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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Framing Questions - An Approach/ MA Previous

Notes by Shilpi Rana

Asking questions or we can say rather good questions is all the more important even than providing answers.Pinto Sir made us acquainted with the types of consequences of the questions raised.He said that asking questions is the first step to become a "scholar".

To explain the art of preparing questions we took THE GENERAL PROLOGUE of Chaucer's THE CANTERBURY TALES and we were asked to prepare questions on it.Some of the questions raised were as follows :

- How is the fourteenth century society portrayed through the characters in THE CANTERBURY TALES?

- Elaborate on the literary devices in THE CANTERBURY TALES.

- Describe the stratification of the societythrough the analysis of the characters in THE CANTERBURY TALES.

- Are Chaucer's characters his own voice?

- Describe the influence of the church in THE CANTERBURY TALES.

- How is the concept of morality depicted in THE CANTERBURY TALES?

- What are the medieval concepts of literature engaged in THE CANTERBURY TALES?

- Is there more positive characters than negative characters in THE CANTERBURY TALES?

- Discuss the concept of eroticism in THE CANTERBURY TALES.

- How is the corruption of the church portrayed in THE CANTERBURY TALES?

After the above questions we had, we were explained what type of questions should be asked as we being postgraduate students.


- Ask questions which can make a long arguement. The answer of the question asked should not be a short and straight away answer, it should have a good content and should go on for pages. We can add "Discuss" or "Elaborate" or "Elucidate" to the questions.

- We must keep the time frame in mind while asking questions. Do not impose concepts which the time does not permit. Ask questions on the literary concepts used during the time and its impact on the then society.

- Ask questions on the literary techniques on the part of the author. What is the research area of the author and how is the work received by society as a whole, by the readers and as well as by us individually. For eg. In which genre of work does THE CANTERBURY TALES fall into - Is it novel, poem, epic, drama, etc.? The answer would be it is a Frame Narrative(where there are many stories within a story) like the stories of PANCHATANTRA, VIKRAM BETAAL , ARABIAN NIGHTS etc.

- Ask questions making an interplay of the characters in the text.

- Raise questions on the debates appeared in the text itself.

- Ask questions on the author's perspective itself.

These were some of the useful tips on how to frame correct questions even in order to perceive the text well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Philis Wheatly

Phillis Wheatly (1753-1784)

Phillis Wheatly was a kidnapped African slave child who was sold from the South Market in Boston to a well to do Susanna Wheatly. In her childhood she experienced special, much indulged comfort and only token slavery. She quickly learned Latin, English and the Bible and began writing in 1764. Her poems were based on the themes of morality and piety, along with patriotic American pieces, an epithalamium, and a short racially self conscious poem, “Thoughts on being brought from Africa and America”.

Initially her poems were not published as the subscribers felt that it was part racially motivated. With the prestigious co-operation of Countess of Huntingdon and Susanna Wheatly, her book was published in London in 1773. This was the first volume known to have been published by a black American, man or woman. Her poems have elements of neoclassical poetic norms.

Her poems represent a deeply self conscious art. Her sense of herself as an African and an American makes her in some way a dual provincial in relationship to the eighteen century Anglo-Atlantic cosmopolitan centre. The language of poem is both American (refines English) and African (non refined and broken English) in nature.

Her poems included not only Christian elegies, but also highly original English translations from the Latin of Ovid, biblical paraphrases and poems about nature, imagination and memory. She was highly influenced by the Bible.

On Being Brought from Africa to America

In just eight lines, Wheatley describes her attitude towards her condition of enslavement -- both coming from Africa to America, and the culture that considers her color so negatively. Wheatley begins by crediting her slavery as a positive, because it has brought her to Christianity. She makes a clear distinction between God (frightening and fearful) and Saviour( hope). The word "benighted" means "overtaken by night or darkness" or "being in a state of moral or intellectual darkness." Thus, she makes her skin color and her original state of ignorance of Christian redemption parallel situations.

She credits "mercy" with her voyage -- but also with her education in Christianity. Both were actually at the hands of human beings. In turning both to God, she reminds her audience that there is a force more powerful than they are -- a force that has acted directly in her life. She cleverly distances her reader from those who "view our sable race with scornful eye" -- perhaps thus nudging the reader to a more critical view of slavery or at least a more positive view of those who are slaves. She directly talks about the Europeans treatment to the African community.

"Sable" , refers to a self-description of her color which is very valuable and desirable. This characterization contrasts sharply to the "diabolic die" of the next line, as it means poisonous evil color. In the second-to-last line, the word "Christian" is placed ambiguously. She may either be addressing her last sentence to Christians -- or she may be including Christians in those who "may be refined" and find salvation. She reminds her reader that Negroes may be saved. The implication of her last sentence is also this: the "angelic train" will include both white and black. She believes that everyone is entitled to redemption.

The poem is biblical in nature, and we can say that she criticizes Africa at some point and also she talks about African from an outsider point of view. She distances herself from her pagan land (Africa) as she is now civilized. Although we can say that Wheatly re-defines Christianity, she believes that Africans can be redeemed. There was notion of Africans being referred to ‘cians’, which believed that Africans can never be redeemed of their sins. Thus, at a certain level it can be said that it is ‘anti Christian’ in nature as it defies the norms of the Bible.

Phillis Wheatley takes on the role of one who has the right to command: a teacher, a preacher, even perhaps a master or mistress( saviour).In looking at Wheatley's attitude towards slavery in her poetry, it's also important to note that most of Phillis Wheatley's poems do not refer to her "condition of servitude".

