COMPARATIVE LITERATURE: THEORY AND PRACTICE
MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment Jan 2022
Q. 1. Comparative Literature cannot be understood without reference to world literatures. Do you agree? Elaborate.
Ans.The Theory of “World Literature” or “Weltliterature“
The idea of “world literature” or “Weltliterater Welt” in German means the world” and “literatur” is “literature”) emerged in Germany. William Jones, an official of the East India Company in Calcutta, translated Kalidasa into English.
German Romantic poet Goethe was also impressed after reading the translation of Kalidasa’s Abhijanashakuntalam.
Philosopher Schlegel also came under the spell of Sanskrit literature. Goethe and Schlegel noted that something unites literary works from other languages and from other parts of the world and that there could be and there should be an ideal world literature.
In Europe, each nation believed that its cultural pinnacle is represented by its literature.
Each country felt that its over national literature is unique and superior in some way or the other to other national literatures, either in terms of its own antiquity or in terms of its own literary geniuses.
The French could not bring themselves to accept that an English writer could be superior to the French literary heritage. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
The Germans preferred to praise Shakespeare as a genius instead of acknowledging French literature as the epitome of perfection.
There are different strands in this idea of “World Literature”. First is the Romantic Movement and its impact on writers and culture historians.
Second is the accidental discovery of Sanskrit literature by some of the Englishmen working in India.
Third is the German writers were impressed by Sanskrit literature, especially Kalidasa. The fourth element is the national rivalry. All these elements give rise to the idea and theory of “World Literature”.
Theories of Comparative Literature
Europeans felt that they needed to study other national literatures in Europe to make better sense of their own literature. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
The notion of national literature arises from the political development of the emergence of the nation-state in Europe from the 15th and 16th centuries onwards in Europe.
This also coincided and was sometimes preceded by the cultural development when Europeans in different parts identified themselves as English, French, German and Italian and used their own languages for creative and other purposes, replacing the cosmopolitan Latin which prevailed across Europe in scholarly circles.
The Roman Catholic Church also used Latin as the language of the Bible and of the church services. When Martin Luther led the Protestant revolt against the Roman Catholic Church, he revolted against Latin.
Luther translated the Bible into German to make it accessible to common people. So, nation, language literature and culture become identified with each other and this was the root of the comparative literature in Europe.
There were some common dominant ideas. One of them was the Romantic Movement and the ideas of universalism it inspired. In simple Comparative Literature terms, study the novels of a British, French, Germar or Russian author is sufficient.
However, while doing a theory of comparative literature, it is important to identify a comm3 thread in the works themselves and the ideas.MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Comparing Shakespearean tragedy with that of the French playwrights of the classical period of the 17th century, which is to be found in the plays of Corneille or Racine, is the simplest form.
The more general comparison between Greek tragedy and Shakespearean tragedy has been made. Discussing the idea of tragedy as conceived by the Greeks. This is to be inferred in the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.
Finding out the constituents of a modern European tragedy as seen in the plays of Henrik Ibsen is another aspect.
The study of novels across national literatures in Europe, both in terms of technique as well as the view of life expressed through the works, was also covered.
On the poetics of Dostoevsky’s novels, Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin makes an observation on the technique that Dostoevsky has used in his novels.
Bakhtin says: “A plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousnesses, a genuine polyphony of fully valid voices is in fact the chief characteristic of Dostoevsky’s novels.” He says: “Dostoevsky is the creator of the polyphonic novel.
He created a fundamentally new novelistic genre. Therefore, hi work does not fit any of the pre-conceived frameworks or historic-literary schemes that we usually apply to various species the European novel.”MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Bakhtin studies the Dostoevskian novel in the context of the European novell He notes that a Dostoevskian novel is not like a Gustav Flaubert novel in France.
He speaks of the novel in general.
He talks about the technique, but he implies that Dostoevsky uses what he calls the Polyphonie Novel to reflect the complex reality where many characters with their own consciousness exist along with the consciousness of the author.
