theories and Applications. London/New York: Routledge, 2001.

Nida, Eugene A. The Theory and Practice of Translation. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1982.

Nida, Eugene A. Toward a Science of Translating. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1964

Nirajana, Tejaswini. Siting Translation: History, Post-structuralism, and the Colonial Context. Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1992.

Picken, Catriona, ed. The Translator’s Handbook. 2nd ed. London: Aslib, 1989.

Ramakrishan, Shantha.Translation and Multilingualism: Post-Colonial Contexts. Delhi: Pencraft, 1997.

Ramakrishna, Shantha., ed. Translation and Multilingualism. Delhi: Pencraft, 1997.

Shunmugom, C., and C. Sivashanmugan. Translation: New Dimensions. Coimbatore: Bhrathiar University, 2004.

Talgeri, Pramod, and S.B. Verma, eds. Literature in Translation: From Cultural Transference to Metonymic Displacement. Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1988.

Toury, Gideon. Translation Across Cultures. New Delhi: Behri, 1987.

Venuti, Lawrence, ed. The Translation Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 2001.

Vinoda, T., and V. Gopala Reddy, eds. Studies in Translation: Theory and Practice. New Delhi: Prestige, 2000.

Note: The visitors/readers of this blog are welcome to add to the bibliography in the comment section below

Digital Natives: Participation and Pedagogy - A Talk

A talk on "Digital Natives: Participation and Pedagogy"

Date: 27th August (4:00 PM-6:00 PM) and 29th August (2:00 PM-4:00 PM)

Venue: Christ University, Auditorium Block, 2nd Floor, Room No. 915

On the Talk

The two part talk by Nishant Shah explores the location of the Digital Natives in classrooms in higher education. As increasingly, the forms of information access and dissemination change, young students in classrooms are also developing newer forms of learning and education practices. The first session explores the possibilities and potentials of these new technologised conditions of learning, looking at popular spaces of cyberspatial engagement like social networking systems, peer 2 peer networks etc. The second part of the talk posits that the digital natives are not only a part of the changing academic and classroom practices but are also reconfiguring the notions of political engagement and social transformation. Focusing on digital objects which are otherwise relegated to the realms of ‘merely cultural’ or ‘trivial’, the talk explores the changing nature of the public and the political and the way the young users of technology are changing the world we live in.

The Speaker

Nishant Shah (Director - Research) has done his Ph.D. doctoral work from the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. He has worked diversely as an information architect with companies as diverse as Yahoo, Partecs, and Khoj Studios, looking at questions of digital communities, identities and cultural productions online. He was a Research Analyst for Comat Technologies, working on issues of e-governance, design and accessibility. Nishant has designed and taught several courses and workshops on the aesthetics and Politics of New Digital Media, for undergraduate and graduate level students from various reputed academic institutions likeChrist College (Bangalore), CSCS (Bangalore), St. Joseph’s College (Bangalore), Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA), Women’s Studies Centre (Pune University), University of Tempare (Finland), Washington University (Seattle), and New School (New York). He has presented his work in various international and national conferences and workshops, and has published in peer-reviewed academic journals. like the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies and theEuropean Journal of English Studies. In 2006-2007, he was invited as a visiting scholar at theNational Central University, Taiwan, where he bolstered his interests in comparative work across Asia. A recipient of research grant from the Asia Scholarship Foundation (2008-2009), Nishant’s further research attempts a comparative study of Information Society in India and other developing Asian countries. His other interests are in areas of creative translation, mechanics of writing, and gender and sexuality.

The Procedure for Writing a Research Paper

1. Look for the books and articles that are related to the topic

a) Primary Sources:

i) Concept

ii) Work done as historical survey in the area. Papers in Research Journals have recapitulation of the historical developments which saves you time

iii) Primary Text: Look for authentic texts, Look for the publishers

Times of India or wikipaedia are not authentic sources

b) Secondary sources: Look also to secondary sources. People who have explained the concepts of the key, original authors.

2. Where to look for books:

a) Library

i) Library usage: Find the library classification number of your interested area or areas.

ii) One must know the classification of language. E.g. Derrida may be found in Linguistics, not in philosophy

iii) Go to OPAC, use key word searches and other options. (some libraries give the content page also in the search programmes

iv) Look at journals. Well researched journals will have articles of about 20 pages. In the first five or six you will have the review of the literature in the field.

v) Then go to the bibliography of these articles

vi) Do not reinvent the wheel. So build on what others have established.


