Search This Blog

Be a Member of this BLOG

Aug 17, 2019

Hemingway

Source: various posts from https://literaturesheikh.blogspot.com

Q1. WHO IS THE CODE HERO AND REAL HERO?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND WHY THEY ARE PRESENTED IN HEMINGWAY'S NOVELS?
OR
Q2. DISCUSS ROBERT JORDAN AS HEMINGWAY HERO?
OR
Q3. IN HEMINGWAY'S ART HERO PRESENTS THE COURAGE AND FIGHT AGAINST EXTERNAL FORCES. HOW FAR ROBERT JORDAN IS SUCCESSFUL IN THIS REGARD?

Robert Jordan, a tall, a thin young man, with sun streaked fair hair, and wind and sun burned face, is one of the most complicated heroes, in Hemingway’s fictions. He is a typical Hemingway hero who fights till end and wins a moral victory for him. Two categories of heroes are found in the novels of Ernest Hemingway. One of which is a round character who finds himself unfit for the circumstances in which he is surrounded, but with the passage, of time he evolves certain values, which make his survival possible. According to the critics, this kind of character is “Hemingway Hero”, or “the Tito”. In the other category of hero is a developed character that does not need for further improvement. He is a confident man who knows his area of action and his skills. He serves to teach, the Tito, and thus is called “the Tutor” or “the code hero”.

Jack Barnes, Nick Adam, Fredric Henry etc., are all Hemingway’s typical heroes. They have been presented in the background of First World War. They portray the attributes of “Lost Generation”. They have got disillusioned with war and, therefore, remained under great stress. War has shattered their all the ideas of religion, humanity, love and peace. Hemingway at first shows through them the death of love, lost ness and forlornness’ and finally the moral code of life that “a man can be destroyed but not defeated”. Hemingway hero is a sensitive and intellectual being, but he suppresses his thoughts, he suffers from “Nada” the extreme feelings of nothingness. Inconsequence, he leads a life of sensuousness and seeks pleasure in sexuality, drinking and roaming about.

Hemingway takes life as a battle, in which man has to fight till his end. Therefore, his hero is always revealed in a war or war –like conditions, fighting against natural or human forces. This war can either be physical or spiritual or both. Within the course of his war, he learns the code of his life that: “A man is not made for defeat”. And that: “A man can live only through the manly encounter against death”. This code helps him to achieve a moral victory. Hemingway believes that “a winner gets
nothing in this world”, therefore, we see. “Despite Hemingway’s preoccupation with physical contests his heroes are almost always defeated physically their victories tries are moral one”. Robert Jordan is considered to be the most complex of all heroes, presented by Hemingway. He has seen excessive violence and bloodshed and is thoroughly aware of the cruelties of war, yet he is ready to fight for the cause of “humanity”. He is an idealist as well as a realist. He knows “neither all fascists are black nor all republicans are white”, but he fights for the betterment of Spanish people, as his meditations reveal:

“You believe in liberty equality and
Fraternity. You believe in life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”

Thus, as it is common with Hemingway’s heroes, Jordan is also shown under great stress and tension –at the same time though he criticizes his actions yet he is also ready to blow the bridge. He is very sensitive and intellectual being but he feels that thoughts are not appropriate for the world in which he is living, he takes refuges in drinking and sexually. Though he does not want to keep his mind busy in thinking about the rightness of his action, as he feels “to worry is as bad as to be afraid”. Yet he keeps himself busy in the unrealistic thoughts of a happy future with his beloved Maria. “When there was no understanding only the delight of acceptance”.

Though he likes “good things” of life yet he is so committed and honest to himself and his duty, that he does no let these things, come in his way. Even he attributes his love for Maria to his love for Spain as he says: “I love thee as I love that we have fought for”. He is so honest to the job that is assigned to him that he can understand that to blow the bridge is futile, yet he blows it, for it is the very order given to him.

Being a main character of Hemingway, he also fights his personal psychological battle in Spain. Jordan is extremely ashamed of his father, who attempted suicide instead of fighting. He wants to wash out his guilt. Though the life is dear to him, yet dearer than life is the need for the justification of his courage, which his father lacked. Thus, the war has a “double importance” for him. He says: “My mind is in suspension until we win the war”. He idealizes his grandfather, who was a courageous warrior and had died in a battle. Fighting against the enemy, Jordan seeks his code within the thoughts of his grandfather and is determined to fight till his death. When he falls from the horse and it breaks his leg, Jordan remains there to cover the escape of his companions. At this time it is the memory of his grandfather, which keeps him firm on his decision. Though he is disappointed yet not
desperate. He has learnt the lesson like Santiago that: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated”.

Near the end, he bears the pain courageously, and proves that “pain does not matter to a man”. He appears to be satisfied on achieving the moral victory over his enemy. This is the lesson Hemingway wants to give through his writings that fighting matters more than winning and one who fights till the end, is the winner in true sense. Thus we can conclude that Robert Jordan is a typical Hemingway hero, with all the heroic qualities in him. He also retains some of the autobiographical touches in his characters; this quality of his personality also enriches his personality in the eye of the readers.


HEMINGWAY PRESENTS THE WAR STRIKEN GENERATION IN FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. DISCUSS
Hemingway’s Nihilism OR LOST GENERATION OR THEME OF WAR

The term nihilism implies the negation of any authority and code at the heat of the universe. Hemingway has largely been accused of being nihilism. It is said that his heroes have no code to follow; that they are living on their own, that they are lost in this world thus they are hopeless and chaotic. A critic remarks: “--

-Again and again, Hemingway was writing of the –
the end of life, the end of love, the end of hope, the end of all”.

But to condemn his writing, by pronouncing nihilism, is to do injustice to him. Though Hemingway writes of the chaos and desperate situation, yet he provides a hope and code for life. If he denies the presence of God, heals creates new gods, for his heroes, in the apparent forms i.e., honour, dignity and struggle. He gives the code of constant and untiring struggle for life.

In his writings, Hemingway focuses at the lost generation, which emerged in the consequence of the two highly explosive World Wars. In19th century mankind was enjoying global peace, economic stability and scientific progress. People were thinking that Man has conquered the  beast in him and has learned to live peacefully. But all these idealistic dreams shattered away, when the First World War emerged due to this very industrial progress. The men who entered war with patriotic ideals were stunned at man’s inherent Barbarity when they realized the horrible uncertainty, pithiness and meaninglessness of life, they were desperately disillusion with the hollowness and emptiness of the high sounding slogans of religious and political leaders. Moreover, Darwin’s theory of evolution added fuel to fire and crumbled the roots of Christianity. It was felt that “God does not exist and man has to face all the consequences of this”. Hence:

“Man is forlorn; because neither within him nor without does
her find anything to ding to”.

Hemingway captures all this nothingness and forlornness in his stories. His heroes represent the lost generation. They are usually expatriates, disillusioned with war. They have utterly disappointed with the nothingness of life and seeks refuge in drinking, sex, wandering. Hemingway depicts his heroes at war, sometimes physically but most often metaphorically. Then, within the course of their war, they get the code is of unending struggle regardless of victory or defeat.

His hero in “The Old Man and the Sea”, Santiago says: “Pain does not matter to a man”. Then: “Man is not made for defeat”. And finally, he says: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated”. In “The Sun also rises”, there is a massage of hope: “A man can live only through the manly encounter against death”.

Robert Jordan in the “For Whom the Bell tolls”, is confused about his aims. He is disillusioned with war; he loves humanity and wants peace. But to establish peace, he has to fight against the evil. He is not certain about the usefulness of his action, though takes refuge in Maria’s arms, yet he resolves to continue his task. He says:

 “You can do nothing for yourself but
perhaps you can do something for another”.