He could not have pinpointed the peculiarity of Dostoevskian novel without the European novel in mind, and without an idea of the theory of the novel
Bakhtin’s idea of the “Polyphonic Novel’ is an indirect contribution to the theory of the novel. This is possible only in 2 comparative literature context.
Bakhtin’s view is only one of the many views about Dostoevsky and about the novel and th. there are other views to be considered.
It is possible to discuss different theories of novel arising from different national literatures and it becomes an exercise in the theory of comparative literature.
A theory of comparative literature could involve the discussion of the theory of tragedy, the theory of the novel and leads to an elaboration of the historical and cultural contexts of tragic drama in classical Greece, in Elizabethan England and in modern Europe, and the social and literary background to the theory and practice of the novel.
The theory of comparative literature thus arises from the study of plays and novels and poems from different countries and periods. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
The recent theories of post-colonialism, multi-culturalism, liberalisation and globalization emerged in the context of the theory of comparative literature.
After the Asian and African countries became politically independent, they continued with the literary modernism and it forms developed during the European colonial rule.
The European comparative literature practitioners could not leave out the former colonies in their literary discussions since some of these colonised people were writing in the language of the colonisers and others were using the literary forms of the colonisers in their own languages.
The Europeans brought the former colonised peoples’ modern literatures into the circle of study and debate felt to make their own literary discussion or discourse richer.
In post-colonial studies, one of the issues was the terms of relationship between the former colonisers and the former colonised and the debate took place mostly in the western universities and many of the dominant scholars were from the West.
Over a period of time, the equation changed when scholars from Asia and Africa debated post-colonial comparative literature and showed how the former colonised people subverted the literary forms and expressions of the former colonisers.
During the colonial period, literature was used by the people of the colonised countries as a political weapon to fight the coloniser. The colonised people used literature and culture as parts of the freedom struggle. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Two other trends borrowed from European political and cultural trends also emerged. The first was Marxism and the second, feminism.
Besides taking pride in the nation, literature was also to be used to voice the agonies and aspirations of the oppressed classes and this was represented by the Marxist trend in literature.
One of the ways to become modern was also to enable women to come out and join the work force and the political fight for freedom.
This gave rise to literature with strong women characters, but this did not give the feminism label until the 1970s when the feminist movement picked up momentum in the West.
Marxism and feminism could easily become parts of comparative literature and its theory because the phenomenon of the oppressed sections of a society, including women could be studied across national literatures of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Post-colonialism studies could not have lasted too long because Asian and African countries moved away from their colonial experiences and a few decades into their own independent existence, they had to face other kinds of the literary ang cultural challenges, which did not have the Western reference point.
Multi-culturalism : MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Multi-culturalism emerged after the Westerners, that is Europeans and north Americans, faced with a significant chunk of immigrants from other countries and these immigrants brought with them their own cultural histories.
Multi-culturalism brought a new perspective in comparative literature.
One of the basic ideas of multi-culturalism has been that all cultural traditions, including literary, were treated on an equal footing, and there was no hierarchy about the value of each tradition.
The texts of other cultural traditions were read on their own terms. The theory of multi-culturalism made the case for cultural pluralism in a democratic society.
This phenomenon and a theory on this were confined to the United States and to a certain extent to Britain.
Liberalisation means allowing foreign investors, manufacturers and traders into a country and removing the barriers that obstructed such exchanges.
It also refers to allowing things from outside the country in the cultural sphere. For instance, Western popular music influencing young people and their music and musical tastes in Asian and African countries. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Liberalisation has also happened in literature. For example, Hindi writer Nirmal Varma’s novels and short stories have a distinct European flavour and tone which came from the personal experience of the writer and he used it effectively in his writing.
Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami, has used Western trends and tastes and techniques.
Critics say allowing foreign manufacturers and traders into the country lead to economic slavery and it poses a danger the culture of the country.
Some of the culture critics in Asian and African countries want to preserve and protect the country’s cultural forms even as they accept the point that foreign investors and manufacturers add to the economic wealth of the country.
Comparative Literature takes a conservative turn where it is argued that different literary traditions are in danger of being swept away by the economic liberalisation and liberalization should be opposed.
