Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Female literary tradition

Showalter questions mainstream literary tradition of it sexist bias and establishes a new female literary tradition discovering and revealing women writers and their works. Her aim is to point to the existence of a powerful tradition of women's writing which was constantly ignored by traditional literary historians.

Showalter traces three stages in the evolution of the female literary tradition -  the feminine, the feminist and the female. The first stage (Feminine phase) dates from about 1840 to 1880 was that of imitation. During this period , women  wrote in an effort to equal the intellectual and  aesthetic achievement of male writers. They also internalized male assumptions about female nature. The distinguishing sign of this period was the use of male pseudonyms by women writers. The writings of Mary Ann Evans under the pseudonym George Eliot is an example for this period

The second (feminist) phase is extended from about 1880 to 1920. It was a period of protest. During this phase, women rejected the accommodating postures of femininity and used literature to dramatize the audience of wronged Womanhood.

The third phase (Female) has evolved since 1920 and still continues. In this stage, women have rejected both imitation and protest and turned to female experience as the source of an autonomous art. During this period women have thought about specific issues of female writing, style,literary forms and techniques.


The term ‘Gynocriticism’ is introduced by Elaine Showalter in her essay Towards a Feminist Poetics. It is a type of criticism that is concerned with woman as a writer or producer of textual meanings. It's concerned with the history, theme, genres and structures of literature by women. The subjects of gynocriticism includes psycho dynamics of  female creativity,  the problem of female language, the trajectory of female literary career, women's literary history and studies of particular women writers and their works

Gynocriticism has no theoretical affiliation to male theories like Marxism, structuralism and so on. It is more self contained and experimental with connections to other modes of new feminist research.  It has no affinity with  male literature; its program, instead, is to construct female framework for the analysis of women's literature.  It develops new models based on the study of experience instead of adopting male models and theories. It rejects the established male literary tradition because of it's sexist bias and seek to trace a female literary tradition. It intends to discover and reveal the hidden and neglected women writers.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Feminist Critique

The term 'Feminist Critique' was introduced by Elaine Showalter in her essay Towards a Feminist Poetics. It  is a type of  feminist criticism  that's concerned with woman as a reader or  consumer of male produced literature. It awakens the critic to the significance of text's sexual codes and provides  an entirely novel interpretation of it.

Feminist Critique is also concerned with the exploitation and manipulation of female audience especially in popular culture.  The subjects of feminist critic includes the images and stereotypes of women in Literature, the omission and misconceptions about women in criticism and the gaps in male constructed literary history.

The feminist critique is politically polemical because it has theoretical affiliations to Marxist aesthetics. The critic has a tendency to naturalize women's victimization by making it the inevitable and obsessive topic of discussion.  As feminist critique is male oriented, it fails to  recall women's own feeling and experiences; it only states how men conceive and construct women identities in Literature.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Canon Formation in English

The word canon refers to the word 'Kanon' which means 'a measuring rod'. In the beginning, the word was used to distinguish the Bible from other literary works in order to highlight and claim the authority of the Bible all around the world. This same set of principles were used to make the literary works of different authors to the social status of standard work.

Canon formation is done on two principles. The first one is that all the works of an author will not be considered as canonical. Though Shakespeare has written many works, all of his works are not fit to describe as canonical. Some works are selected into the canon. How does it happen? The second principle is that these works have been made into the canon by general consensus of scholars, teachers and critics. Therefore all literary works that are based on Euro-centric  ideas were included in the canon. After renaissance, canon formation became widespread as English literature gained an international standard.

Canon formation is neither an objective nor a judicious process. The consensus created by the a particular group of people over a selected list of works will reflect their cultural tastes. It is mainly based on race,class gender etc..., As a result, a lot of works were excluded from the canon especially writings by Women and Blacks. Due to social prioritization of literary works, many women writers wrote under the pseudonym of male writers.

At present, canon formation is much more democratic. It is not a static process. The systems and principles of canon change with time. For example, the work Waiting for Godot was first excluded from the canon and later it redefined the canon.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Test Your Vocabulary

Dear learners,
Enriching one's vocabulary is an essential part of learning a language. When it come to learning English, building a strong vocabulary is quintessential. If you want to test your vocabulary, click on the link below
Test Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


The detailed syllabus of UGC NET English Literature is given below. Before you attend the exam, please make sure that you have gone through all these areas.

UGC NET English Paper II

  1. Chaucer to Shakespeare
  2. Jacobean to Restoration Periods
  3. Augustan Age : 18th Century Literature
  4. Romantic Period
  5. Victorian Period
  6. Modern Period
  7. Contemporary Period
  8. American and other non – British Literature’s
  9. Literary Theory and Criticism
  10. Rhetoric and Prosody

UGC NET English Paper III ( A ) ( Core Group )

  1. British Literature from Chaucer to the present day
  2. Criticism and Literary Theory.
Unit –I : Literary Comprehension ( with internal choice of poetry stanza and prose passage; four comprehension questions will be asked carrying 4 marks each ).
Unit – II : Up to the Renaissance.
Unit – III : Jacobean to Restoration Periods.
Unit – IV : Augustan Age : 18th Century Literature.
Unit – V : Romantic Period.
Unit – VI : Victorian and Pre – Raphaelites.
Unit – VII : Modem British Literature.
Unit – VIII : Contemporary British Literature.
Unit – IX : Literary Theory and Criticism up to T. S. Eliot.
Unit – X : Contemporary Theory.

UGC NET English Paper III ( B ) ( Elective / Optional )

Elective – I : History of English Language, English Language Teaching.
Elective – II : European Literature from Classical Age to the 20th Century.
Elective – III : Indian writing in English and Indian Literature in English translation.
Elective – IV : American and other non – British English Literatures.
Elective – V : Literary Theory and Criticism.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Fisherman by Jay Macpherson

When I searched online for a fresh copy of the poem Fisherman by Jay Macpherson, I hardly got a reliable copy of it. The available online copy of the poem was not in a printable form. So I just typed it and thought of sharing it online. 

The Fisherman
Jay Macpherson 

The world was first a private park
Until the angel, after dark,
Scattered afar to wests and easts
The lovers and the friendly beasts.

And later still a home-made boat
Contained creation set afloat,
No rift nor leak that might betray
The creatures to a hostile day.

But now beside the midnight lake
One single fisher sits awake
And casts and fights and hauls to land
A myriad forms upon the sand.

Old Adam on naming day
Blessed each, and let slip away;
The Fisher of the fallen mind
Sees no occasion to be kind,

But on his catch proceeds to sup;
Then bends, and at one slurp sucks up
The lake and all that therein is
To slake that hungry gut of his,

Then whistling makes for home and bed
As the last morning breaks in red;
But God the lord with patient grin
Lets down his hook and hoicks him in.