How to distinguish a good article from a bad one?

1. Look at the bibliography

2. You know them intuitively. Gadamer, Heidegger and the like tell us that we have a prereflective knowledge. Even so you will know an article for its worth when we read it.

3. The clarity of thought, is one way to look at the worth of the article

3. Make a list of all the articles and books you will have to read.

4. Start collecting them

5. Read them

6. Write or key in as you read. Do not think of writing from Alpha to Omega at one go.

7. When you write, see that complete citation is given at the time of writing. If you postpone this you waste time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Annual of Urdu Studies


Three ideas dropped with the world “Post” were:-
1. 'Post' represented time which meant after
For example – India after independence is post-independent India.
2. 'Post' represented the idea itself.
For example – Raja Rao, R K Naranyan are looked at as post colonial writers but most of their post colonial writing stated in the pre-independent era itself (1930s).
3. Result of experience – represented the unconscious shift in ideas.
For example – Post globalisatuib could be used to suggest a state created due to the experience of globalisation

1942 the issue was termed as Babri Masjid.
1990 the same issue was termed as Ram Janmabhuma.
Now it’s known as the disputed site issue.

Ideas in sciences cease to exist once proved wrong. This does not happen in Social scines and humanities. The ideas of Plato, Shakespeare and various thinkers continue to exist.

Post-Structuralism has borrowed ideas from early philosophers like Nietzsche. Thus in a way post-structuralism started even before structuralism. The new thinking in philosophy, sociology and literature in the works of Jacques Derrida, Ronald Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucault gave a new dimension in the study of post-structuralism.

The relation between post-structuralism and post-modernism is similar but the two are not the same. Post-structuralism is the theory of reading and analysis, thus there can never be post-structuralist poetry, post-structuralist play or a post-structuralist painting. On the other hand post-modernism is concerned with the practicality of theory or the theory of doing. Post-modernism unlike post-structuralism can have a post modern architecture, post modern painting, or a post modern novel. Post-structuralism and post modernism does not have a certain standard to measure anything therefore challenging the "center". Nietzsche’s famous remarks, “There are no facts, only interpretation” undercuts and questions commonsensical questions and assumptions. Post-structuralism inherits the habit of skepticism and intensifies it. They distrust the very notion of reason and the idea of human being as an independent entity where by defining and individual as an entity of social and linguistic intermingling.

Friday, August 21, 2009


A website of online documentary films

Trailer of the filme Love Kichdi. Click here to view.

On Interpretation in Literature

Notes by Rini Thomas, I MA English on Hermeneutics


HERMENEUTICS: Science of interpretation

HERMEON: Greek messenger whose task was to go to heaven, take God’s message and to give it to the people on earth by interpreting it to them.


  1. Understanding what the text is exactly saying.
  2. Try to understand what the author means.
  3. What it means in our context.

HEIDEGGER: Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher of 20th century. He was a nazi. Theory of interpretation is taken from Heidegger philosopher. In philosophy, he is called phenomenologist. Phenomenologist believed in existence.

EDMUND HUSSURL: He was the professor of Heidegger. He began the idea of phenomenology.

HANS-GEORGE GADAMER: Heidegger’s student. He develops Hermeneutics through Heidegger’s idea. Gadamber said, “not all our knowledge is conceptual”.

PRE REFLEXIVE KNOWLEDGE: When you reflect and come to conclusion it’s called reflexive. Pre reflexive knowledge means before reflexive knowledge.



  1. Scientific knowledge
  2. Conceptual knowledge





Monday, August 17, 2009

Levi-strauss on Oedipus Rex

The structuralist approach cannot be understood in isolation rather they have to be seen in the context of a larger structure. This approach takes us further and further away from the text and into the large and comparatively abstract question of genre history and philosophy. There is a constant movement away from the interpretation of the individual literary work and a parallel drive towards the understanding of the larger structure.

Claude Levi-Strauss applied structuralist outlook in to the interpretation of myth. He looked at myth as an interaction between linguistics anthropology and literary criticism. Anything could happen in a myth there is no logic, no continuity. But there is a profound similarity in myths collected in different regions throughout the world. Early students of language and ancient Greek philosophers did not go beyond the use of words, they associated definite sounds with definite meanings. Modern linguistics like Saussure discovered the relation between the units of sounds. For instance Carl Jung studied myths historically wherein he tried to find the meaning in the basic units of myths construction.