In the context of liberalisation, the focus should be on keeping the many literary traditions alive, each with its own identity.
Globalisation : MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Liberalisation leads to globalisation. In compara-tive literature, globalisation makes comparative study irrelevant. Paul Jay talks about the complications in literary studies, including comparative literature due to globalisation.
He says that English literature, particularly the novel, has been produced by an increasingly transnational, multi-cultural group of writers, working in disparate parts of the world.
They explore the intersecting effects of colonialism, decolonisation, migration, economic and cultural globalisation.
The settings are metropolitan West or involves characters whose experience shifts back and forth between the Western metropole and the formerly colonised countries from which their families came.
Examples are the Booker-prize winning The Inheritance of Loss and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Interpreter of Maladies among other writings.
Post-colonialism then takes the “transnational turn” but it does not abandon the national identity issue, and therefore of national literature.
In the two Indian novels mentioned above, it is clear that though written in English, they are works ‘translation’ at a deeper psychic and cultural levels Of course, this is not an entirely unprecedented happening. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Joseph Conral writing is peopled by characters from different countries floating in a metropolitan world. This is to be clearly seen in his novels Under Western Eyes and in Nostromo, and in his novella, The Heart of Darkness.
The Theory of Comparative Literature faces the challenge of grappling with globalisation and what it means for literatures produced in different languages.
Do they display the homogenisation that is supposed to be the evil consequence of globalisation? Or do they retain their distinct identities while dealing with it?
In a theoretical sense, translation is an integral part of Comparative Literature, which implies studies of texts from two or more different languages.
Translation means if one is a polyglot and is conversant with the two or three languages of the texts she/he is dealing with, practice, the different texts are being spoken of or written about only in one of the languages. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
For example, if you know Marathi and Hindi and discussing a Marathi poem in Hindi or a Hindi short story in Marathi, you are engaged in a translation activity.
In translation, the ideas and emotions, and the texture of the language are discussed in a language other than that of the text in question. In Comparative Literature, the relationship between languages are discussed.
There might be similarities between languages but there are no exact mathematical equivalents between two languages!
Translation is not confined to works of literature in two languages, it also holds good for a novel that is made into a film, even if both are in the same language. The verbalisation that is the basis of a novel has to be translated into images in a film.
Q. 2. In what ways do cultural studies intersect with the study of literature?
Ans. The term culture is derived from the Latin word colere which means to inhabit, cultivate, protect, honor with worship.
The Latin word cultura relates to husbandry or the tending of natural growth. From the 16th century to 19th century, the usage of the term was extended from the tending of natural growth to the process of human development.
Bacon: “The culture and manurance of minds’ (1605); Hobbes: A culture of their minds’ (1651); Johnson: ‘She neglected the culture of her understanding (1759) refer to the concept.
In the late 18th century, the word ‘culture was used as an independent noun, an abstract process or the product of such a process.MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
By the middle of the 18th century, the term was used as a synonym for ‘civilization’. To be ‘cultured’ or ‘civilized’ meant being genteel and well-mannered; having the ability to appreciate the finer things of life like art, music, literature, etc.
The term is frequently used in this sense today. The growth of industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe led to mechanization and material advancement and the development of abstract rationality.
Romantic writers like Wordsworth were voiced against these developments and sought a more organic and empathetic relationship between human beings and Nature.
Material or mechanical development thus came to be tagged with the category of civilization whereas culture’ symbolized spiritual, intellectual and aesthetic development of an individual or community.
German philosopher Herder added that we must speak of “cultures” instead of “culture”. Cultures refers to whole ways of life of particular groups.
From this emerged the anthropological understanding of culture and the terms like ‘tribal culture ‘Indian culture’ or ‘folk culture’. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Raymond Williams states that the 19th century idea of culture as a process of mental and spiritual cultivation gave it a special association with intellectual work and the arts.
Thus, when we say “culture” the general association that comes to mind is that of literary works, painting, sculpture and music of a particular society or community.
However, for sociologists and anthropologists, cultures has a much broader meaning as the way of life of a community.