It is an understanding assumption of Hemingway’s philosophy that there is no world beyond the grave. Therefore, one’s victories and losses are to be measured in terms of this world and not in the world beyond the grave. Life is tragic, sad and there is no escape from pain, therefore, it is useless to try to escape the inevitable. Hence what one can do is to be a man. When man is afflicted with misery pain or sorrow or even death, the proper way to face it is to remain true to oneself and one’s companions, to endure pain and must fight like Santiago against the heavy odds. To give up a fight would be unmanly. One must achieve moral victory even though he has nothing to win. Robert Jordan has to remain undefeated, to prove his moral victory. He fights not only for the sake of Spanish freedom, but also for the fulfilment of his moral duty and his reward is the consciousness and his satisfaction in the duty done. This constant struggle and absoluteness of duty is something, which one can cling to in the present times. Hence, Hemingway should not be pronounced as nihilism, prevailed in his time, and presents the solution of it rather he gives the faith of constant struggle and a moral victory to his readers. Thus the outlook or the background of his novels is nihilism but the message of his novels is the message of hope and confidence.

Hemingway’s Message : 
Man Can Be Destroyed but Not Defeated
Hemingway was considered to be a man more than life. He thrived to reduce the life than its gigantic stature. He wanted to explore more and more about the gravities of life. He had seen both pre-war and post war situations. He had deeply observed the change in the attitude of people, towards life and their scattered dreams and desires. Thus, he sought to give message to the post war generation –the message of struggle for life. He taught them that man can live only through the manly encounter against death and miseries.

Nineteenth century was the period of the boon of humanity. There was industrial rise and scientific progress. Mankind was enjoying global peace and stability. Man was thinking that he had conquered the beast in him and had learnt to live peacefully. But them, this wide spread scientific progress brought two most destructive and fierce worldwide wars. With the advent of these wars, all the thoughts and dreams of a peaceful and progressive future shattered. People look refuge in sensual pleasure i.e. drinking, free sex and wandering and avoided thinking. These people, after the wide spread devastation of wars, were pronounced as the Lost Generation.

Hemingway writes his stories, to guide his lost generation. They are expatriates, confused and frustrated beings, indulged in drinking, gambling and sexual pleasures. Hemingway wants to give them a code of life, higher than any ethical code. This is a code of “constant struggle”.

Hemingway creates a microcosm of the post war scenario in this story and delineates his characters, very close to real men, with their tensions and conflicts. Almost all of his protagonists are representatives of lost generation. They are all disillusioned with war, but each experiences this situation differently. Yet one thing is common in all of them that they have to struggle for life. Henry hates war; at he has to fight for life. Jordan knows that war is destructive; he wants peace and is aware of the feet that to attain peace, it is necessary to suppress force, by force.

Hemingway perceives life as a struggle, in which man has no choice except to fight. Santiago has to go far away, on the sea, to fight with evil, regardless of any loss. Robert Jordan has to blow up the bridge without considering its usefulness. It also gives a view that duty, must be done at any cost, and a duty assigned to an individual should be considered special in its way. Jordan says: “If I have to do what I think, I will have to do; it will be very select indeed”. Besides fighting with the outer circumstances, Hemingway’s protagonist also fights a battle of inner self. He knows the worthlessness of his act, yet he fights to prove his courage and strength by accomplishing that act. Jordan realizes the futility of his act; he also loves life and feels: “This world is a fine place”. Though life is dear to him, yet dearer than life is the need to justify his courage, which his father lacked.

Hemingway feels that winner gets nothing in this world. The victory of his protagonist is never physical but always moral. Santiago, after successfully achieving victory over Marline loses it during his journey back to home. Jordan successfully blows the bridge, yet, in the end, his is a loser –loser of his life. All that is achieved in all this exercise is the insight that one must go on struggling come what may and whatever is the cause. Thought he winner gets nothing yet he attains moral dignity. Jordan says:

“You can do nothing for yourself but
perhaps you can do something for another”.

Hemingway holds the view that whatever has to be done, has to be done with good grace. He says in “Old man and The Sea”:
 “Pain does not matter to a man”

Robert Jordan repeatedly wishes for the arrival of Fascists, to the end of the novel, because of his increasing pain. Yet he does not choose to kill himself. He feels that to die a courageous death is better than to live, as a coward in owes own eyes. He says: “I wish, they would come now”. He fights bravely and does not lack courage. He proves:  “A man is not made for defeat”. Jordan fights till end and sacrifices his life, for duty. He dies not only for Spain, not only to save the girl, Maria, whom he loves, but also for his own sake and in fulfilment of a moral duty. So, his only reward is the consciousness of duty done. Thus he proves that “A man can be destroyed but not defeated”.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” as a Modern Tragedy
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” is a modern tragedy, as it depicts the conflict, struggle, tension and frustration of a modern man. A modern tragedy is quite different from classical standards.  According to Aristotle, tragedy is a story of conspicuous man who fall from prosperity to adversity because of his error judgment, i.e., hamartia, his death is not essential, but his fall arises a sense of pity and fear
for him, in us. 

But in a modern world, there are no kings and princes, who could be regarded as “conspicuous”, therefore, modern tragedy is the story of a common man who falls from prosperity to adversity, because of his error of judgment, i.e., his hamartia, but his death is not essential, but his fall arises a sense of pity and fear, in us. Secondly, now a modern man is not confronted with the supernatural forces of his surroundings and society. Thus a modern tragedy is different from a classical tragedy. Hemingway writes in an effort to reduce the harms done by the two world wars. He presents a picture of the post war scenario, when the atomic weapons shattered all the dream of global peace. There was a big generation gap in the society and a sense of lost ness. Hemingway portrays in his novels, a microcosm of that larger universe, and gives a lesson of constant and untiring struggle.

Robert Jordan is a typical Hemingway protagonist. He is an American volunteer. He is very sensitive and intellectual man who wishes for the global peace. He believes that liberty diminished at one place means some liberty lost everywhere. Because of his this belief, he is fighting Spain for republican he is not only fighting the war of the freedom of Spain, he is also fighting a mental and psychological war of self-realization and self-assessment. He has been assigned the duty of blowing a supply line bridge up, of Fascists and through this duty; he wants to judge his mental and physical usefulness for the world.

Hemingway’s hero is usually a disillusioned but a reluctant man. He is aware of the futility ofaction but tries to avoid this awareness by indulging into sensual pleasure. Robert Jordan alsotries to avoid his thoughts and seeks refuge in Maria’s arms and intoxication. But being an intellectual he cannot escape from his thoughts. He knows that his action of blasting the bridge would not help the Republicans and the Fascists would not be stopped; yet he continuous his work. The reason is the accomplishment of duty, which has been assigned to him, and an inner satisfaction that at least he has done what he could do. He feels that he is fighting for his love of Spain, for his love of Maria and for his love of freedom as he says:

“You believe in life, liberty 
and the pursuit of Happiness”

But this is a kind of self-deception and false justification of his useless act and this proves his flaw, which leads to his tragedy. However, it is a preoccupation of a Hemingway Hero, which he goes too far in the accomplishment of his duty, regardless of any danger. Hemingway adopts this trait to achieve his moral end, and this gives a new dimension to tragedy. He has moralized the tragedy, “despite Hemingway’s preoccupation with physical contests, his heroes are almost always defeated physically, nervously, practically; their victories are moral ones”.  As we see that Jordan remains stick to his duty. He says:  “You can do nothing for yourself but perhaps you can do something for another”. This belief keeps him firm, even when Pablo betrays him and leaves with the blasting material. This is the moment of his moral uplift.There is a sure fear of his death, but he goes on. Though life is dear to him, but dearer than life is the justification of his courage, which his father lacked. He also hints this in his saying:

“May be I have lived all my 
life in these seventy hours”.

Jordan successfully blows up the bridge but, while moving away from the scene, he falls from his horse and breaks his leg. This is the most pathetic and tragic situation, when a man achieves success at one moment and loses everything at the other. The reader feels extreme pity for Jordan at this stage.