On Imagination

Wheatly personifies Imagination as a woman, a queen. The thyme scheme of the poem is aabbccdd. This poem stands as an ode in praise of Imagination.

“Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand”. He praises beauty and glorifies the creation- creation of poetry. This poem is the form of invocation in order to justify the sacredness of Imagination. Wheatly draws a comparison between ‘Fancy’ and ‘Imagination’. She says that fancy is ordinary in nature which has the capacity to only capture one’s mind. Also ‘fancy’ can be tampered whith, while Imagination is very powerful, it has an element of ‘fascination’ about it. “Such is thy pow’r, nor are thine orders vain”. Also, fancy can’t be remembered while imagination lasts longer and at times is forever itched in our memory.

She raises the level of Imagination to the divine god himself and claims that Imagination has pinions, wings to soar high. “And leave the rolling universe behind”. There is a reference of Galileo’s theory which states that the world is round. “There in one view we grasp the mighty whole”, there is reference to view everything as a whole, there is a sense of holistic view about every minute detail. “Leader of mental train”, thoughts or mind have the ultimate power, the ultimate sovereign ruler about whom we have to bow.

Wheatly urges her soul to rise and contemplate the majesty of God through the vastness and orderliness of his creation. Though God himself is unseen, he is made manifest in the heavens and the earth through such powerful objects as the sun. Wheatley takes the grandeur of the cosmos as proof of God's sublime, divine imagination. The poem is shaped by the pattern of day's light being following by night's darkness and the return of daylight on the following morning. Humans and the vegetative world require the productive light of the day and the restorative darkness of night, so God is not only powerful but also merciful. The poem ends with Reason and Love, personified, asking what most shows forth almighty God. The poet's answer is that everywhere one looks one sees God's infinite love made visible; humans know him through their senses. Reason falters and fails in the face of the Eternal. All that is left is for humans to praise and worship.

I MA Western Aesthetics Coursework Text Maps

'When was Modernism' - Raymond Williams

I MA Western Aesthetics Questions - On the Texts outside the Coursework

Please post your questions in the comment section below. While posting, first, write the name of the essay along with the author'/s' name/s. Below that write two questions on the essay you are engaging. If you have any clarifications to seek, please post them as well.

I MA Western Aesthetics Questions - On the Texts from the Coursework

Please post your questions in the comment section below. While posting first write the name of the essay along with the author'/s' name/s. Below that write two questions on the essay you are engaging. If you have any clarifications to seek, please post them as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creative Writers and Daydreaming -Sigmund Freud

Click here to download Sigmund Freud's essay "Creative Writers and Daydreaming" 

Call for Papers: National Conference on Communication Skills

Dates: 9-10 August 2010

Organized by Department of Humanities, C.R.Engineering College, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

Research papers on the following sub-themes are invited:

1. Effective Listening, Speaking, Writing and Reading
2. Functional English
3. Grammar Teaching- New Methodology
4. Language Learning and Teaching by writing Computer Assisting Software
5. Any other area related to communication skills in English
6. Increasing Employability with Communication Skills
7. Technology Enabled Language Learning.
Contact details:
Professor A Ranganath Jee, HoD-H&S 
Email: ranganathprof_avvaru at 
Ms Sai Lakshmi Yadav, Coordinator 
Email: sailakshmiyadav at
Chadalawada Ramanamma Engineering College, Renigunta Road, Tirupati - 517506
Phone: 0 9440373426,   09885032504 

Courtesy: ELTeCS

National Workshop on Writing up for Thesis and Publications

Dates:  4 & 5 September 2010
Organised by the Department of English, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore
Faculty and Research Scholars from all disciplines of Engineering / Arts and Science / Polytechnic Colleges
Rs. 1,000/- for Faculty
Rs.750/- for Research Scholars
The last date for the receipt of filled - in registration form is 25 August 2010. 

Since the entries are restricted to 60, registrations will be on first come, first serve basis. 


Dr. S. Chandrakanthi / Ms. R. Kalpana, 
Two - day Workshop on Writing up for Thesis and Publications, Department of English, PSG College of Technology, Peelamedu, Coimbatore - 641 004.
For more details, please visit the website   

Courtesy: ELTeCS

Call for Papers for Journal of NELTA

First published in 1996,  NELTA Journal is a premiere publication of Nepal English Language Teachers' Association (NELTA). 

The editorial board would like to invite contributions for the 2010 issue of the journal. We encourage contributors to make their work relevant to classroom teaching as well as to serve the larger purpose of creating or promoting ELT discourses at local, national, and regional contexts. 

The objective of this volume is to gather the voices of teachers, scholars, and educationists who are best able to define and advance the conversation and practice of ELT. 

Details of Submission Guidelines and Peer Review Guidelines are available at:

Deadline: September 30, 2010. 

If you have any question, please write to neltajournal at

Courtesy: ELTeCS

Sixth International Seminar on ELT in a Changing World: Innovative Approaches to New Challenges

Dates: 29 & 30 January 2011

Organised by Centre of English Language, Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development 

Abstract Submission 

Participants are invited to submit abstracts for their presentations latest by 30 August 2010. Letters of acceptance will be e-mailed to selected speakers by the beginning of October 2010.