Synchronic is the basic structure in language like grammar which is also the unchanging element in the study of myth. The diachronic elements are the changes in the sequence of words which is placed within the larger structure. Levi-Strauss proposed that the basic elements of myths are not isolated relations but bundles of such relations. Thus to understand myths one has to pay close attention to the various relations within between and among stories. He suggested that the individual tale ( the Parole) from a cycle of myth did not have a separate and inherent meaning but could only be understood by considering its position to the whole cycle.

In his analysis of Oedipus myth, he placed the individual story of Oedipus within the context of the whole cycle of tales connected with the city of Thebes. He then began to see repeated motifs and contrasts and he used these as a basis of interpretation. Concrete details from the Oedipus myth can be seen as a part of a larger structure and the larger structure is seen as an overall network of symbolic, thematic and archetypal resonance.

Levi- Strauss explains the origin of human life and highlights the binary between myths and human knowledge. The structuralist accept that the world is constructed through language and we do not have access to reality other than through linguistics medium. For the structuralist culture can be read like a language since culture is made up of many networks and they tend to operate in a systematic way.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Literary Theory and Criticism links to blogpost for III yr PSEng/FEP/JPEng

Folowing are the links to various blogposts related to III BA Optional English Literary Theory and Criticism course. Please click on the respective topics to access/download the posts.
1. What is Literature?

All the best

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

International Conference on Socio-Cultural Approaches to Translation: Indian and European Perspectives

International Conference

“Socio-Cultural Approaches to Translation:

Indian and European Perspectives”

10 -12 February, 2010

University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.



In recent times translation has taken on a more central role in societies, whether in India or in the rest of the world. Far from being considered as a linguistic activity only it is now seen as bridging, and sometimes broadening, gaps between different cultures. In Translation Studies, its socio-cultural dimension has been taken into account. It has been shown translation may bring new inputs into local cultures to the extent that it may even reshape them. It may develop national cultures to the detriment of more regional ones, or the reverse, or also play ambivalent roles. In contexts where many languages coexist, its role as a vehicle for mediation and communication is sometimes questioned as it may elevate one language to a higher status while downplaying the others. It may reinforce jingoism or enculturation, prejudices or awareness of differences. In other words translation modifies, or preserves, the perception of the other. Hence, translating as an activity and translation as the result of this activity are inseparable from the concept of culture.

From this viewpoint words are not taken for themselves but for their communicative functions. Translation methods and strategies, different linguistic systems and their constraints in terms of meaning and construction, worldviews, etc. are still analyzed, but in so far as they reveal and contribute to a particular case of intercultural communication.

Besides, translations never only affect words. Texts do not appear on their own but accompany or are accompanied by pre-textual elements such as book covers, figures, diagrams, colour, real products, etc. so that translation studies should analyze translations in their overall environments. As can be seen, the concept of translation that is developed here is all-embracing. Is translation only an inter-linguistic process or does it also constitutes an inter-semiotic activity across cultures and languages?

The time has now come to analyze and estimate the socio-cultural value of translation in terms of its contribution to the receiving cultures, and also the translated cultures at times. One of the possibilities to understand a culture is to learn its language(s) and the sign systems operating within it. Another complementary one is to study what parts of it are preserved in translating. Besides being a daily activity, translation is thus a means for understanding and maybe improving inter-linguistic, inter-semiotic and intercultural communication. The question whether cultural synthesis can be achieved deserves attention.

Aim of the conference: This international conference would like to bring together Indian and non-Indian perspectives on translation with a view to setting up a platform for discussion, comparison and long-term collaboration. It aims to analyze how different cultures interact and interfere with one another through translation.

Venue: Centre for Study of Foreign Languages, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.

Hyderabad is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh and is served by an international airport.


Prof. J. PRABHAKARA RAO, Coordinator, Centre for Study of Foreign Languages, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad-500 046, INDIA.


Prof. Jean PEETERS, Université de Bretagne-Sud, 4, rue Jean Zay, BP 92 116 , 56 321 Lorient Cédex, FRANCE.


Scientific committee

Prof. J. PRABHAKARA RAO, University of Hyderabad, India.

Prof. Pramod Talgeri, Vice-President, Inter-Disciplinary University, Pune

Prof. B.R. Bapuji, CALTS, University of Hyderabad, India

Prof. Jean PEETERS, Université de Bretagne-Sud, France.

Prof. Michel BALLARD, Université d’Artois, France

Prof. Teresa TOMASZKIEWICZ, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland.