According to Anthropologist Ralph Linton, culture is the total way of life of society and not just those aspects which the society regards as ‘higher or more desirable.
Great writers like Browning or Kalidasa present the elements of the larger who 6 or totality of culture in their works. This totality includes all human activities. For the social scientist, every society has culture.
There is no such thing as an uncultured person or society. There are many definition of culture. Kroeber and Kluckhonh identified 162 different formal definitions.
However, a common view is that culture is learned and it enables humans to adapt themselves to their natural and social settings; that it is greatly variable and that it is manifested in institutions, thought patterns and material objects and artifacts.
Anthropologists say culture as the way of life of a people, while society as an organized and interacting aggregate of individuals who follow a given way of life.
Society implies relationships and groupings while culture implies ways of acting and living. Herskovits says “A society is composed of people; the way they behave is their culture”.
Culture is a very porous an politically loaded concept because there are some cultures and societies that cut across national boundaries. For examp…
Bangla and Punjabi society and culture that cut across national boundaries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
British anthropologist E.B.Taylor says culture “Is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom and any other capabilities acquired by man as a member of society”.
Culture has material and non-material dimensions. Material culture means houses, tools, musical instruments, etc, while non-material culture means learned behaviour and ideas, including values, beliefs, attitudes and ideals, that are the attributes of a particular social group.
Material and non-material dimensions are linked. Take the example of a hand-woven silk sari. There is an entire system of values underlying its production. The production of a material artifact is steeped in complex layers of culture and polities.
In urbanized societies, people are giving priority to physical fitness and slimness. They have abundant of food choices and using technologies for ‘fitness’.
In a society where food is scarce, diets and fitness are irrelevant.
Archaeologists and cultural anthropologists focus much on the material dimension of culture, while historians and scholars of cultural studies focus “Symbolic and signifying systems” and the process of production of cultural products rather than the products themselves. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Material and symbolic production must always be related.
Taylor’s definition of culture includes every human capability. American anthropologist Clifford Geertz suggested that culture should be viewed as shared meanings expressed through public communication.
People share a common worldview and a common framework of values and meanings, though they have different knowledge and skills.
In this sense, culture shapes our understandings of what is valuable, desirable and undesirable and regulates our behaviour and our interactions.
British scholar Stuart Hall says culture is “Shared conceptual maps, shared language systems and the codes which govern the relationship translation between them”.
Therefore, culture is socially learnt and transmitted and provides the mechanism through which human needs are satisfied.
Culture prescribes certain norms or standards of behaviour which members of the society are expected to follow and each culture has its own distinctive beliefs, practices and ways of life that are passed down from generation to generation.
Culture is also not a static phenomenon and adapts and changes as per the changes in the environment. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Culture changes over time. The changes may be due to the changes in the external environment or in the social environment. The colonial expansion of Western societies led to dramatic changes in different parts of the world.
In India, the British rule led to changes in systems of land tenure, agriculture, administrative and economic arrangements, education, law, political systems to name but a few.
Q. 5. How do the centre’ and ‘periphery’ work in terms of interpretation of texts and themes? Illustrate.
Ans. The centre-periphery model implies how an empire must organize and administer its economy over the length and breadth of its expanse to hold itself together as a powerful entity.
The model of representing the central parts or “heart-land” of an imperial domain and other relatively less important areas appears to be as old as civilization.
The centre-periphery relation works only as long as it is maintained by force. New centres and newer peripheries could come into existence from time-to-time.
The centre gets its surplus from its built-in inequality with the periphery, while the periphery, which must have eterna. deficit, remains periphery in relation to the centre.
They mutually regulate each other and reproduce their respective conditions of centrality and peripheral dependency. This condition of dynamic but unequal exchange is the precise pre-condition for imperialism to develop.MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
This concept can be used to understand literary texts. For example, we can understand W. B. Yeats’ poem A Second Coming with this model. In 1958, Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe uses lines from the poem A Second Coming as epigraph to his novir Things Fall Apart.
The Central Periphery Model and Imperialism :
The centre-periphery relation is a map of how an empire must organize and administer its economy over the length and breadth of its expanse to hold itself together as a powerful entity.