The ending moments of the novel are the most convincing and magnificent ones, when Jordan is lying on the ground waiting for fascists to come. So that he may be able to prove his courage and strength by fighting till the end. He repeated utterance:  “I wish is not made for defeat”. I create a moving effect. The dramatic ending of the novel gives a message, a lesson and alsohope to the reader that:  “Man is not made for defeat”.  Jordan proves that: 

“A man can be
destroyed but not defeated”.

Jordan fights till end and sacrifices his life for duty. He dies not only for Spain, not only to save the girl, Maria, whom he loves, but also for his own sake and in fulfilment of a moral duty. So his only reward is the consciousness of duty done. And again:  “Winner take nothing”. But it seems that Hemingway had found something to die for, and he seems to imply that if you die as Anselmo or Jordan died, then physical death means nothing, death has no sting for the dying man rather he dies victoriously and his death is a moral victory. Thus we can conclude that “For Whom the Bell Toll” is a modern tragedy in which an ordinary hero –an American volunteer falls from prosperity of adversity because of his hamartia, i.e., his extreme sense of duty. He dies a physical death but wins a moral victory. His sufferings arise a sense of pity and fear in us.

Aug 13, 2019

Literary Movements and Periods

Literature constantly evolves as new movements emerge to speak to the concerns of different groups of people and historical periods.

*Absurd, literature of the (c. 1930–1970):* A movement, primarily in the theater, that responded to the seeming illogicality and purposelessness of human life in works marked by a lack of clear narrative, understandable psychological motives, or emotional catharsis. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is one of the most celebrated works in the theater of the absurd.

*Aestheticism (c. 1835–1910):* A late-19th- century movement that believed in art as an end in itself. Aesthetes such as Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater rejected the view that art had to posses a higher moral or political value and believed instead in “art for art’s sake.”

*Angry Young Men (1950s–1980s):* A group of male British writers who created visceral plays and fiction at odds with the political establishment and a self-satisfied middle class. John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger (1957) is one of the seminal works of this movement.

*Beat Generation (1950s–1960s):* A group of American writers in the 1950s and 1960s who sought release and illumination though a bohemian counterculture of sex, drugs, and Zen Buddhism. Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac (On The Road) and Allen Ginsberg (Howl) gained fame by giving readings in coffeehouses, often accompanied by jazz music.

*Bloomsbury Group (c. 1906–1930s):* An informal group of friends and lovers, including Clive Bell, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, and John Maynard Keynes, who lived in the Bloomsbury section of London in the early 20th century and who had a considerable liberalizing influence on British culture.

*Commedia dell’arte (1500s–1700s):* Improvisational comedy first developed in Renaissance Italy that involved stock characters and centered around a set scenario. The elements of farce and buffoonery in commedia dell’arte, as well as its standard characters and plot intrigues, have had a tremendous influence on Western comedy, and can still be seen in contemporary drama and television sitcoms.

*Dadaism (1916–1922):* An avant-garde movement that began in response to the devastation of World War I. Based in Paris and led by the poet Tristan Tzara, the Dadaists produced nihilistic and antilogical prose, poetry, and art, and rejected the traditions, rules, and ideals of prewar Europe.

*Enlightenment (c. 1660–1790):* An intellectual movement in France and other parts of Europe that emphasized the importance of reason, progress, and liberty. The Enlightenment, sometimes called the Age of Reason, is primarily associated with nonfiction writing, such as essays and philosophical treatises. Major Enlightenment writers include Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean- Jacques Rousseau, René Descartes.

*Elizabethan era (c. 1558–1603):* A flourishing period in English literature, particularly drama, that coincided with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and included writers such as Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, and Edmund Spenser.

*Gothic fiction (c. 1764–1820):* A genre of late-18th-century literature that featured brooding, mysterious settings and plots and set the stage for what we now call “horror stories.” Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, set inside a medieval castle, was the first major Gothic novel. Later, the term “Gothic” grew to include any work that attempted to create an atmosphere of terror or the unknown, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories.

*Harlem Renaissance (c. 1918–1930):* A flowering of African-American literature, art, and music during the 1920s in New York City. W. E. B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk anticipated the movement, which included Alain Locke’s anthology The New Negro, Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the poetry of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen.

*Lost Generation (c. 1918–1930s):* A term used to describe the generation of writers, many of them soldiers that came to maturity during World War I. Notable members of this group include F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, and Ernest Hemingway, whose novel The Sun Also Rises embodies the Lost Generation’s sense of disillusionment.

*Magic realism (c. 1935–present):* A style of writing, popularized by Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Günter Grass, and others, that combines realism with moments of dream-like fantasy within a single prose narrative.

*Metaphysical poets (c. 1633–1680):* A group of 17th-century poets who combined direct language with ingenious images, paradoxes, and conceits. John Donne and Andrew Marvell are the best known poets of this school.

*Middle English (c. 1066–1500):* The transitional period between Anglo-Saxon and modern English. The cultural upheaval that followed the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066, saw a flowering of secular literature, including ballads, chivalric romances, allegorical poems, and a variety of religious plays. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is the most celebrated work of this period.

*Modernism (1890s–1940s):* A literary and artistic movement that provided a radical breaks with traditional modes of Western art, thought, religion, social conventions, and morality. Major themes of this period include the attack on notions of hierarchy; experimentation in new forms of narrative, such as stream of consciousness; doubt about the existence of knowable, objective reality; attention to alternative viewpoints and modes of thinking; and self-referentiality as a means of drawing attention to the relationships between artist and audience, and form and content. •

*High modernism (1920s):* Generally considered the golden age of modernist literature, this period saw the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

*Naturalism (c. 1865–1900):* A literary movement that used detailed realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character. Leading writers in the movement include Émile Zola, Theodore Dreiser, and Stephen Crane.

*Neoclassicism (c. 1660–1798):* A literary movement, inspired by the rediscovery of classical works of ancient Greece and Rome that emphasized balance, restraint, and order. Neoclassicism roughly coincided with the Enlightenment, which espoused reason over passion. Notable neoclassical writers include Edmund Burke, John Dryden, Samuel Johnson, Alexander Pope, and Jonathan Swift.

*Nouveau Roman (“New Novel”) (c. 1955–1970):* A French movement, led by Alain Robbe-Grillet, that dispensed with traditional elements of the novel, such as plot and character, in favor of neutrally recording the experience of sensations and things.

*Postcolonial literature (c. 1950s–present):* Literature by and about people from former European colonies, primarily in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Caribbean. This literature aims both to expand the traditional canon of Western literature and to challenge Eurocentric assumptions about literature, especially through examination of questions of otherness, identity, and race. Prominent postcolonial works include Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, V. S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas, and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) provided an important theoretical basis for understanding postcolonial literature.

*Postmodernism (c. 1945–present):* A notoriously ambiguous term, especially as it refers to literature, postmodernism can be seen as a response to the elitism of high modernism as well as to the horrors of World War II. Postmodern literature is characterized by a disjointed, fragmented pastiche of high and low culture that reflects the absence of tradition and structure in a world driven by technology and consumerism. Julian Barnes, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Salman Rushdie, and Kurt Vonnegut are among many who are considered postmodern authors.

*Pre-Raphaelites (c. 1848–1870):* The literary arm of an artistic movement that drew inspiration from Italian artists working before Raphael (1483–1520). The Pre-Raphaelites combined sensuousness and religiosity through archaic poetic forms and medieval settings. William Morris, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Charles Swinburne were leading poets in the movement.

*Realism (c. 1830–1900):* A loose term that can refer to any work that aims at honest portrayal over sensationalism, exaggeration, or melodrama. Technically, realism refers to a late-19th-centu ry literary movement—primarily French, English, and American—that aimed at accurate detailed portrayal of ordinary, contemporary life. Many of the 19th century’s greatest novelists, such as Honoré de Balzac, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, and Leo Tolstoy, are classified as realists. Naturalism ( see above ) can be seen as an intensification of realism.