Types of Submission:

1.      Paper presentation
2.      Workshop
3.      Poster presentations

For more details on the abstract and presentation, please visit:

Contact information:
Ms Faiza Saleem, Ms Shaista Bano Zaidi
Seminar Coordinators
Centre of English Language 
Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development 
1-5/B-VII, F.B. Area, Karimabad, P.O. Box 13688, Karachi-75950, Pakistan
Phone: +92 21 3634 7611-4, 3683 6001-4 Ext: 4258/4259
Fax: +92 21 3634 7616 
Email: cel.seminar at

Courtesy: ELTeCs

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Suggested Reading: MA Previous/ Creative Writers and Day Dreaming/ Sigmund Freud

For a summary of 'Creative Writers and Day Dreaming' by Sigmund Freud please click here

My Bed /Tracey Emin

My Bed by Tracey Emin

My Bed is a work by the British artist Tracey Emin. It was exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1999 as one of the shortlisted works for the Turner Prize. It consisted of her bed with bedroom objects in an abject state, and gained much media attention. Although it did not win the prize, its notoriety has persisted.
The artwork generated considerable media furore[1], particularly over the fact that the bedsheets were stained with body secretions and the floor had items from the artist's room (such as condoms, a pair of knickers with menstrual period stains, other detritus, and functional, everyday objects, including a pair of slippers). The bed was presented as it had been when Emin had not got up from it for several days due to suicidal depression brought on by relationship difficulties.[2][3]
Two performance artists, Yuan Chai and Jian Jun Xi, jumped on the bed with bare torsos in order to "improve" the work, which they thought had not gone far enough. They called their performance Two Naked Men Jump Into Tracey's Bed. The men also had a pillow fight[4] on the bed for around fifteen minutes, to applause from the crowd, before being removed by security guards.[1] The artists were detained but no further action was taken.[1] Prior to its Tate Gallery showing, the work had appeared elsewhere, including Japan, where there were variant surroundings, including at one stage a "hangman's noose" hanging over the bed. This was not present when it was displayed at the Tate.[5]
My Bed was bought by Charles Saatchi for £150,000 and displayed as part of the first exhibition when the Saatchi Gallery opened its new premises at County Hall, London (which it has now vacated). Saatchi also installed the bed in a dedicated room in his own home.
Craig Brown wrote a satirical piece about My Bed for Private Eye entitled My Turd. Emin's former boyfriend, former Stuckist artist Billy Childish, stated that he also had an old bed of hers in the shed which he would make available for £20,000.

courtesy : Wikipedia

Suggested Readings for MA Previous/ Marcel Duchamp

For 'Fountain' by Marcel Duchamp;

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), the painter and mixed media artist, was associated with Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism, though he avoided any alliances. Duchamp’s work is characterized by its humor, the variety and unconventionality of its media, and its incessant probing of the boundaries of art. His legacy includes the insight that art can be about ideas instead of worldly things, a revolutionary notion that would resonate with later generations of artists.

Duchamp’s most notorious readymade was a manufactured urinal entitled Fountain. Conceived for a show promoting avant-garde art, Fountain took advantage of the show’s lack of juried panels, which invariably excluded forward-looking artists.

Under a pseudonym, “R. Mutt,” Duchamp submitted Fountain. It was a prank, meant to taunt his avant-garde peers. For some of the show’s organizers this was too much — was the artist equating modern art with a toilet fixture? — and Fountain was “misplaced” for the duration of the exhibition. It disappeared soon thereafter.

As surely as it was a prank, Fountain was also, like the other readymades, a calculated attack on the most basic conventions of art. Duchamp defended the piece in an unsigned article in The Blind Man, a one-shot magazine published by his friend Beatrice Wood. To the charge that Fountain was mere plagiarism, “a plain piece of plumbing,” he replied “Whether Mr. Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view — created a new thought for that object.”

At the time, almost nobody understood what Duchamp was talking about. But fifty years later everyday objects would be commonplace in art.

Freudian analysis. MA Previous.

Class notes as on 8th July, 2010

Freud basically talked about the id, ego and the super ego. To get into some piece of detail let us look back to what Lacan who pointed out that since birth mankind is polymorphous and all that they desire is the pleasure principle.This desire is thereby sought through the mother. Can we then say that man by nature and conception is therefore incestuous?

According to Freud, both boys and girls realise at a young age that they cannot hold authority over their mother since she is legally, physically, emotionally possessed by the father who is all standing authority. In case of the boys this was referred to as the Oedipal complex which was followed by the castration complex. By this time, say, when the boy is approximately fourteen years of age he looks outside home for an alternative mother figure thereby becoming an exogamous heterosexual.

Similar is the case with young girls who cannot at their age differentiate between the clitoris and the penis. On realisation that they actually do not have one they become wary with their mothers for not having given them one. At this juncture quite like the boys, the girls too get attracted to their fathers. However, on coming to terms with the mother's authority and right over the father, the girl seeks a father figure outside home and hence, exogamous and heterosexual. The feminists however convert the lack (of a penis) to the advantage of possessing a womb. A feminist backlash to the core which places men (as in the gender) into the position of lacking something (the womb).

It is coming to terms which actually subordinates the pleasure principle to the reality principle.( If this is not done, one would actually be looking out for pleasures of the body and hence no work done.)

Freud says however that not everybody reaches this stage of proper subordination and therefore it is the repressed desire that form the unconcious.This also represents itself in the form of Freudian slips. The psychopathology of everyday life!

It is good to see that at no juncture is Freud critical of people.

Writing as per Freud is interestingly neurosis where the repressed desires are put down on paper.

