Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Presentations on T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'

Presentations, Quiz and Points to Ponder on T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'
The Cover Page: The Waste Land
Download articles on the influence of Indian spiritual thoughts in 'The Waste Land'. 
(If you are unable to access these articles, write me on dilipbarad@gmail.com to avail its pdf copy.)
1) "Shantih" in The Waste Land. Author(s): K. Narayana Chandran. Source: American Literature, Vol. 61, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 681-683. Published by: Duke University Press. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2927003
2) The Waste Land and the Upanishads : What Does the Thunder Say? Author(s): M. E GRENANDER and K. S. NARAYANA RAO. Source: Indian Literature, Vol. 14, No. 1 (MARCH 1971), pp. 85-98. Published by: Sahitya Akademi. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23330564
  1. 'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot
The literature is not only the mirror image of society. It can neither be limited to the metaphor of photographic representation, nor be limited to the lamp which brightens the corner of society or human nature. Sometimes, literature is the x-ray image of the society. The black and while skeleton of society. The ugly-but-real-at-its-core face of society is captured on transparent paper. The writer's eyes like an x-ray machine, penetrates deep and captures the nuances of social decay, moral decay and cultural decay. The rotten state of human life in the early quarter of the Twentieth century is meticulously captured by T.S. Eliot in 'The Waste Land - quite aptly known as 'The Modern Epic'. The root cause of this decay (social, moral and cultural) is spiritual degradation and sexual perversion. Is spiritual degradation the cause of sexual perversion or the effect of sexual perversion is due to spiritual degradation? It is not easy to answer this is simple cause-effect relationship. They both are interdependent. They have walked hand-in-hand, in past, they walk together in present and they will, if the lessons are not learnt from literature. People question the usefulness of 'Arts' in life. Can we find the answer art (verbal) like 'The Waste Land'.




2. Universal Human Laws in the Modern Epic 'The Waste Land'
Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? The Waste Land not only makes extensive use of myths but also makes, a myth – the myth of the hollowness of Human Beings in Modern Times.The rituals of the modern men are mythified – which in turn attempts to legitimize it.Or rather it would be better to say: the rituals (sexual sins) are illegitimized in epic which is heavily drawn as modern day myth – the myth of decay, desolation and degeneration of human values, civilizations and cultures.As the poem operates in a dismantling way, rather than legitimizing, it illegitimizes the rituals of the Modern Times.



3. Autobiographical Elements in T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'
It is well said that “Honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry” . . . and . . . “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality”.Consciously, the poet should make such attempts . . . But the Un/Subconscious is not under the control and commands of Conscious Mind. It finds it outlet in the expression. At the very moment when, quite  consciously, the poet has surrendered itself to the process of creation, it leaks out – it finds its moment of expression. T.S. Eliot, the high priest of the school of depersonalization is also not free from the ‘Un/Subconscious overflow of powerful self . . . Which can only be recollected in tranquility by the biographical critics’.



Three kinds of children of Praja-pati, Lord of Children, lived as Brahman-students with Praja-pati their father: the gods, human beings, the demons.—Living with him as Brahman students, the gods spake, 'Teach us, Exalted One.'—Unto them he spake this one syllable Da. 'Have ye understood?'—'We have understood', thus they spake, 'it was damyata, control yourselves, that thou saidest unto us.'—'Yes', spake he, 'ye have understood.' Then spake to him human beings, 'Teach us, Exalted One.' —Unto them he spake that selfsame syllable Da. 'Have ye understood?'— 'We have understood', thus they spake, 'it was 
datta, give, that thou saidest unto us.'—'Yes', spake he, 'ye have
understood.' Then spake to him the demons, 'Teach us, Exalted One.' —Unto them he spake that selfsame syllable Da. 'Have ye 
understood?'—'We have understood', thus they spake, 'it was 
dayadhvam, be compassionate, that thou saidest unto us.'—'Yes*, spake he, 'ye have understood.' This it is which that voice of god repeats, the thunder, when it rolls 'Da Da Da,' that is damyata datta dayadhvam. Therefore these three must be learned, self-control, giving, compassion. ~ Charles Rockwell Lanman, former Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University and Eliot's teacher of Sanskrit and Buddhism



Task:
1) What are your views on the following image after reading 'The Waste Land'? Do you think that Eliot is regressive as compared to Nietzche's views? or Has Eliot achieved universality of thought by recalling mytho-historical answer to the contemporary malaise?
T.S. Eliot and F. Nietzche
2) Prior to the speech, Gustaf Hellström of the Swedish Academy made these remarks:
T.S. Eliot and S. Freud
What are your views regarding these comments? Is it true that giving free vent to the repressed 'primitive instinct' lead us to happy and satisfied life? or do you agree with Eliot's view that 'salvation of man lies in the preservation of the cultural tradition'?

3) Write about allusions to the Indian thoughts in 'The Waste Land'. (Where, How and Why are the Indian thoughts referred?)

Give your responses as 'Comment' in the comment section below this blog post.