*Romanticism (c. 1798–1832):* A literary and artistic movement that reacted against the restraint and universalism of the Enlightenment. The Romantics celebrated spontaneity, imagination, subjectivity, and the purity of nature. Notable English Romantic writers include Jane Austen, William Blake, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth. Prominent figures in the American Romantic movement include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, William Cullen Bryant, and John Greenleaf Whittier.

*Sturm und Drang (1770s):* German for “storm and stress,” this brief German literary movement advocated passionate individuality in the face of Neoclassical rationalism and restraint. Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is the most enduring work of this movement, which greatly influenced the Romantic movement (see above).

*Surrealism (1920s–1930s):* An avant-garde movement, based primarily in France, that sought to break down the boundaries between rational and irrational, conscious and unconscious, through a variety of literary and artistic experiments. The surrealist poets, such as André Breton and Paul Eluard, were not as successful as their artist counterparts, who included Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and René Magritte.

*Symbolists (1870s–1890s):* A group of French poets who reacted against realism with a poetry of suggestion based on private symbols, and experimented with new poetic forms such as free verse and the prose poem. The symbolists—Stép hane Mallarmé, Arthur Rimbaud, and Paul Verlaine are the most well known—were influenced by Charles Baudelaire. In turn, they had a seminal influence on the modernist poetry of the early 20th century.

*Transcendentalism (c. 1835–1860):* An American philosophical and spiritual movement, based in New England, that focused on the primacy of the individual conscience and rejected materialism in favor of closer communion with nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden are famous transcendentalist works.

*Victorian era (c. 1832–1901):* The period of English history between the passage of the first Reform Bill (1832) and the death of Queen Victoria (reigned 1837–1901). Though remembered for strict social, political, and sexual conservatism and frequent clashes between religion and science, the period also saw prolific literary activity and significant social reform and criticism. Notable Victorian novelists include the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, and Thomas Hardy, while prominent poets include Matthew Arnold; Robert Browning; Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Gerard Manley Hopkins; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; and Christina Rossetti. Notable Victorian nonfiction writers include Walter Pater, John Ruskin, and Charles Darwin, who penned the famous On the Origin of Species (1859). Literary theory and literary criticism are interpretive tools that help us think more deeply and insightfully about the literature that we read. Over time, different schools of literary criticism have developed, each with its own approaches to the act of reading.

Literary theory and literary criticism are interpretive tools that help us think more deeply and insightfully about the literature that we read. Over time, different schools of literary criticism have developed, each with its own approaches to the act of reading.

Schools of Interpretation
Cambridge School (1920s–1930s): A group of scholars at Cambridge University who rejected historical and biographical analysis of texts in favor of close readings of the texts themselves.

Chicago School (1950s): A group, formed at the University of Chicago in the 1950s, that drew on Aristotle’s distinctions between the various elements within a narrative to analyze the relation between form and structure. Critics and Criticisms: Ancient and Modern (1952) is the major work of the Chicago School.

Deconstruction (1967–present): A philosophical approach to reading, first advanced by Jacques Derrida that attacks the assumption that a text has a single, stable meaning. Derrida suggests that all interpretation of a text simply constitutes further texts, which means there is no “outside the text” at all. Therefore, it is impossible for a text to have stable meaning. The practice of deconstruction involves identifying the contradictions within a text’s claim to have a single, stable meaning, and showing that a text can be taken to mean a variety of things that differ significantly from what it purports to mean.

Feminist criticism (1960s–present): An umbrella term for a number of different critical approaches that seek to distinguish the human experience from the male experience. Feminist critics draw attention to the ways in which patriarchal social structures have marginalized women and male authors have exploited women in their portrayal of them. Although feminist criticism dates as far back as Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and had some significant advocates in the early 20th century, such as Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, it did not gain widespread recognition as a theoretical and political movement until the 1960s and 1970s.

Psychoanalytic criticism: Any form of criticism that draws on psychoanalysis, the practice of analyzing the role of unconscious psychological drives and impulses in shaping human behavior or artistic production. The three main schools of psychoanalysis are named for the three leading figures in developing psychoanalytic theory: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Jacques Lacan.

• Freudian criticism (c. 1900–present): The view of art as the imagined fulfillment of wishes that reality denies. According to Freud, artists sublimate their desires and translate their imagined wishes into art. We, as an audience, respond to the sublimated wishes that we share with the artist. Working from this view, an artist’s biography becomes a useful tool in interpreting his or her work. “Freudian criticism” is also used as a term to describe the analysis of Freudian images within a work of art.

• Jungian criticism (1920s–present): A school of criticism that draws on Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious, a reservoir of common thoughts and experiences that all cultures share. Jung holds that literature is an expression of the main themes of the collective unconscious, and critics often invoke his work in discussions of literary archetypes.

• Lacanian criticism (c. 1977–present): Criticism based on Jacques Lacan’s view that the unconscious, and our perception of ourselves, is shaped in the “symbolic” order of language rather than in the “imaginary” order of prelinguistic thought. Lacan is famous in literary circles for his influential reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter.”

Marxist criticism: An umbrella term for a number of critical approaches to literature that draw inspiration from the social and economic theories of Karl Marx. Marx maintained that material production, or economics, ultimately determines the course of history, and in turn influences social structures.These social structures, Marx argued, are held in place by the dominant ideology, which serves to reinforce the interests of the ruling class. Marxist criticism approaches literature as a struggle with social realities and ideologies.

• Frankfurt School (c. 1923–1970): A group of German Marxist thinkers associated with the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt. These thinkers applied the principles of Marxism to a wide range of social phenomena, including literature. Major members of the Frankfurt School include Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, and Jürgen Habermas.

New Criticism (1930s–1960s): Coined in John Crowe Ransom’s The New Criticism (1941), this approach discourages the use of history and biography in interpreting a literary work. Instead, it encourages readers to discover the meaning of a work through a detailed analysis of the text itself. This approach was popular in the middle of the 20th century, especially in the United States, but has since fallen out of favor.

New Historicism (1980s–present): An approach that breaks down distinctions between “literature” and “historical context” by examining the contemporary production and reception of literary texts, including the dominant social, political, and moral movements of the time. Stephen Greenblatt is a leader in this field, which joins the careful textual analysis of New Criticism with a dynamic model of historical research.

New Humanism (c. 1910–1933): An American movement, led by Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More, that embraced conservative literary and moral values and advocated a return to humanistic education.

Post-structuralism (1960s–1970s): A movement that comprised, among other things, Deconstruction, Lacanian criticism, and the later works of Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault. It criticized structuralism for its claims to scientific objectivity, including its assumption that the system of signs in which language operates was stable.

Queer theory (1980s–present): A “constructivist” (as opposed to “essentialist”) approach to gender and sexuality that asserts that gender roles and sexual identity are social constructions rather than an essential, inescapable part of our nature. Queer theory consequently studies literary texts with an eye to the ways in which different authors in different eras construct sexual and gender identity. Queer theory draws on certain branches of feminist criticism and traces its roots to the first volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality (1976).

Russian Formalism (1915–1929): A school that attempted a scientific analysis of the formal literary devices used in a text. The Stalinist authorities criticized and silenced the Formalists, but Western critics rediscovered their work in the 1960s. Ultimately, the Russian Formalists had significant influence on structuralism and Marxist criticism.

Structuralism (1950s–1960s): An intellectual movement that made significant contributions not only to literary criticism but also to philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and history. Structuralist literary critics, such as Roland Barthes, read texts as an interrelated system of signs that refer to one another rather than to an external “meaning” that is fixed either by author or reader. Structuralist literary theory draws on the work of the Russian Formalists, as well as the linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure and C. S. Peirce.

Literary Terms and Theories
Literary theory is notorious for its complex and somewhat inaccessible jargon. The following list defines some of the more commonly encountered terms in the field.