For more on Freud, refer: a) Civilization and its Discontents b) Interpretation of Dreams and c)Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

Pinto, Anil. Class lecture.On Freud.Christ University. Bangalore, India. 8 July 2010. Lecture.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Aesthetics and the Individual

7th July, 2010.
MA Previous

The concept of aesthetic was talked about because of the existence of the individual that is to say, one would talk of it only because there is an individual who has been sanctioned since everybody cannot do everything.Precisely,an individual can make, has genius, can create and simultaneously can plan his destiny as well as other's.In the meantime he gets what is basically identified as life source that is monetary gains.

The idea of the individual is only six hundred years old. For an understanding of the concepts refer:
Dogma of Christ by Erich Fromm.
Myth of the Individual by Ian Watt
Idea of the Individual as in the Norton Critical Edition of Robinson Crusoe.

However, it is very interesting to look at what Freud's stand is on this concept. Freud interestingly denied the entire idea of the individual and thought of them as subjects- acted upon and manipulated. Edmund Husserl's argument that we are all products of subjective apparatus was coupled by his coinage of the word 'inter subjective' in 1917.Meaning to say, whatever one feels- pain or pleasure (not just one's own but also of others that an individual is capable of evoking) becomes inter subjective.There is also this lack of choice and the choices we talk about are not really choices in the first place. For instance, you can only choose to be in the class or outside. There essentially is no third option which proves the fact that we are constantly being subjected with even temporal realities working on it all at the same time.

Also, not to forget is the idea of pleasure principle versus the reality principle.

In short all what we have discussed till now are:
a) Notion of the aesthetic and the idea of the individual.
b) Intellectual pre history of modern day notion of art and aesthetics.
c) Colonial legacy of geographical/cultural aesthetic categories.

Pinto, Anil. Class lecture.Aesthetic and the Individual.Christ University. Bangalore, India. 07 July 2010. Lecture.

Visuals/ Hustle and Flow.

7th June 2010.


One man's struggle to rise above his circumstances prompts him to try a career in music in this acclaimed drama from writer and director Craig Brewer. Djay (Terrence Howard) is a low-level pimp and drug dealer who scraped together a living in the ghettos of Memphis, TN. Djay isn't happy with his life, and the realization that he's reached the same age when his father unexpectedly died has made him start thinking about changing his ways. Djay has always had a gift for spinning stories, and after picking up a cheap keyboard, he begins picking out beats to go along with his rhymes. After bumping into an old high-school buddy who works in gospel music, Key (Anthony Anderson), Djay decided to take the plunge and remake himself as a rapper. With the technical know-how of Key and the musical input of a local beat maker named Shelby (DJ Qualls), Djay begins turning his way with words and his first-hand knowledge of the street life into music, as his two live-in girlfriends, Lexus (Paula Jai Parker) and Shug (Taraji P.Henson), add their musical input and emotional support and Nola (Taryn Manning) continues to turn tricks to pay the bills. When local boy-turned-nationwide hip-hop star Skinny Black (Ludacris) comes to town to pay a visit to Arnel (Isaac Hayes), a club owner friendly with Djay, he sees an opportunity to put his demo in the hands of someone who can bring his music to the masses, though it turns out to be far more difficult than he expected.

Keep hustling..keep flowing...! and thats not all that keeps you glued. The cinema is in the real and as crude as it can get in an environment as is portrayed. Even the technicalities were marvellous with the focus on tighter, closer frames which makes it absolutely difficult and challenging for the actors because the expressions are under constant review where the scene is crammed.

Interestingly there is no background score either!Its either only the music that is composed then and there or the background in a bar which does not make it as superficial as other prime time cinemas can get to be.

From another perspective, it is about people. The age of innocence is over and the anti-social realm is held in close observation where everything flows in a vicious circle until the protagonist dares to break this circle of crude emotions.Skinny Black mutilates DJay's records but the chain breaks there when the latter agrees to listen to the records of the cops in the jail. The systems that fall into place with Nola who initially was a passive call girl takes charge and apparently brings about a notable movement in the movie and brings out DJay in the music market against all odds. It makes you think not only about costumes and appeal but cinematography, music, acting and thought.

As the man says : Everybody gotta have a dream!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

V Semester Literary theory class notes 5: Syntagm and paradigm

28 June 2010
Syntagm and paradigm
Syn- in Greek means together
Syntagm is in any sign system (language), sign system can be language, cricket match,

All sign systems have their syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships.
Because in any language or sign system the key word is relationships and minus that there is no language. Each sign makes means something in relation with another sign in a system, outside which it makes no sense.
Syntagmatic relationships  
·      Are horizontal relationships
·      Occur together
·      Are irreducible
·      Mutually exclusive

For example,
A dog ate a cat
You can mutually replace dog with cat. You cannot replace A with dog or vice versa, but they are put together.
Therefore they occur together but are irreducible. It will no more make sense. They are syntagmatic.

A dog ate a cat.
The dog ate a cat.
Some dog ate a cat.

Look at this relationship. A, The and some are replaceable, the sentence is still meaningful. They are mutually
inclusive. Remember the story of Oedipus Rex, the story can be read across or up-down.
Or take the example of stories ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’, there is a princess, stepmother, prince. And there can be
seen a syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationship among them.

This can be found in a lot of other places. For example go to a hotel and ask for the menu. It will be something like

Main course
·      Mutton
1.     Mutton biryani
2.     Mutton curry
·      Chicken
·      Bread
·      Rice

So now here we see that the order of starters main course and dessert is a syntagmatic relationship. You cannot replace one with the other. You do not have dessert first and then the main course, at least normally we don’t.
But among starters you can have anything in any order. This is known as the paradigmatic relationship.