The model made of marking bt representing the central patis heartland of an imperial domain and other relatively less important areas appears to be as old as civilization.
The center-periphery relation works only as long as it is maintained by force. New centres and newer peripheries could come into existence from time-to-time
The centre gets its surplus from its built-in inequality with the periphery, while the periphery, which must have eternal deficit, remains periphery in relation to the centre.
They mutually regulate each other and reproduce their respective conditions of centrality and peripheral dependency. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
This condition of dynamic but unequal exchange is the precise pre-condition for imperialism to develop As compared to ancient empires and regimes, modern imperialistic systems of core-periphery relation are more consistent and much more efficient in the present context.
This concept is also used by economists who study the inequalities of development within or across nations. It is an important matrix in the context of the Third World’.
In A Dictionary of Sociology, the centre-periphery model suggests that the global economy is characterized by a structur relationship between economic centres which, by using military, political, and trade power, extract an economic surplus from the subordinate peripheral countries.
Imperialism has thus evolved through several modes of domination, normally parallel and simultaneous. It depends on the type of exchange between the centre and the periphery nations, but always geared to profit the centre:
(5. Cultural MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
The centre reinforces and endorses the necessary hierarchy. The core dominates the periphery’s own image, its racial or ethnic identity and culture.
European capitalism has invested since the 16th century. The world has the Centre and Periphery nations, and each nation, in turn has its own) centres and periphery.
Q. 7. Explain how magical realism compels the reader to believe in the incidents narrated.
Ans. Magical Realism and Other Experimental Genres-Magical realism seems to encroach on other genres and terms like allegory, realism, surrealism and the fantastic. Magic
In magic realist painting, ‘magic’ is the mystery of life. In magical realist writing, magic is extraordinary occurrences, particularly anything spiritual or unaccountable by science such as ghosts, disappearances, miracles, extraordinary talents and strange atmosphere.
As a narrative mode, magical realism depicts such magical occurrences in a realistic narrative.
Aristotle defines realism in art as mimesis-art as an imitation of life. The novel particularly attempts to represent il realistically as Henry James said it. However, in the 20th century theories, realism in literature sees it not as mimesis.
It is the reader who constructs reality out of the text, and it is not the text that reflects the author’s depiction of reality. Catherine Belsey states realism is plausible not because it reflects the world, but because it is developed out of what is discursively familiar.
It is this interpretation of realism that is relevant to magical realism that relies on the presentation of magical or imagined elements as if they were real.
The narrative is constructed in such a way as to provide a realistic context to the magical events. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Surrealism is the depiction of familiar objects that are distorted or placed out of context to express a nonphysical aspect of life. This has a similarity with magical realism that is the creation of a narrative in which magic is incorporated seamlessly into reality.
Surrealism deals with the imagination and tre mind. exploring the inner life or psychology of humans through art, whereas, the magical in magical realism is rarely presented as a dream or a psychological experience.
Besides, surrealism is an artistic movement with a manifesto written by the French writer and most famous literary surrealist André Breton in 1924, titled The Surrealist Manifesto in which he defines Surrealism as a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in “An absolute reality, a surreality.”
Amaryll Chanady differentiates the two that the irrational in magical realism represents the primitive American mentalities while in Surrealism it corresponds to European superstitions.
Magic realism is based on an ordered, even if irrational, perspective, but surrealism includes artificial combinations,
The Fantastic : MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Tzvetan Todorov defines fantastic literature as a piece of narrative in which there is a constant faltering between belief a non-belief in the supernatural or extraordinary event. Fantastic thus is associated with Magical realism.
Neil Cornwell’s 1998 study The Literary Fantastic: From Gothic to Postmodernism examines Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children as examples of the genre of the fantastic.
The baby ghost in Beloved and events like magic spells in Midnight’s Children are extraordinary events in a realist tale.
However, a magical realistic interpretation sees these events as ordinary events presented by the narrator in a realistic narrative.
Unlike the fantastic, the supernatural in magical realism does not disconcert the reader, and this is the fundamental difference between the two modes.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is the story about a travelling salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a huge bug.