Anxiety of influence: A theory that the critic Harold Bloom put forth in The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (1973). Bloom uses Freud’s idea of the Oedipus complex (see below) to suggest that poets, plagued by anxiety that they have nothing new to say, struggle against the influence of earlier generations of poets. Bloom suggests that poets find their distinctive voices in an act of misprision, or misreading, of earlier influences, thus refiguring the poetic tradition. Although Bloom presents his thesis as a theory of poetry, it can be applied to other arts as well.

Canon: A group of literary works commonly regarded as central or authoritative to the literary tradition. For example, many critics concur that the Western canon—the central literary works of Western civilization—includes the writings of Homer, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and the like. A canon is an evolving entity, as works are added or subtracted as their perceived value shifts over time. For example, the fiction of W. Somerset Maugham was central to the canon during the middle of the 20th century but is read less frequently today. In recent decades, the idea of an authoritative canon has come under attack, especially from feminist and postcolonial critics, who see the canon as a tyranny of dead white males that marginalizes less mainstream voices.

Death of the author: A post-structuralist theory, first advanced by Roland Barthes, that suggests that the reader, not the author, creates the meaning of a text. Ultimately, the very idea of an author is a fiction invented by the reader.

Diachronic/synchronic: Terms that Ferdinand de Saussure used to describe two different approaches to language. The diachronic approach looks at language as a historical process and examines the ways in which it has changed over time. The synchronic approach looks at language at a particular moment in time, without reference to history. Saussure’s structuralist approach is synchronic, for it studies language as a system of interrelated signs that have no reference to anything (such as history) outside of the system.

Dialogic/monologic: Terms that the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin used to distinguish works that are controlled by a single, authorial voice (monologic) from works in which no single voice predominates (dialogic or polyphonic). Bakhtin takes Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky as examples of monologic and dialogic writing, respectively.

Diegesis/Mimesis: Terms that Aristotle first used to distinguish “telling” (diegesis) from “showing” (mimesis). In a play, for instance, most of the action is mimetic, but moments in which a character recounts what has happened offstage are diegetic.

Discourse: A post-structuralist term for the wider social and intellectual context in which communication takes place. The implication is that the meaning of works is as dependent on their surrounding context as it is on the content of the works themselves.

Exegesis: An explanation of a text that clarifies difficult passages and analyzes its contemporary relevance or application.

Explication: A close reading of a text that identifies and explains the figurative language and forms within the work.

Hermeneutics: The study of textual interpretation and of the way in which a text communicates meaning.

Intertextuality: The various relationships a text may have with other texts, through allusions, borrowing of formal or thematic elements, or simply by reference to traditional literary forms. The term is important to structuralist and poststructuralist critics, who argue that texts relate primarily to one another and not to an external reality.

Linguistics: The scientific study of language, encompassing, among other things, the study of syntax, semantics, and the evolution of language.

Logocentrism: The desire for an ultimate guarantee of meaning, whether God, Truth, Reason, or something else. Jacques Derrida criticizes the bulk of Western philosophy as being based on a logocentric “metaphysics of presence,” which insists on the presence of some such ultimate guarantee. The main goal of deconstruction is to undermine this belief.

Metalanguage: A technical language that explains and interprets the properties of ordinary language. For example, the vocabulary of literary criticism is a metalanguage that explains the ordinary language of literature. Post-structuralist critics argue that there is no such thing as a metalanguage; rather, they assert, all language is on an even plane and therefore there is no essential difference between literature and criticism.

Metanarrative: A larger framework within which we understand historical processes. For instance, a Marxist metanarrative sees history primarily as a history of changing material circumstances and class struggle. Post-structuralist critics draw our attention to the ways in which assumed met narratives can be used as tools of political domination.

Narratology: The study of narrative, encompassing the different kinds of narrative voices, forms of narrative, and possibilities of narrative analysis.

Oedipus complex: Sigmund Freud’s theory that a male child feels unconscious jealousy toward his father and lust for his mother. The name comes from Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex, in which the main character unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother. Freud applies this theory in an influential reading of Hamlet, in which he sees Hamlet as struggling with his admiration of Claudius, who fulfilled Hamlet’s own desire of murdering Hamlet’s father and marrying his mother.

Semantics: The branch of linguistics that studies the meanings of words.

Semiotics or semiology: Terms for the study of sign systems and the ways in which communication functions through conventions in sign systems. Semiotics is central to structuralist linguistics.

Sign/signifier/signified: Terms fundamental to Ferdinand de Saussure’s structuralism linguistics. A sign is a basic unit of meaning—a word, picture, or hand gesture, for instance, that conveys some meaning. A signifier is the perceptible aspect of a sign (e.g., the word “car”) while the signified is the conceptual aspect of a sign (e.g., the concept of a car). A referent is a physical object to which a sign system refers (e.g., the physical car itself).

Jul 20, 2019

Macaulay's Minute on Indian Education

Minute by the Hon'ble T. B. Macaulay, dated the 2nd February 1835. 
As it seems to be the opinion of some of the gentlemen who compose the Committee of Public Instruction that the course which they have hitherto pursued was strictly prescribed by the British Parliament in 1813 and as, if that opinion be correct, a legislative act will be necessary to warrant a change, I have thought it right to refrain from taking any part in the preparation of the adverse statements which are.now before us, and to reserve what I had to say on the subject till it should come before me as a Member of the Council of India.

It does not appear to me that the Act of Parliament can by any art of contraction be made to bear the meaning which has been assigned to it. It contains nothing about the particular languages or sciences which are to be studied. A sum is set apart "for the revival and promotion of literature, and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories." It is argued, or rather taken for granted, that by literature the Parliament can have meant only Arabic and Sanscrit literature; that they never would have given the honourable appellation of "a learned native" to a native who was familiar with the poetry of Milton, the metaphysics of Locke, and the physics of Newton; but that they meant to designate by that name only such persons as might have studied in the sacred books of the Hindoos all the uses of cusa-grass, and all the mysteries of absorption into the Deity. This does not appear to be a very satisfactory interpretation. To take a parallel case: Suppose that the Pacha of Egypt, a country once superior in knowledge to the nations of Europe, but now sunk far below them, were to appropriate a sum for the purpose "of reviving and promoting literature, and encouraging learned natives of Egypt," would any body infer that he meant the youth of his Pachalik to give years to the study of hieroglyphics, to search into all the doctrines disguised under the fable of Osiris, and to ascertain with all possible accuracy the ritual with which cats and onions were anciently adored? Would he be justly charged with inconsistency if, instead of employing his young subjects in deciphering obelisks, he were to order them to be instructed in the English and French languages, and in all the sciences to which those languages are the chief keys?

The words on which the supporters of the old system rely do not bear them out, and other words follow which seem to be quite decisive on the other side. This lakh of rupees is set apart not only for "reviving literature in India," the phrase on which their whole interpretation is founded, but also "for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories"-- words which are alone sufficient to authorize all the changes for which I contend.

If the Council agree in my construction no legislative act will be necessary. If they differ from me, I will propose a short act rescinding that I clause of the Charter of 1813 from which the difficulty arises.