Now the point here is that, this, what we have applied in food can be applied to anything.
This kind of paradigmatic structure, and syntagmatic structure can also be seen in different cultures, organizations, even in clothing patterns. 

Pinto, Anil. Class lecture. Introduction to Literary Theory. Christ University. Bangalore, India. 28 June 2010. Lecture.

V Semester JPEng Help for Literary theory CIA- II

Friday, July 16, 2010

Education in India BBC

Mapping of the essay by Sebin Justine

Sebin Justine
MEL 132
Western Aesthetics
July 15, 2010

Essay Mapping
Postmodernism and Politics of Style by Dick Hebdige
In this essay Dick Hebdige discusses on post modernism. He also discusses how it became useful to world. He begins the essay by giving an introduction to postmodernism
Definition and introduction of postmodernism is discussed in this paragraph.
Postmodernism is-space- condition-predicament-an aporia- unpassablepath-where competing intentions- definition- diverse- social-intellectual tendencies-lines of force coverage-clash.When-people-discribe-postmodern as- décor of room-design of building-diegesis of the film-construction of a record- television commercial - an arts documentary- layout of page in fashion magazine or critical journal- anti teleological tendency with epistemology- attack on metaphysical presence- general attenuation of feeling- collective chargin –group of rhetorical troupes – a proliferation of surfaces- new phase in commodity fetishism-facination for images-codes and style- process of cultural- political or existential fragmentation-decentring of subject—collapse of cultural hierarchies- decline of university-functioning of new miniaturized technologies-broad societal and economic shift into media- then –is clear –we- presence –of buzzword.
This paragraph discusses how peoples view on postmodernism
Viewed Benigly-degree – semantic complexity-surrounding-postmodernism-signal- that- number of people-with-interests-opinion –feel- that- something-important-stake –worth-struggling-arguing. Substantiative appeal of -debates – consist- degree-of contemporary crisis-directly-confronted-articulated-grappled with.Uneasiness- which – concern-rapidity and glee-which-intellectuals-intent-abandoning earlier positions-staked out-in- pre-post-erous ground- older-critical debates-predominates-uneasiness-which-underpinned-this case-by-squarer-puritival -aversion-decadence-fatalism.
The paragraph describes various definition of postmodernism
Postmodernism-resembles-modernism-that-it-need-to be thought-plural. Different –writers-define-differently-but- writer- can talk- different time-about-differnent post. Jean Francois Lyotard-used-term-to three sepratetendencies. 1) trend-within-architecture-away-from-Modern Movement’s project-of a last rebuilding- whole space-occupied-humanity. 2) decay-confidence- in –idea –of- progress and modernization. 3) recognition-no longer-employ-metaphor-of-avant-garde- as if- modern artist- soldiers- fighting-borders of knowledge. There is- postmodernism-as –descriptive category- liternature and visual arts-postmodernism- used-refer-a tendency- towards-stylistic pluralism, crisis- avant-garde-as idea and as institution- the blurring on-allegedly unparalleled scale-categories of high and low forms, idioms and contents. There-attempts-discribe-postmodern-emergent cultures and subcultures associated- the new userfriendly- communication technologies . There- much talk-bricolage, creative consumption, the decentring and de professionalization- knowledge- technical expertise, the production – meaning in use. There – talk too- general breakdown – social and cultural distinctions: an end- to- outmoded fantasy- the masses and- corollary in – market but also –historically grounded communities of – industrial period: end – existing subjectivities, existing collectivities. These fragmentations- sometimes linked- erosion – boundaries between – production and consumption, between different media and- incommensurable times and unsynchronized rhythms- different process, experiences, actions. Sometime- it – suggested- together- blurrings and mergers- led to collapse- hierarchies- kept apart the competing definition of culture- high culture, low culture, mass culture, popular culture, culture as- whole way of life- such a way- these categories- their contents- no longer-regarded –separate, distinct and vertically ranked.
Distinguishing between neo-consrvative-anti-modernist and critical post modernism is discussed.
Hal Foster- distinguishes between- neoconservative-antimodernist-critical postmodernism-and points out-some- critics – practioners seek- extend-revitalize-modernist project-others condemn-modernist objectives- and sets out-remedy- effects-of modernism-while- others-working in- spirit of ludic-critical pluralism – endeavor –open up- new spaces. In –latter-critical alternative-postmodernism-defined- positive critical advance-fractures through negotiation-1) petrifiedhegemony of- corpus of radical aesthetic stratergies – proscriptions and –pre-Freudian-subject-formed-hub of- progressive wheel of modernization-functioned in-modern period as-regulated focus for- range of- disciplinary scientific, literarary,legal and burocratic discourse. Critical postmodernist –to challenge-validity-unilinear version-artistic and economic –technological development- to concentrate instead on what gets left out-marginalized, repressed or buried underneath that term. Modernism –discarded by- postmodernist –a eurocentric and phallocentric category- involves- systematic preference for certain forms and voice of others. What is recommended- its place- inversion- modernist hierarchy- a hierarchy- since its inception- eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries- places- metropolitan center- over underdeveloped periphery. Western arts form- Third World – men’s art over womens art, in less anatomical terms – masculine or masculinist forms, institutions and practices over feminine, feminist of femineist ones. Here –word –postmodernist-used to cover-stratergies-setout –dismantle – power- the white.
Diagnoses of the post modernism is discussed in this paragraph
Diagnoses-postmodern condition cluster round- threat or promise- various kinds of merger. A number-immanent mergers –identified: coming together-different literary,televisual, musical style and genres, mergers of subjects and objects. This tendency –at one level- signaled-much vaunted contemporary preference - art, literature, film, television and popular music for parody, stimulation and allegory- the figures –risen like-ghosts from – grave of- fatally afflicated author. Shift towards- tropes- rooted-deconstructionism, in the abandonment-of pursuit – orgins- and –poststructuralist-attacks-metaphysics of presence.
Postmodernism in architecture
Postmodernism in architecture-identified with-end of European modernist hegemony-imposed with growing conviction- on global scale from 1920’s onwards- known- as international style. Reaction –against- International Style architecture-pioneered- in Britain- people like- Edward Lutyens- a whole generation- has been taken it. Modernism in architecture – identified with- more or less intentional destruction of – coordinates through- communities orient themselves-space and time : the destruction- of historyas- lived dimension- of neighbourhood as- socially inhabited space. Architecture is- independent and isolable field- but- less are-definite links-made with-postmodernism. It is – shrinkage in the aspiration of- intellectual practioner himself -links- architecture of post- to its artistic, critical and philosophical.
The given paragraph gives a greater view of postmodernism.
Word –postmodernism- announces- at very least- certain degree of skepticism- concerning-transformative and critical-power of art, aesthetics, knowledge. It announces- end- simple faith-what sometimes- called ‘grand metanarratives’-the great stories- for thousands of years- cultures of west- telling themselves-to keep-dread prospect of otherness at bay. Poststructuralism marks- decline- great stories of west- which has told itself- inorder to sustain itself- against rest, in order- place itself- Master and Hero – world. These stories- functioned in past- as forms of- reassurance- first stories- which John Berger talks about. Berger – imagines – first men- crouching round their fires- night telling stories. Each story- represents- ring of fire- light lit to pierce-darkness. To chase – darkness forever. And today we- crouching on our haunches- centered around-dying embers of many great stories- many heroic, epic master-narratives-stories which have lost- lusture and light, their power and plausibility- today we may- live without- solace and their comfort. If postmodernism means- end to belief- coherence and continuity as givens-end to- metaphysic of narrative closure, postmodernism mean- what Paul Virilio calls- the triumph of the art of the fragment: a loss- totality, necessary and therapeutic loss of wholeness. It may mean- substituting- history without guarantees for-older models- of mechanical and necessary progress. But if this –sounds –grandiouse and pretentious – and far too close- to modernist project- claim to displace- we – cut postmodernism down to size- reducing its terms of reference.
The given paragraph deals with the uses of postmodernism
Postmodernism –used loosely- to designate- range of symptoms which announce- break with- traditional cultural and aesthetic forms and experiences: break, for instance- traditional notions of authorship – originality. Postmodernism – used - shorthand term- reference certain qualities and tendencies- characterize- contemporary metropolitan milieu: growing- public familiarity with formal- representational codes- a profusion of consumption lifestyle, cultures, subcultures, a generalized sensitivity to style- and to difference: etnic, gender, regional and local difference. Some – artist and critics- denounces postmodernism- a flatulent retreat from- responsibility of – artist to bear- critical witness- times- which we live. Others stress- extend –which- sacerdotal postures and duties of- artist themselves- questioned and dismantled insofar- they serve to amplify- duplicate- voice of the father. There –many- good thing- found- ruins -in the collapse- older explanatory system.
Paragraph here deals with idle consumer.
The idle consumer- of- late 1980s – a bundle of contradictions: monstrous, brindled, hybrid. The idle consumer- deducted from – contemporary advertisement- not he or she – but it. The idle consumer- not- the idle productive worker-of an earlier epoch- a sexually repressed nobody, alienated from- sensual pleasure, subjected to- turgid life-denying disciplines of- working week and nuclear family. Instead idle consumer – it: enemy of personal pronouns- is a complete social and- psychological mess. Idle consumer- extrapolated from- barrage – contradictory interpellations- advertising billboards-magazine spreads- television commercial- is conflicting drives, desires, fantacies,appetites.
We – lost – Big Theories- Big Stories but post modernism- helped- rediscover- power- that resides- little things- disregarded detail- in aphorism- in metaphor- allusion- images and image stream.
Hebdige, Dick. Postmodernism and Politics of Style. Art in Modern Culture: An Anthology of
Critical Texts. Eds: Franscina, Francis and Jonathan Harris. London New York: Phaidon,
1992. Print.