It also talks about the shock and disgust of his family, his struggles to cope with this new form, his deterioration and finally his death. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
No explanation is given for the transformation. His tragic killing by his own family is proof of the rejection of his extraordinariness.
Thus, it cannot be a magical realist narrative, which essentially makes the reader accept the improbable as real and acceptable. Kafka is not considered a magical realist writer, but his works are often seen as allegoric.
An allegorical work has at least two levels of meaning. At one level, the narrative works as a plot. At another, the plot has an alternative meaning or reference to another simultaneous structure of ideas and events.
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown. C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are examples of allegories.
The plot in such works is less important than the alternative meaning.
Like a fable, in which a story is told mainly for it moral, the autonomy of the content of the narrative is simply dismissed. This makes it difficult to incorporate allegory in magical realist writing.MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
A novel like Amitav Ghosh’s The Calcutta Chromosome which straddles as science fiction from magical realism. A science fiction has an imagined future world based on current scientific knowledge. Magic realism posits magical events as real.
Most of Rushdie’s novels, while widely acknowledged as magical realist, are also seen as allegorical. Midnight’s Childr is considered an allegory, but this does not undermine the vivid interweaving of the magical and the real in the narrative!
Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is considered as allegorical, magical realist and even as science fiction by some.
Features of Magical Realism :-
The features of magical realism as a narrative mode, recognized and collated by Zamora and Faris in their monumental work Magical Realism Theory History Community are given below:
(1) A magical realist text features an element of magic, which cannot be explained by the laws of the nature. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
These magical events cannot be explained in terms of cause and effect. Reactions to these events by ordinary people are familiar and disturbing, thus, serving as a critique of human nature.
(ii) Realism refers to the concrete descriptions of the natural or real world. In Realistic detailing, a fictional world is created and that resembles the real one.
(iii) Magical events are weaved together in a realistic narrative that creates the impression that the magic grows out of the real. It achieves a kind of defamiliarization.
(iv) It presents contradictory understandings of events and one is not sure whether to interpret it as hallucination, magic as allegory.
(v) This narrative mode is suited to explore and transgress boundaries whether political, ontological, geographical or generic.
Boundaries such as mind and body, spirit and matter, life and death, real and imaginary, self and other, male and female, fact and fiction, ordinary and magical are erased, transgressed, blurred or refashioned.
(vi) The world of the ordinary or the mundane and the world of the magical are merged suggesting a plurality of worlds.
(vii) Magical realist texts question ideas about time, space and identity mainly because of their non-linearity of the narrative, oral story-telling style, reliance on myths and folktales.
(viii) Meta-fictional dimensions, metaphors that are literalized or textualized, intertextuality, verbal magic, repetition and mirroring of events and characters and a carnivalesque spirit in the extravagance of language, characters and events are
some aspects of the narrative style that magical realism deals with.
(ix) These texts resist and subvert basic assumptions of post-enlightenment rationalism and literary realism.MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
(x) These texts also resist monologic political and cultural structures in their erasure of boundaries and thus, very useful to writers in postcolonial cultures and to women.
(xi) Magical realism is Jungian and not Freudian. It reflects collective relatednesss and not dreams or memories or visions.
Q. 8. How do re-tellings offer shifts of perspective? Ilustrate.
Ans.What Forms Do Retellings Take? The relation between forms of “telling” and forms of “retelling” is not a one-way traffic.
A lot of written texts are retellings of narratives that originally existed only in the oral form. However, written narratives can also flow back into oral forms,
Earlier grandmothers might have told us stories that they had only heard, present parents “tell” children stories that they have read, often with changes to suit the particular child’s interests and environment. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Harikatha is the most interesting and complex example of written literature retold in the oral mode, practised primarily 10 South India.
These harikathas are oral discourses on Ramayana, Mahabharata or the puranas. They are reenactments or tellings of them often containing fresh interpretations.
