Sunday, October 31, 2004

Paul Brians Satanic Verses Study Guide

Try this "study guide" for The Satanic Verses, by Paul Brians.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Really Cool Website relating to *Passage to India*

Hi everyone,

I came across this really interesting website that I think some of you might like to take a look at, especially if you are considering writing about *Passage to India.* The library at Louisiana State University has a webite called "British Voices of South Asia" reproducing a special exhibition that ran in 1996 -- it's a collection of transcribed oral interviews with British people who lived and worked in pre-independant India; most of their stories about events in the 1930s. Though a little later than Forster's book, I think it's interesting all the same. The site has a few categories: accounts of why working/living India appealed to them, what daily life was like, travel, departure, and, most interesting to me, the relationship between the British and the Indians.

It's fascinating to hear actual people who participated in the cultural situation about which Forster wrote, espcially when they talk about the attitude they had toward the Indian subjects. Here I'm just going to excerpt a few of my favorites:

Sir Charles Dalton: One of the things that we missed out on, in my time, was the fact that we had absolutely no intercourse with the Indians, except the servants. At the very top level, we did meet one or two Indian princes. But nowhere else. The Army and the Civil Service were completely in a world apart. We were British and they were Indians and never the twain shall meet. This was the sort of feeling. And I'm sure that this was wrong and that, if one were doing it again, I think one would take a lot of trouble to get to know Indians.

Colonel W.A. Salmon, British Army: It did have a magic, there's no doubt about it. I got tremendously fond of the Indian people. It didn't matter what they were, Mohammedans, Hindus or anything else. They had a charm. They were natural gentlemen. Many's the time I'd be riding around Peshawar, for instance, out hacking. You come somewhere and a chap in the field would stop and salaam. So you'd rein in and talk to him for a bit. And he might say, "Sahib, come to my house," which was probably only a little mud hut. You'd go there and he'd give you a cup of tea and you'd talk about this or that and then be on your way. It was a very happy, brotherly, friendly feeling.

Rt. Rev. Leslie Newbigin, Missionary, later Bishop of Madras: The British, of course, were very respectful of Indian customs. I mean this is the reason even to this day why government offices only open about 10:00 or 10:30 in spite of the fact that this means you've lost the cool hours of the day and you're working in the worst hours of the heat. The reason for that is because in the early days the offices were all staffed by Brahmins, and Brahmins had to go through all their religious duties [before they started work].

Geoffrey Lamarque, Indian Civil Service: You find this [Indians wanting to be separate] in the Indians in Britain today. They're terribly clannish, they keep together, they have their own clubs, and nobody objects to this. And just the same in the days when we ruled India, you did want a place, certainly in the larger cities--it was only in the larger cities where this happened--where the Europeans could get together of an evening and, as it were, unwind and relax and criticize Indians in an uninhibited sort of way or talk about any subject they liked. There is a great gulf, certainly in north India, between Indians and Europeans in their whole backgrounds. If you did have Indians there it did inhibit conversation, the feeling of relaxation. The British are clubable people; they love going to a club and playing tennis and so forth. The Indians on the other hand find this slightly odd. The club is an entirely British invention. Indians don't naturally go to clubs the way we do--we did. So I don't think you can be too hard on the British, who paid for these places. I think that the mistake that we made, really, was that we didn't say, "All right, any Indian can come and join the club if he wants to," because I'm entirely certain nine out of ten Indians would never have bothered to come. All they wanted to know was that they could join if they wished, because they don't enjoy club life.

That's just a tiny sampling from the section called "Never the Twain" about British and Indian relationships. If you'd like to read more, the web address is:

*I've assumed that all this was credible since it's out of LSU, but I might be wrong....


Monday, October 18, 2004

William Blake

I have always found William Blake to be a fascinating artist, not just because he illustrated (with his own method) his works by hand, but because of his ideas about organized religion and the state, which I think made him far ahead of his time. He distrusted organized religion; indeed, he set up his own mythology (clearly seen in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell") in which God is represented by Urizen, basically a tyrannt, and religion is the Tree which sends its roots deep into men's minds to imprison them. He believed in mysticism and that man knew God through personal revelation rather than religious teaching. I believe some of his ideas were solidified when he looked through a window to a meadow and had a "vision" of his dead brother. He was often considered a little mad by his contemporaries.

According to the Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia site,, "What he called his 'visions' were perhaps hallucinations, experiences that he allowed to guide his life. It was these that gave him such a strong and uncompromising belief in his own artistic direction." Still, his unique talent was pretty much ignored in his time, but was admired and copied by later poets, such as Yeats. And he has been popularized in the twentieth century by critics like Harold Bloom. His work is fascinating and has a dense and mystical quality that we don't often associate with 18th and early 19th century poets.