Mapping of the essay by Basreena Basheer

MEL 132
15th July, 2010.
Mapping of the essay-When was Modernism-Raymond Williams
1. Defining Modernism through Different Routes
1.1 Title-borrowed.
1.2 Historical questioning-problematic history.
1.3 Inquiry-historical questioning-different ways-misleading ideology.
1.4 Modern-term-synonymous-‘now’-late sixteenth century-mark-period-medieval-ancient times.
1.5 Jane Austen characteristically qualified inflection-state of alternation-eighteenth century contemporaries-indicate updating and improvement.
1.6 Nineteenth century-more favorable-progressive ring.
1.7 Modern shifted reference.
1.8 Modernism-cultural movement.
1.9 Modern-world between-century and half a century.
1.10 English-‘avant-garde’-Dadaism-recent fringe theatre.

2 Identifying The Moment Of Modernism
2.1 Determining the process-identifying the machinery of selective tradition.
2.2 Romantics’ victorious definition-arts as out-riders-extraordinary innovations-metaphoric control-refined-Gogol, Flaubert-precedence over-modernist names.
2.3 Earlier novelists-later work possible.
2.4 Excluding great realists-modernism-refuses-whole vocabulary, structure of figures of speech- grasps unprecedented social forms.
2.5 Impressionists-1860s-defined new technique-only Post-Impressionists-Cubists-situated in the tradition.