Re-telling may be of the entire epic in serial episodes (daily over a month or so) or may be single discourses on particular episodes (such as Sita’s marriage). A combination of speech, music or dance, these discourses draw from – and re-interpret.
various other retellings and forms of culture. For example, a harikatha on the slaying of Vali in the Tamil Ramayana of Kampan, basically delivered in Tamil, always made with recitations from the Tamil bhakt poets, will turn multilingual, with excerpts from Valmiki (Sanskrit), Tulsidas (Hindi),
the songs of Saint Tyagaraja (Telugu), Purandarasa (Kannada), Mira or Surdas (Hindi) or Namdev (Marathi) or quotations from Mahatma Gandhi or Jawaharlal Nehru (inglish) Look for example, at the forms or modes that it combines.
Numerous literary classics have been retold in various genres. Perhaps the earliest example was Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (published in 1807).
Hamlet Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a play by Tom Stoppard, 1966, later as a film with the same title, 1990, Gertrude and Claudius, a novel by John Updike, 2000),
The Tempest (a play with the same title, by Aime Cesaire, 1969), King Lear (Lear, a play by Edward Bond, 1971) have been retold.MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Many of the theatrical productions of plays by Shakespeare and others are retellings because of the new interpretations they provide and of the changes they make in plot or characterization.
In the retelling, the very settings, costumes and appearance of the characters either may recapture the original impact of the works or give a new interpretation. These retellings can also be compared. For example, the retellings of the Mahabharata can be compared.
Retellings of the Indian Epics :
Ramayana and Mahabharata are never regarded as mere literary creations or artefacts but monuments of social, cultural, religious, moral and even political significance.
A great deal of research has been undertaken in the past century to trace the origins of Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Valmiki Ramayana: Telling or Retelling?
Valmiki is regarded the Adikaviand and Valmiki Ramayana is the Adikavya. It is shown that Valmiki did not create the Rama story.
Scholars have the view that the Jataka Tales, which were in circulation between the 5th and 1st centuries B.C., might have been the source for Valmiki Ramayana, which is believed to have been composed during the 4th or 3rd century B.C.
There had been numerous Rama tales much earlier and these tales were used by the various authors of the Jataka Tales as well as by Valmiki.
Besides, there appears to have been an Adiramayana consisting of five Kandas, i.e. without the Bala and Uttara Kandas before Valmiki and it might have been the source for him.
These views are the findings of researchers over a period.
Valmiki Ramayana generally considered as the original tale was itself a retelling. Scholars also beleived that Valmiki Ramayana, MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
though believed to have been composed before the Christian era, settled into something like its present “authentic” form around the 2nd or 3rd c. A.D. but that interpolations, additions, substories, descriptions and philosophical and moralizing passages continued to be added to it till about the 10th c. A.D..
Besides, even the Sanskrit text exists in two major recensions (revised editions or texts), the Northern and the Southern, based on differences in content and style.
Retellings of Ramayana :
The Ramayana and Mahabharata stories are already there in our memory or consciousness. In his well-known essay, “Three Hundred Ramayanas”, A.K. Ramanujan points out that the Rama story is found in at least twenty two different languages with some of these languages hosting more than one telling.
“If we add plays, dance-dramas and other performances, in b the classical and folk traditions” and forms of spatial arts like paintings and sculpture, the total number may easily be hundred
In a compendious research work carried out in Tamil entitled Rama Kathaiyum Ramayanankalum (Ramayanas) A. Manavalan has listed forty eight major Ramayana books brought out in twenty two different languages (including Tibetan, old Javanese, Japanese, Malay, Burmese, Filipino Thai and Laotian).
If translations and retellings in English are added to the lists, the number will grow much larger.
A Kannada poet called Kumaravyasa chose to write a Mahabharata because he heard the cosmic serpent which upholds the earth groaning under the burden of Ramayana poet
Translations as Retellings MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
In translation, many changes, additions, omissions may happen. “Translation itself may not be the right term to describe all these Ramayanas in various Indian languages. Scholars have pointed out that while there is a long tradition of retellings in India.
The nearest Hindi terms for translation are, anuvad strictly means “speaking after” or “following” and rupantar literally denotes “change in form”.