Scholars in the fields of Translation Studies, Cultural Studies, Sociolinguistics, Languages, Indology or with an interest in Intercultural Communication.

Working language: English

Hospitality: The hosting Institution, i.e. Centre for Study of Foreign Languages, University of Hyderabad will provide local hospitality to participants.

Registration fee: Indians: Rs.1,000/-, Non-Indians: Rs.2,000/-

Paper Proposals

The conference encourages paper proposals in relation with the above-mentioned theme.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 31st October, 2009. Participants intending to give a paper should email an abstract of 600 words maximum as an attached file (MSWord format or RTF) to and

The maximum number of papers is 20 (10 Indian and 10 non Indian). The proposals will be assessed by the scientific committee on the basis of their relevance to the conference’s topic.

The scientific committee will return its decision by 30th November, 2009.

Paper duration

The papers should be no longer than 25 minute and will be followed by 10 minutes for discussion.


A selection of papers will be published.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Plato's Mimesis

(Class Note – 25th July, 09)
Plato claims that poetry is very far removed from the truth and hence should be banned from his ideal state. The best known locus for this dramatic gesture is the Socratic dialogue Republic. Socrates, the main character, engages other characters (such as Adeimantus and Glaucon for instance) in discussions regarding moral and philosophical problems.

In the tenth and last book, Plato has Socrates (engaged in a dialogue with Glaucon) reach the conclusion that “we can admit no poetry into our city save only hymns to the gods and the praises of good men.” The reasons poets cannot be accepted into the ideal community are both epistemological and moral, but whatever the reason, they have a word in common: mimesis. Poetry delivers a poor and unreliable knowledge since it is an imitation of another imitation. It is far removed from the truth. The philosopher comes closest to first-hand knowledge of real reality: he can see the form or ideas, or ideal form of things and can therefore disregard imitations.

He begins his justification by illustrating what a true form is. This is popularly understood as platonic realism. The articulation of realism is found in his Republic. It refers to the idea of realism regarding the existence of universals.

Universals were considered ideal forms by Plato. In Platonic realism, universals do not exist in the way that ordinary physical objects exist, but were thought to have a sort of ghostly or heavenly mode of existence; metaphysical existence if you will. It holds that they exist in a broad, abstract sense. Thus, people cannot see or otherwise come into sensory contact with universals, but in order to conceive of universals, one must be able to conceive of these abstract forms. One need not attribute material existence to universals, but merely understand that they are. This is the truest form of anything; the truest form of existence or reality; a sort of metaphysical reality.

One type of universal defined by Plato is the Form or Idea. Although some versions of Platonic realism regard Plato's Forms as Ideas in the mind of God, most take Forms not to be mental entities at all, but rather archetypes (original models) of which particular objects, properties, and relations are copies. Due to the potential confusion of the term idea, philosophers usually use the terms "Form", "Platonic Form", or "Universal".

Forms (or Ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. The Forms are the only true objects of study that can provide us with genuine knowledge.

Forms are related to Particulars (instances of objects and properties), where a Particular is regarded as a copy of its form. For example, a particular tree is said to be a copy of the form of Treeness and the tree’s green color is an instance of the form of Greeness.

There are some forms that are not instantiated (abstractly represented by a tangible example) at all, but, he contends, that does not imply that the forms could not be instantiated. Forms are capable of being instantiated by many different particulars, which would result in the forms' having many copies, or being an innate part of many particulars. The Form is a distinct singular thing but causes plural representations of itself in particular objects. Hence you have the Form ‘Treeness’ and many trees (the Particulars of the Form) existing as proof of this Form.

This Platonic reality can thus mean that universals exist independently of particulars (A universal, as we’ve seen from above, is anything that can be predicated of a particular).

These Forms are the essences of various objects: they are that without which a thing would not be the kind of thing it is. For example, there are countless tables in the world but the Form of tableness is at the core; it is the essence of all of them.

A Form is aspatial (outside the world) and atemporal (outside time). A Form is an objective "blueprint" of perfection. The Forms are perfect themselves because they are unchanging. For example, say we have a triangle drawn on a blackboard. A triangle is a polygon with 3 sides. The triangle as it is on the blackboard is far from perfect. However, it is only the intelligibility of the Form "triangle" that allows us to know the drawing on the chalkboard is a triangle, and the Form "triangle" is perfect and unchanging. It is exactly the same whenever anyone chooses to consider it; however, the time is that of the observer and not of the triangle.