The argument which I have been considering affects only the form of proceeding. But the admirers of the oriental system of education have used another argument, which, if we admit it to be valid, is decisive against all change. They conceive that the public faith is pledged to the present system, and that to alter the appropriation of any of the funds which have hitherto been spent in encouraging the study of Arabic and Sanscrit would be downright spoliation. It is not easy to understand by what process of reasoning they can have arrived at this conclusion. The grants which are made from the public purse for the encouragement of literature differ in no respect from the grants which are made from the same purse for other objects of real or supposed utility. We found a sanitarium on a spot which we suppose to be healthy. Do we thereby pledge ourselves to keep a sanitarium there if the result should not answer our expectations? We commence the erection of a pier. Is it a violation of the public faith to stop the works, if we afterwards see reason to believe that the building will be useless? The rights of property are undoubtedly sacred. But nothing endangers those rights so much as the practice, now unhappily too common, of attributing them to things to which they do not belong. Those who would impart to abuses the sanctity of property are in truth imparting to the institution of property the unpopularity and the fragility of abuses. If the Government has given to any person a formal assurance-- nay, if the Government has excited in any person's mind a reasonable expectation-- that he shall receive a certain income as a teacher or a learner of Sanscrit or Arabic, I would respect that person's pecuniary interests. I would rather err on the side of liberality to individuals than suffer the public faith to be called in question. But to talk of a Government pledging itself to teach certain languages and certain sciences, though those languages may become useless, though those sciences may be exploded, seems to me quite unmeaning. There is not a single word in any public instrument from which it can be inferred that the Indian Government ever intended to give any pledge on this subject, or ever considered the destination of these funds as unalterably fixed. But, had it been otherwise, I should have denied the competence of our predecessors to bind us by any pledge on such a subject. Suppose that a Government had in the last century enacted in the most solemn manner that all its subjects should, to the end of time, be inoculated for the small-pox, would that Government be bound to persist in the practice after Jenner's discovery? These promises of which nobody claims the performance, and from which nobody can grant a release, these vested rights which vest in nobody, this property without proprietors, this robbery which makes nobody poorer, may be comprehended by persons of higher faculties than mine. I consider this plea merely as a set form of words, regularly used both in England and in India, in defence of every abuse for which no other plea can be set up.

I hold this lakh of rupees to be quite at the disposal of the Governor-General in Council for the purpose of promoting learning in India in any way which may be thought most advisable. I hold his Lordship to be quite as free to direct that it shall no longer be employed in encouraging Arabic and Sanscrit, as he is to direct that the reward for killing tigers in Mysore shall be diminished, or that no more public money shall be expended on the chaunting at the cathedral.

We now come to the gist of the matter. We have a fund to be employed as Government shall direct for the intellectual improvement of the people of this country. The simple question is, what is the most useful way of employing it?

All parties seem to be agreed on one point, that the dialects commonly spoken among the natives of this part of India contain neither literary nor scientific information, and are moreover so poor and rude that, until they are enriched from some other quarter, it will not be easy to translate any valuable work into them.  It seems to be admitted on all sides, that the intellectual improvement of those classes of the people who have the means of pursuing higher studies can at present be affected only by means of some language not vernacular amongst them.

What then shall that language be? One-half of the committee maintain that it should be the English. The other half strongly recommend the Arabic and Sanscrit. The whole question seems to me to be-- which language is the best worth knowing?

I have no knowledge of either Sanscrit or Arabic. But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. I have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and Sanscrit works. I have conversed, both here and at home, with men distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern tongues. I am quite ready to take the oriental learning at the valuation of the orientalists themselves. I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is indeed fully admitted by those members of the committee who support the oriental plan of education.

It will hardly be disputed, I suppose, that the department of literature in which the Eastern writers stand highest is poetry. And I certainly never met with any orientalist who ventured to maintain that the Arabic and Sanscrit poetry could be compared to that of the great European nations. But when we pass from works of imagination to works in which facts are recorded and general principles investigated, the superiority of the Europeans becomes absolutely immeasurable. It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England. In every branch of physical or moral philosophy, the relative position of the two nations is nearly the same.

How then stands the case? We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother-tongue. We must teach them some foreign language. The claims of our own language it is hardly necessary to recapitulate. It stands pre-eminent even among the languages of the West. It abounds with works of imagination not inferior to the noblest which Greece has bequeathed to us, --with models of every species of eloquence, --with historical composition, which, considered merely as narratives, have seldom been surpassed, and which, considered as vehicles of ethical and political instruction, have never been equaled-- with just and lively representations of human life and human nature, --with the most profound speculations on metaphysics, morals, government, jurisprudence, trade, --with full and correct information respecting every experimental science which tends to preserve the health, to increase the comfort, or to expand the intellect of man. Whoever knows that language has ready access to all the vast intellectual wealth which all the wisest nations of the earth have created and hoarded in the course of ninety generations. It may safely be said that the literature now extant in that language is of greater value than all the literature which three hundred years ago was extant in all the languages of the world together. Nor is this all. In India, English is the language spoken by the ruling class. It is spoken by the higher class of natives at the seats of Government. It is likely to become the language of commerce throughout the seas of the East. It is the language of two great European communities which are rising, the one in the south of Africa, the other in Australia, --communities which are every year becoming more important and more closely connected with our Indian empire. Whether we look at the intrinsic value of our literature, or at the particular situation of this country, we shall see the strongest reason to think that, of all foreign tongues, the English tongue is that which would be the most useful to our native subjects.

The question now before us is simply whether, when it is in our power to teach this language, we shall teach languages in which, by universal confession, there are no books on any subject which deserve to be compared to our own, whether, when we can teach European science, we shall teach systems which, by universal confession, wherever they differ from those of Europe differ for the worse, and whether, when we can patronize sound philosophy and true history, we shall countenance, at the public expense, medical doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier, astronomy which would move laughter in girls at an English boarding school, history abounding with kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty thousand years long, and geography made of seas of treacle and seas of butter.

We are not without experience to guide us. History furnishes several analogous cases, and they all teach the same lesson. There are, in modern times, to go no further, two memorable instances of a great impulse given to the mind of a whole society, of prejudices overthrown, of knowledge diffused, of taste purified, of arts and sciences planted in countries which had recently been ignorant and barbarous.

The first instance to which I refer is the great revival of letters among the Western nations at the close of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century. At that time almost everything that was worth reading was contained in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Had our ancestors acted as the Committee of Public Instruction has hitherto noted, had they neglected the language of Thucydides and Plato, and the language of Cicero and Tacitus, had they confined their attention to the old dialects of our own island, had they printed nothing and taught nothing at the universities but chronicles in Anglo-Saxon and romances in Norman French, --would England ever have been what she now is? What the Greek and Latin were to the contemporaries of More and Ascham, our tongue is to the people of India. The literature of England is now more valuable than that of classical antiquity. I doubt whether the Sanscrit literature be as valuable as that of our Saxon and Norman progenitors. In some departments-- in history for example-- I am certain that it is much less so.

Another instance may be said to be still before our eyes. Within the last hundred and twenty years, a nation which had previously been in a state as barbarous as that in which our ancestors were before the Crusades has gradually emerged from the ignorance in which it was sunk, and has taken its place among civilized communities. I speak of Russia. There is now in that country a large educated class abounding with persons fit to serve the State in the highest functions, and in nowise inferior to the most accomplished men who adorn the best circles of Paris and London. There is reason to hope that this vast empire which, in the time of our grandfathers, was probably behind the Punjab, may in the time of our grandchildren, be pressing close on France and Britain in the career of improvement. And how was this change effected? Not by flattering national prejudices; not by feeding the mind of the young Muscovite with the old women's stories which his rude fathers had believed; not by filling his head with lying legends about St. Nicholas; not by encouraging him to study the great question, whether the world was or not created on the 13th of September; not by calling him "a learned native" when he had mastered all these points of knowledge; but by teaching him those foreign languages in which the greatest mass of information had been laid up, and thus putting all that information within his reach. The languages of western Europe civilised Russia. I cannot doubt that they will do for the Hindoo what they have done for the Tartar.

And what are the arguments against that course which seems to be alike recommended by theory and by experience? It is said that we ought to secure the co-operation of the native public, and that we can do this only by teaching Sanscrit and Arabic.

I can by no means admit that, when a nation of high intellectual attainments undertakes to superintend the education of a nation comparatively ignorant, the learners are absolutely to prescribe the course which is to be taken by the teachers. It is not necessary however to say anything on this subject. For it is proved by unanswerable evidence, that we are not at present securing the co-operation of the natives. It would be bad enough to consult their intellectual taste at the expense of their intellectual health. But we are consulting neither. We are withholding from them the learning which is palatable to them. We are forcing on them the mock learning which they nauseate.