In Tamil, mozhipeyarppu mozhimatram (“change of language”) and mozhiyakkam (“creating in another language” or “transcreation”) imply “translation”.
Two kinds of translation are: First, present-day translations into English provide extremely faithful translations, making no departures, changing nothing, but adding linguistic or cultural notes wherever necessary for ease of understanding or in cases of difficulty of interpretation.
Second, the one represented by most of the retellings in the various Indian languages, e.g. Kamparamayanam in Tamil (10th c. A.D.) or Ramcharitmanas in Hindi (16th c. A.D.)
Sujit Mukherjee calls these acquisitions in these languages and says that they “Can only loosely be described as translation because, while the basic story remained, some of it was left out and a lot of new writing done to fill it out again”. Mukherjee calls these “Translation as new writing”.
What Happens in Retellings? MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
There may be changes in the genre from the original” or from earlier (re) tellings. In this cotext, two points worth emphasizing are: First, the genre of the retelling is generally determined by literary traditions and contemporary literary fashions.
Valmiki Ramayana and Mahabharata were themselves composed in verse and it is not surprising therefore, for example, that most early translations/retellings of those epics were in verse form as verse was the major vehicle for literary creations.
The “foreign” versions like the Japanese, Tibetan and Burmese are in prose. Champu Ramayanam in Sanskrit, believed to have been composed in the 11th c. A.D. and Bhaskara Ramayanam in Telugu, created in the 13th c., used a combination of prose and verse.
One Tamil Ramayana, composed in the 16th-17th centuries, is named Takkai Ramayanam because it was created to be sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument called “takkai”.
To make the myths and epics accessible to a wider public, we find retellings came to be written in the genres of drama, the novel and the short story.
Sanskrit drama had existed from about the advent of the Christian era and the plays of Bhasa, “discovered” only in early 20th c., might have been written as early as the 1st c. B.C. Many of his plays retell episodes from Mahabharata.
Many of the perspective retellings, i.e. retellings from the point of view of particular characters from the epics, like Draupadi or Bhima, are in the novel form.
The short story helps to focus on particular episodes and often provides reinterpretations of them. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
There may be changes in the content, Most tellers have made such chnages without any explanation or apology, some justify them.
The introductory remarks of Madhava Kandali, author of the Assamese Ramayana, is quite thought-provoki He says: Poets compose their verse following the literary and cultural conventions of their times.
Therefore, some of the statements may be true and some may have been imaginatively invented.
This was not a tale told by God; it was a tale in popular vogue. Therefore, you shouldn’t fault me in my poetic endeavour in which I leave out some and add some.
The omission of the entire Uttara Kandam in many tellings of Ramayana (including Kampa, Adhyatma, Molla and Bhaskara Ramayanas) is an example.
The Yuddha Kandam ends with the coronation of Rama after his re-union with Sita and return to Ayodhya and the Uttara Kandam tells the story of Sita’s banishment and her final absorption into the earth. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
Why such a major departure was considered necessary by these poets:
One explanation is that according to literary convention, no work was to have a tragic ending; there are no tragedies in Sanskrit drama.
The other explanation is in the way the characters are conceived. Valmiki visualized Rama as an ideal man, of heroic proportions of course, but still as a human being.
In many of the retellings on the other hand including Kampan) he is presented as an avatar. The moral and emotional dilemmas that the banishment of Sita would present to Rama would not have been consistent with his projection as an incarnation.
The retellings also shift the focus on some characters who play a secondary or marginal role in earlier tellings. MEG 15 Free Solved Assignment
There may be additional descriptions, changes in the landscape, the flora and fauna of the setting in which the action takes place. In retelling, the nucleus of a myth or an epic episode or character is taken and an entirely modern narrative is created.
For example, in Shaw’s play Pygmalion, the Greek sculptor who falls in love with the statue that he sculpts, tells the story of an English professor of phonetics and his relationship with the flower-girl whom he transforms into a lady.
A popular Tamil film describes the attempt of a man to possess his brother’s wife: the title is Vali. Another film presents the tale of an abandoned child who grows up into a hero and becomes the lieutenant of a mafia chief: the hero is called Surya.
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