3 Who Wrongly Constituted Modernism
3.1 Symbolist poets-1880s-superannuated-by others-1910 onward.
3.2 Drama-Ibsen-Strindberg-left behind.
3.3 Late-born ideology-selects the later group.
3.4 Imputes-primacy of subconscious-both writing and painting-radical questioning-processes of representation.
3.5 Writers-applauded-denaturalizing-language.
3.6 Self-reflexive text-centre-public-aesthetic stage-repudiates fixed forms-settled cultural authority-market popularity.

4 Relearning Modernism
4.1 Selected version –offers-whole of modernity.
4.2 Names-real history-open ideologizing-permits-selection.
4.3 Series of breaks-in all arts-late nineteenth century-breaks with form-power.

5 Modernism And Popular Culture
5.1 Late nineteenth century-greatest changes-media of cultural production.
5.2 Photography-cinema-radio-television reproduction-decisive advances-period identified-modernist-in response-first instance-defensive cultural groupings-competitively self-promoting.
5.3 1890s-badge-self conscious-self advertising schools.
5.4 Futurist-imagists-surrealists-vorticists-arrival-vision of the new-became fissiparous.

6 Modernism And Writers In Exile
6.1 Movements-products-changes in public media.
6.2 Media-technological investment-mobilized-cultural forms-new metropolitan cities.
6.3 Paris-Vienna-Berlin-London-Newyork-new silhouette-city of strangers-locale for art-restlessly mobile émigré-internationally anti-bourgeois artist.
6.4 Writers-continously-moving-Paris-Vienna-meeting-exiles-bringing-manifestos-post-revolutionary formation.

7 Émigré Writing
7.1 Endless border crossing-worked-naturalize-non natural-status of language
7.2 Commotion-interpreted-ratified-city of émigrés-New York

8 Modernism-Anti-bourgeois phenomenon
8.1 Modernism-divides-politically-specific movements.
8.2 Anti-bourgeois-art-liberating vanguard-popular consciousness
8.3 Picasso-Brecht-direct-support-communism-Marinetti-Ezra Pound-fascism-Elliot-Yeats-Anglo Catholicism.

9 Modernism-a narrow perspective
9.1 Modernism-nothing else beyond it
9.2 Marginal artist-classics-organized teachings-great galleries-metropolitan cities
9.3 Modernism-highly selective field

10 Émigré Writers And Modernism
10.1 Ideological victory-artists-mobile émigrés
10.2 Émigré life-dominant-key groups
10.3 Self referentiality-propinquity-mutual isolation-works-radical estrangement

11 Modernism And Consumerism
11.1 Modernism-new international capitalism
11.2 Significant disconnection-relocated-technical modes-advertising-commercial cinema
11.3 Narrative discontinuities-iconography-commercials

12 Modernism-a non historical fixity.
12.1 Modernism-new-fixed form-present moment
12.2 Modernism-tradition-addressing itself.

Work cited
Williams, Raymond.”When was Modernism?” Art in Modern Culture: An Anthology of Critical Texts. Eds. Francis Franscina, and Jonathan Harris. London/New York: Phaidon, 1992.Print.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mapping of the essay by Sana Shamim

Sana shamim
MEL 132 Western Aesthetics
July 15,2010

Modernist Painting by Clement Greenberg

Paragraph 1: Identification of Modernism
Modernism - art- literature- culture- historical novelty- self-critical tendency began with Kant- first real modernist

Paragraph 2: Criticizing the discipline in order to entrench it
Essence of Modernism- use of the characteristic methods of a discipline- criticize the discipline itself- entrench it- Kant used logic in order to establish limits of logic- make it more secure

Paragraph 3: Demands of self-criticism
Modernism- self-criticism- grows out of enlightenment which criticized from the outside- Kantian self-criticism first appeared in philosophy- it was called on to interpret areas far from philosophy

Paragraph 4: Assimilation of religion and art
Religion could not avail Kantian criticism- arts were denied serious tasks by the enlightenment- it was assimilated to entertainment- it had to prove that the experience provided was valuable in its own right

Paragraph 5: individual uniqueness
Each art exhibited effects which was unique and irreducible- exclusive to itself- it would narrow the area of competence but make its possession of the area more certain

Paragraph 6: self-criticism lead to self-definition
Competence of each art coincided with its medium- self-criticism eliminated any effect borrowed from or by the medium of any other art- art was rendered ‘pure’- guarantee of its standards of quality- leading to independence and self- criticism

Paragraph 7: medium of painting called attention to art in Modernism
Realistic, naturalistic art- dissembled the medium- medium of painting seen as negative factors by the Old Masters- Modernism regarded these as positive factors- Manet’s – first Modernist pictures- declared flat surfaces on which they were painted- Impressionist- abjured underpainting and glazes- brought attention to the colours used- made of paint from tubes or pots- Cézanne sacrificed correctness- fit his drawings and designs- to the rectangular shape of the canvas

Paragraph 8: Modernist painting oriented itself to flatness as it did to nothing else
Stressing of the ineluctable flatness of the surface- more fundamental- by which pictorial art criticized- defined itself under Modernism- enclosing shape of the picture – shared with theatre- colour shared with theatre and sculpture- flatness- condition painting shared with no other art- Modernist painting oriented itself to flatness