This is proved by the fact that we are forced to pay our Arabic and Sanscrit students while those who learn English are willing to pay us. All the declamations in the world about the love and reverence of the natives for their sacred dialects will never, in the mind of any impartial person, outweigh this undisputed fact, that we cannot find in all our vast empire a single student who will let us teach him those dialects, unless we will pay him.

I have now before me the accounts of the Mudrassa for one month, the month of December, 1833. The Arabic students appear to have been seventy-seven in number. All receive stipends from the public. The whole amount paid to them is above 500 rupees a month. On the other side of the account stands the following item:

 Deduct amount realized from the out-students of English for the months of May, June, and July last-- 103 rupees.

I have been told that it is merely from want of local experience that I am surprised at these phenomena, and that it is not the fashion for students in India to study at their own charges. This only confirms me in my opinions. Nothing is more certain than that it never can in any part of the world be necessary to pay men for doing what they think pleasant or profitable. India is no exception to this rule. The people of India do not require to be paid for eating rice when they are hungry, or for wearing woollen cloth in the cold season. To come nearer to the case before us: --The children who learn their letters and a little elementary arithmetic from the village schoolmaster are not paid by him. He is paid for teaching them. Why then is it necessary to pay people to learn Sanscrit and Arabic? Evidently because it is universally felt that the Sanscrit and Arabic are languages the knowledge of which does not compensate for the trouble of acquiring them. On all such subjects the state of the market is the detective test.

Other evidence is not wanting, if other evidence were required. A petition was presented last year to the committee by several ex-students of the Sanscrit College. The petitioners stated that they had studied in the college ten or twelve years, that they had made themselves acquainted with Hindoo literature and science, that they had received certificates of proficiency. And what is the fruit of all this? "Notwithstanding such testimonials," they say, "we have but little prospect of bettering our condition without the kind assistance of your honourable committee, the indifference with which we are generally looked upon by our countrymen leaving no hope of encouragement and assistance from them." They therefore beg that they may be recommended to the Governor-General for places under the Government-- not places of high dignity or emolument, but such as may just enable them to exist. "We want means," they say, "for a decent living, and for our progressive improvement, which, however, we cannot obtain without the assistance of Government, by whom we have been educated and maintained from childhood." They conclude by representing very pathetically that they are sure that it was never the intention of Government, after behaving so liberally to them during their education, to abandon them to destitution and neglect.

I have been used to see petitions to Government for compensation. All those petitions, even the most unreasonable of them, proceeded on the supposition that some loss had been sustained, that some wrong had been inflicted. These are surely the first petitioners who ever demanded compensation for having been educated gratis, for having been supported by the public during twelve years, and then sent forth into the world well furnished with literature and science. They represent their education as an injury which gives them a claim on the Government for redress, as an injury for which the stipends paid to them during the infliction were a very inadequate compensation. And I doubt not that they are in the right. They have wasted the best years of life in learning what procures for them neither bread nor respect. Surely we might with advantage have saved the cost of making these persons useless and miserable. Surely, men may be brought up to be burdens to the public and objects of contempt to their neighbours at a somewhat smaller charge to the State. But such is our policy. We do not even stand neuter in the contest between truth and falsehood. We are not content to leave the natives to the influence of their own hereditary prejudices. To the natural difficulties which obstruct the progress of sound science in the East, we add great difficulties of our own making. Bounties and premiums, such as ought not to be given even for the propagation of truth, we lavish on false texts and false philosophy.

By acting thus we create the very evil which we fear. We are making that opposition which we do not find. What we spend on the Arabic and Sanscrit Colleges is not merely a dead loss to the cause of truth. It is bounty-money paid to raise up champions of error. It goes to form a nest not merely of helpless placehunters but of bigots prompted alike by passion and by interest to raise a cry against every useful scheme of education. If there should be any opposition among the natives to the change which I recommend, that opposition will be the effect of our own system. It will be headed by persons supported by our stipends and trained in our colleges. The longer we persevere in our present course, the more formidable will that opposition be. It will be every year reinforced by recruits whom we are paying. From the native society, left to itself, we have no difficulties to apprehend. All the murmuring will come from that oriental interest which we have, by artificial means, called into being and nursed into strength.

There is yet another fact which is alone sufficient to prove that the feeling of the native public, when left to itself, is not such as the supporters of the old system represent it to be. The committee have thought fit to lay out above a lakh of rupees in printing Arabic and Sanscrit books. Those books find no purchasers. It is very rarely that a single copy is disposed of. Twenty-three thousand volumes, most of them folios and quartos, fill the libraries or rather the lumber-rooms of this body. The committee contrive to get rid of some portion of their vast stock of oriental literature by giving books away. But they cannot give so fast as they print. About twenty thousand rupees a year are spent in adding fresh masses of waste paper to a hoard which, one should think, is already sufficiently ample. During the last three years about sixty thousand rupees have been expended in this manner. The sale of Arabic and Sanscrit books during those three years has not yielded quite one thousand rupees. In the meantime, the School Book Society is selling seven or eight thousand English volumes every year, and not only pays the expenses of printing but realizes a profit of twenty per cent. on its outlay.

The fact that the Hindoo law is to be learned chiefly from Sanscrit books, and the Mahometan law from Arabic books, has been much insisted on, but seems not to bear at all on the question. We are commanded by Parliament to ascertain and digest the laws of India. The assistance of a Law Commission has been given to us for that purpose. As soon as the Code is promulgated the Shasters and the Hedaya will be useless to a moonsiff or a Sudder Ameen. I hope and trust that, before the boys who are now entering at the Mudrassa and the Sanscrit College have completed their studies, this great work will be finished. It would be manifestly absurd to educate the rising generation with a view to a state of things which we mean to alter before they reach manhood.

But there is yet another argument which seems even more untenable. It is said that the Sanscrit and the Arabic are the languages in which the sacred books of a hundred millions of people are written, and that they are on that account entitled to peculiar encouragement. Assuredly it is the duty of the British Government in India to be not only tolerant but neutral on all religious questions. But to encourage the study of a literature, admitted to be of small intrinsic value, only because that literature inculcated the most serious errors on the most important subjects, is a course hardly reconcilable with reason, with morality, or even with that very neutrality which ought, as we all agree, to be sacredly preserved. It is confined that a language is barren of useful knowledge. We are to teach it because it is fruitful of monstrous superstitions. We are to teach false history, false astronomy, false medicine, because we find them in company with a false religion. We abstain, and I trust shall always abstain, from giving any public encouragement to those who are engaged in the work of converting the natives to Christianity. And while we act thus, can we reasonably or decently bribe men, out of the revenues of the State, to waste their youth in learning how they are to purify themselves after touching an ass or what texts of the Vedas they are to repeat to expiate the crime of killing a goat?

It is taken for granted by the advocates of oriental learning that no native of this country can possibly attain more than a mere smattering of English. They do not attempt to prove this. But they perpetually insinuate it. They designate the education which their opponents recommend as a mere spelling-book education. They assume it as undeniable that the question is between a profound knowledge of Hindoo and Arabian literature and science on the one side, and superficial knowledge of the rudiments of English on the other. This is not merely an assumption, but an assumption contrary to all reason and experience. We know that foreigners of all nations do learn our language sufficiently to have access to all the most abstruse knowledge which it contains sufficiently to relish even the more delicate graces of our most idiomatic writers. There are in this very town natives who are quite competent to discuss political or scientific questions with fluency and precision in the English language. I have heard the very question on which I am now writing discussed by native gentlemen with a liberality and an intelligence which would do credit to any member of the Committee of Public Instruction. Indeed it is unusual to find, even in the literary circles of the Continent, any foreigner who can express himself in English with so much facility and correctness as we find in many Hindoos. Nobody, I suppose, will contend that English is so difficult to a Hindoo as Greek to an Englishman. Yet an intelligent English youth, in a much smaller number of years than our unfortunate pupils pass at the Sanscrit College, becomes able to read, to enjoy, and even to imitate not unhappily the compositions of the best Greek authors. Less than half the time which enables an English youth to read Herodotus and Sophocles ought to enable a Hindoo to read Hume and Milton.