Plato held that the world of Forms (the metaphysical world) is separate from our own world (the world of substances) and also is the true basis of reality. Removed from matter, Forms are the most pure of all things. Furthermore, Plato believed that true knowledge/intelligence is the ability to grasp the world of Forms with one's mind.

The imitation or representation of this true basis of reality of Forms is what is called mimesis.

In developing this in Book X, Plato tells of Socrates' metaphor of the three beds: one bed exists as an Idea/Form made by god (the Platonic ideal/reality); one is made by the carpenter, in imitation of god's idea; one is made by the artist in imitation of the carpenter's.

In simpler words, first there’s the metaphysical world (Ideas/Forms/Real reality); then the world of appearances (world of ‘becoming’/Particulars) and then the world of imitation (Mimesis). It’s this mimetic world that Plato has a problem with. He wants to make a distinction between truth and falsity, right and wrong.

The bed produced by the carpenter is a reproduction of the original (Platonic Idea/ Form) bed (mimesis through imitation), whereas the artist reproduces the carpenter’s copy (mimesis through representation). So the artist's bed is twice removed from the truth. The copier’s only touch on a small part of things as they really are, where a bed may appear differently from various points of view, looked at obliquely or directly, or differently again in a mirror. So painters or poets, though they may paint or describe a carpenter or any other maker of things, know nothing of the carpenter's (the craftsman's) art, and though the better painters or poets they are, the more faithfully their works of art will resemble the reality of the carpenter making a bed, nonetheless the imitators will still not attain the truth (of god's creation).

As culture in those days did not consist in the solitary reading of books, but in the listening to performances, the recitals of orators (and poets), or the acting out by classical actors of tragedy, Plato maintained in his critique that theatre and poetry were not sufficient in conveying the truth. He was concerned that actors or orators were thus able to persuade an audience by rhetoric rather than by telling the truth. In the Republic (book X), through Socratic dialogue he warns that poetry should not be regarded as capable of attaining the truth and that we should be on our guard against its seductions, as the poet is very far removed from the concept of truth.

The symbolic target of his attack is Homer. Although, according to Plato, many of his contemporaries thought that Homer knew all technical skills, all human affairs concerned with good and bad and all about the gods as well (598d,e), Plato argued that Homer was a mere imitator of human behavior and did not possess, at least as far as one can tell from his poetry, any expert knowledge. Unsophisticated people, hearing Homer’s poetry recited, think that he is imparting knowledge “because they believe anything said with meter, rhyme, and tune, be it on cobbling or generalship or anything else whatever, is right--so great is the natural charm of poetry” (601a,b). This natural charm of poetic language deludes us into thinking that we are being instructed rather than merely entertained.

The poets, beginning with Homer, far from improving and educating humanity, do not possess the knowledge of craftsmen and are mere imitators who copy again and again images of virtue and rhapsodize about them, but never reach the truth, or even glimpses of this truth, in the way the superior philosophers do. Socrates ofcourse does not say so, but it seems to follow that the carpenter, who copies the original or ideal bed, is much better suited to rule the city than the poets or painters would be. In other words, the artisan should be atleast an adjunct of the philosopher. As Plato has it, truth is the concern of the philosopher only; even if a philosopher’s painstaking labor towards achieving this truth may only allow him glimpses of it.

Why should such mimetic artists be expelled from an ideal community?

Plato’s answer, which applies to our world too, is that mimetic artists do not recognize their limitations, their lack of real knowledge, and they try to instruct us as Homer did. They feel compelled to speak out on matters important to us, and they seduce us with the charm of their words. Their influence on our thinking is therefore far greater than it deserves to be. They are deceptive in the sense that their audience mistakes their imitation for reality.

Gaining real knowledge is a difficult process, one that requires serious labor and much midnight oil (as only laboring philosophers are capable of pursuing through arduous training). It is much easier to listen to the poets and absorb their convictions--much easier than learning mathematics and struggling to gain knowledge and spending years in the process. Hence, the danger poetry poses to society, his ideal state is far too critical to be ignored, and thus, his decision to ban poetry from the ideal state.

(References: Mr.Pinto’s class notes; Plato’s Republic, Stanley Rosen; Articles on Plato, Bruce Aune; Literary Theory and Criticism, Patricia Waugh; Classical Literary Criticism, Penguin Classics; The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Vincent B. Leitch; Wikipedia)

[The next post will be on Aristotle vs. Plato on Mimesis]