Paragraph 9: One sees Modernist picture as a picture first
The Old Masters sensed- necessity to preserve- integrity of the plane- endured presence of flatness underneath- above the most vivid illusion of three-dimensional space- Modernists reversed the terms- made aware of what the flatness contains- one sees a Modernist picture as a picture first- success of self-criticism

Paragraph 10: Modernist painting is abstract
Modernist painting- abandoned space that recognizable objects can inhabit- representation or illustration- does not attain uniqueness of pictorial art- all recognizable entities exist in three-dimensional space- barest suggestion- call up associations of that kind of space- by doing so alienated pictorial space from- literal two-dimensionality- guarantee of painting’s independence- three-dimensionality is the province of sculpture- achieve autonomy- divest itself of everything it might share with the sculpture- hence, painting made itself abstract

Paragraph 11: Modernist painting conforms to tradition by its anti-sculptural painting
Modernist painting- firmly attached to tradition- resistance to sculptural- greatest feats of the Western painting- rid itself of the sculptural- David- eighteenth century- tried to revive sculptural painting- to save pictorial art from the decorative flattening out- emphasis on colour seemed to induce- yet the strength of David’s own informal pictures is colour- by nineteenth century all ambitious painting converged in an anti-sculptural direction

Paragraph 12: optical experience
Manet and the Impressionists- question stopped being defined as- colour versus drawing- turned into optical experience against optical experience as revised by tactile associations- in the name of purely and literally optical- not colour- impressionists set themselves to undermining shading and modeling and everything else in painting that seemed to connote the sculptural- Cezanne and the cubists- reacted against impressionism- eventuated in a kind of painting flatterer than anything in western art- could hardly contain recognizable images

Paragraph 13: revision and re-revision of the norms of modernist paintings
Norm of the picture’s enclosing shape or frame loosened- tightened, isolated- by successive generations of modernist painters- norms of finish and paint texture- of value and colour contrast- revised and re-revised in order to exhibit them more clearly as norms- by being exhibited- tested for their indispensability- radical simplification to be seen in the latest abstract painting- radical complications also seen

Paragraph 14: The essential norms or conventions of painting are at the same time the limiting conditions with which a picture must comply in order to be experienced as a picture.
The more closely the norms of a discipline become defined- less freedom they permit in many directions- essential norms of painting are- limiting conditions with which a picture must comply in order to be experienced as a picture- the further back these limits are pushed- more explicitly they have to be observed- criss-cross black lines and coloured rectangles of a Mondrian painting- impose- a regulating norm with a new force and completeness by echoing that shape so closely- far from incurring the danger of arbitrariness Mondrian’s art proves- almost too disciplined- too tradition and convention bound in certain respects- more conservative in its colour- subservience to the frame- than the last paintings of Monet

Paragraph 15: Modernist painting must permit optical illusion
Modernist painting can never be an absolute flatness- picture plane- permit optical illusion- first mark made on canvas destroys its literal and utter flatness- artists like Mondrian suggest a kind of third dimension- Old Masters created an illusion of space- imagine oneself walking into- illusion created by the modernist painter can only be seen into- can be traveled through- literally or figuratively- only with the eye

Paragraph 16: Kantian self-criticism has found its fullest expression in science rather than in philosophy
Impressionists- neo-impressionists- were not altogether misguided when they flirted with science- Kantian self-criticism- found its fullest expression in science rather than philosophy- visual art should confine itself exclusively- to visual experience- make no reference to anything given in any other order of experience- justification lies in scientific consistency

Paragraph 17: The convergence of arts and science is a mere accident.
Science method asks- situation be resolved in – same terms- in which presented- this kind of consistency promises nothing in the was of aesthetic quality- best art of the last seventy or eighty years approaches closer to such consistency- art- its convergence with science happens to be a mere accident- neither art nor science assures the other of anything more than it ever did- convergence shows- degree to which Modernist art belongs to the same specific cultural tendency as modern science- highest significance as a historical fact

Paragraph 18: The immediate aim of a modernist is personal before anything else.
Modernist art- spontaneous and largely subliminal- question of practice- never a topic of theory- masters of modernism have no more fixed idea about art than Corot did- immediate aim of Modernists was and remains personal- truth and success of their work remains personal before anything else- decades of personal paintings reveal- general self-critical tendency of Modernist painting- no artist was or yet is, aware of it- nor could any artist work freely in awareness of it

Paragraph 19: The limiting conditions of art are altogether human conditions.
Modernism has never meant- a break with the past- may mean a devolution, an unraveling of tradition- also means its further evolution- Modernist art continues the past without a gap- making of pictures- controlled- Paleolithic painter- disregard norm of the frame- treat the surface in a literally sculptural way- limits and surface arbitrarily given by nature- the deliberate creating or choosing of a flat surface- deliberate circumscribing and limiting of it- Modernist painting harps on this deliberateness- that the limiting conditions of art are altogether human conditions

Paragraph 20: Modernist art puts theory into practice
Modernist art does not offer theoretical demonstrations- it happens to convert theoretical dimensions-it happens to convert theoretical possibilities into empirical ones- tests many theories about art for their relevance- certain factors assumed essential- Modernist painting has been able to dispense with- yet offers the experience of art in all its essentials- Modernism has shown- past did appreciate these masters justly- often gave wrong or irrelevant reasons for doing so

Paragraph 21: Art and Journalism
Most things written about Modernist art- belong to journalism- rather than to criticism or art history- each new modern art is expected to break away from the traditional- faces failure- Modernist art takes place in intelligible continuity of taste and tradition

Paragraph 22: Art is continuity
Art is continuity- lack of past would lead to lack of both substance and justification