To sum up what I have said. I think it clear that we are not fettered by the Act of Parliament of 1813, that we are not fettered by any pledge expressed or implied, that we are free to employ our funds as we choose, that we ought to employ them in teaching what is best worth knowing, that English is better worth knowing than Sanscrit or Arabic, that the natives are desirous to be taught English, and are not desirous to be taught Sanscrit or Arabic, that neither as the languages of law nor as the languages of religion have the Sanscrit and Arabic any peculiar claim to our encouragement, that it is possible to make natives of this country thoroughly good English scholars, and that to this end our efforts ought to be directed.

In one point I fully agree with the gentlemen to whose general views I am opposed. I feel with them that it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern,  --a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.

I would strictly respect all existing interests. I would deal even generously with all individuals who have had fair reason to expect a pecuniary provision. But I would strike at the root of the bad system which has hitherto been fostered by us. I would at once stop the printing of Arabic and Sanscrit books. I would abolish the Mudrassa and the Sanscrit College at Calcutta. Benares is the great seat of Brahminical learning; Delhi of Arabic learning. If we retain the Sanscrit College at Bonares and the Mahometan College at Delhi we do enough and much more than enough in my opinion, for the Eastern languages. If the Benares and Delhi Colleges should be retained, I would at least recommend that no stipends shall be given to any students who may hereafter repair thither, but that the people shall be left to make their own choice between the rival systems of education without being bribed by us to learn what they have no desire to know. The funds which would thus be placed at our disposal would enable us to give larger encouragement to the Hindoo College at Calcutta, and establish in the principal cities throughout the Presidencies of Fort William and Agra schools in which the English language might be well and thoroughly taught.

If the decision of His Lordship in Council should be such as I anticipate, I shall enter on the performance of my duties with the greatest zeal and alacrity. If, on the other hand, it be the opinion of the Government that the present system ought to remain unchanged, I beg that I may be permitted to retire from the chair of the Committee. I feel that I could not be of the smallest use there. I feel also that I should be lending my countenance to what I firmly believe to be a mere delusion. I believe that the present system tends not to accelerate the progress of truth but to delay the natural death of expiring errors. I conceive that we have at present no right to the respectable name of a Board of Public Instruction. We are a Board for wasting the public money, for printing books which are of less value than the paper on which they are printed was while it was blank-- for giving artificial encouragement to absurd history, absurd metaphysics, absurd physics, absurd theology-- for raising up a breed of scholars who find their scholarship an incumbrance and blemish, who live on the public while they are receiving their education, and whose education is so utterly useless to them that, when they have received it, they must either starve or live on the public all the rest of their lives. Entertaining these opinions, I am naturally desirous to decline all share in the responsibility of a body which, unless it alters its whole mode of proceedings, I must consider, not merely as useless, but as positively noxious.

     T[homas] B[abington] MACAULAY
     2nd February 1835.
     I give my entire concurrence to the sentiments expressed in this Minute.
     W[illiam] C[avendish] BENTINCK. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

All Posts

A Fine Balance A House for Mr. Biswas Absurd Drama Achebe Across the Black Waters Addison Adiga African Ages Albee Alberuni Ambedkar American Amrita Pritam Anand Anatomy of Criticism Anglo Norman Anglo Saxon Aristotle Ariyar Arnold Ars Poetica Auden Augustan Aurobindo Ghosh Backett Bacon Badiou Bardsley Barthes Baudelaire Beckeley Bejnamin Belinda Webb Bellow Beowulf Bhabha Bharatmuni Bhatnagar Bijay Kant Dubey Blake Bloomsbury Book Bookchin Booker Prize bowen Braine British Brooks Browne Browning Buck Burke CA Duffy Camus Canada Chaos Characters Charlotte Bronte Chaucer Chaucer Age China Chomsky Coetzee Coleridge Conard Contact Cornelia Sorabji Critical Essays Critics and Books Cultural Materialism Culture Dalit Lliterature Daruwalla Darwin Dattani Death of the Author Deconstruction Deridda Derrida Desai Desani Dickens Dilip Chitre Doctorow Donne Dostoevsky Dryden EB Browning Ecology Edmund Wilson Eliot Elizabethan Ellison Emile Emily Bronte English Epitaph essats Essays Esslin Ethics Eugene Ionesco Existentialism Ezekiel Faiz Fanon Farrel Faulkner Feminism Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness Ferber Fitzgerald Foregrounding Formalist Approach Forster Foucault Frankfurt School French Freud Frost Frye Fyre Gandhi Gender German Germany Ghosh Gilbert Adair Golding Gordimer Greek Gulliver’s Travels Gunjar Halliday Hard Times Hardy Hawthorne Hemingway Heyse Hindi Literature Historical Materialism History Homer Horace Hunt Huxley Ibsen In Memoriam India Indian. Gadar Indra Sinha Interview Ireland Irish Jack London Jane Eyre Japan JM Synge Johnson Joyce Joyce on Criticism Jumpa Lahiri Jussawalla Kafka Kalam Kalidasa Kamla Das Karnard Keats Kipling Langston Hughes Language Language of Paradox Larkin Le Clezio Lenin Lessing Levine Life of PI literary Criticism Luckas Lucretius Lyrical Ballads Macaulay Magazines Mahapatra Mahima Nanda Malory Mandeville Manto Manusmrti Mao Marlowe Martel Martin Amis Marx Marxism Mary Shelley Maugham McCarry Medi Media Miller Milton Moby Dick Modern Mona Loy Morrison Movies Mulk Raj Anand Mytth of Sisyphus Nabokov Nahal Naipaul Narayan Natyashastra Neo-Liberalism NET New Criticism new historicism News Nietzsche Nikita Lalwani Niyati Pathak Niyati Pathank Nobel Prize O Henry Of Studies Ondaatje Orientalism Orwell Pakistan Pamela Paradise Lost Pater Pinter Poems Poetics Poets Pope Post Feminism Post Modern Post Structuralism post-Colonialism Poststructuralism Preface to Shakespeare Present Prize Psycho Analysis Psychology and Form Publish Pulitzer Prize Puritan PWA Radio Ramayana Rape of the Lock Renaissance Restoration Revival Richardson Rime of Ancient Mariner RL Stevenson Rohinton Mistry Romantic Roth Rousseau Rushdie Russia Russian Formalism Sartre Sashi Despandey Satan Sati Savitri Seamus Heaney’ Shakespeare Shaw Shelley Shiv K.Kumar Showalter Sibte Hasan Slavery Slow Man Socialism Spender Spenser Sri Lanka Stage of Development Steinbeck Stories Subaltern Sufis Surrealism Swift Tagore Tamil Literature Ted Hughes Tennyson Tennyson. Victorian Terms Tess of the D’Urbervilles The March The Metamorphsis The Order of Discourse The Outsider The Playboy of the Western World The Politics The Satanic Verses The Scarlet Letter The Transitional Poets The Waste Land The Work of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction The Wuthering Heights Theatre of Absurd Theory Theory of Criticism Theory of Evolution Theory of Literature Thomas McEvilley Thoreau To the Lighthouse Tolstoy Touchstone Method Tughlaq Tulsi Badrinath Twain Two Uses of Language UGC-NET Ulysses Untouchable Urdu Victorian Vijay Tendulkar Vikram Seth Vivekananda Voltaire Voyage To Modernity Walter Tevis Webster Wellek West Indies Wharton Williams WJ Long Woolfe Wordsworth World Wars Writers WW-I WW-II Wycliff Xingjian Yeats Zadie Smith Zaheer Zizek Zoe Haller