Friday, October 15, 2004

William Blake and Swedenborgian doctrine

While reading Ulysses, many of you may have noticed several references to the late 18th-century English poet William Blake. Blake's relationship to formal religious doctrine was highly antagonistic; one of the main goals of his poetic "prophecies" was to reappropriate Christian mythology and deploy it subversively within/as his own poetic framework. However, Blake did have some strong affiliations with more radical religious movements of his era, particularly the religious "cults" of Swedenborg and Mesmer (which in time would also be reprocessed via Blake's own myth). However, for those of you interested in Blake's early formal relation to these systems, a fine essay can be found on the topic at 'Romanticism on the Net.' Here's the link:


Bernard Shaw

All of this business about Eliot's conversion to Anglicanism made me think about Shaw. While Shaw never embraced a religion, that I know of, he did come around to his own sort of mysticism: the Life Force/Creative Evolution.

His take in Saint Joan on Joan of Arc deals with the Life Force, presenting Joan as kind of an embodiment of it.

Then again, I'm not sure how modernist Shaw considered himself or is considered to be, so his Life Force might not belong under the heading "Spirits of Modernity" (?).

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Here is Sonnet 29, an interesting choice in that the narrator is frustrated by his life--he feels some kind of lack, until the couplet in which he realizes he wants no other life as long as this "you" is with him.
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,--and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings'.

And here is Yeats's poem "The Second Coming"
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; (HENCE the title of the Achebe novel)
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!
Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Unavailable on the web, but a good article

"Bronze by Gold by Bloom: Echo, the Invocatory Drive, and the 'Aurteur' in 'Sirens'"
Susan Mooney
Found in Bronze by Gold: The Music of Joyce, ed. Sebastian Knowles

Mooney argues that the images of the mirror, shell, and piano tuner all create a setting conducive to echoes, the foundation of "Sirens." She spends little time discussing the first 64 lines I base the majority of my paper on, but she does look at the scene in which the word "echo" stands alone as a sentence. She plays with the language in that section as I play with it in the introduction. Her last sentence sums up her argument nicely. "Little pieces of the real--sounds and objects--are draped in language, and then that language is woven and rewoven and then worried away between one's ceaselessly seeking fingers, twisted and twined through one's cocked, shell-like, waiting ear (the unclosable orifice)" (239).

Friday, October 01, 2004

Annotated Bibliography

I know it is probably too late for these articles to help anyone else for Tuesday’s paper, but I hope you find them interesting. Unfortunately, I just found out that all of the formatting that made this a nice and neat bibliography seems to have disappeared, along with all of my web addresses, and I don't know how to get them back. If you want to know how I got these sources, let me know.

Fischer, Andrea. “Strange Words, Strange Music: The Verbal Music of ‘Sirens.’” Bronze by Gold: The Music of Joyce. Ed. Sebastian D.G. Knowles. New York: Garland Publishing, 1999. 245-262.
Fischer took a linguistic approach to “Sirens,” examining the intonation, rhythm, and signification inherent in both language and music and then applying it to specific passages in the episode. She particularly focused on the phrase “Bronze by Gold” and the repetition of the colors.

Rogers, Margaret. “Mining the Ore of ‘Sirens’: An Investigation of Structural Components.” Bronze by Gold: The Music of Joyce. Ed. Sebastian D.G. Knowles. New York: Garland Publishing, 1999. 263-275.
The bulk of Roger’s article was a detailed examination of the coding of “notes” in “Sirens” based on Renaissance system that had its roots in Pythagoras’s concept of music and mathematics. Rogers used the tools of cryptography to decode the episode and focused her analysis on the opening lines as the outline of the fugue, which she then encoded to correspond to musical notes and chords for her analysis.

Smith, Don Noel. “Musical Form and Principles in the Scheme of Ulysses.” Twentieth Century Literature, 18.2 (1972): 79-92. 25 Sep. 2004 . [J-Stor Database]
Smith used musical forms as his analogy to interpret the Ulysses and pointed to history of scholarship that uses musical concepts and terminology to analyze the work. The episodes were categorized into sections and then those sections were assigned musical forms based on the dominant themes and techniques of the chapters.

Hayman, David. “James Joyce, Paratactitian.” Contemporary Literature, 26.2 (1985): 155-178. 25 Sep. 2004 . [J-Stor Database]
Hayman analyzed Joyce’s use of parataxis, the subordination or coordination of clauses without an indication of connection in a text, across several works, including Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Heusel, Barbara Stevens. “Joyce and the Drama of Cognition: Escher as Visual Analogue.” Twentieth Century Literature, 34.4 (1988): 395-406. 25 Sep. 2004 . [J-Stor Database]
Heusel used M.C. Escher’s visual (and mathematically based) “tricks” to analyze several of Joyce’s works, including Ulysses and Stephen Hero, comparing Joyce’s verbal tricks with Escher’s visual ones to examine the way in which both manipulate audience reactions.

Zimmerman, Nadya. “Musical Form as a Narrator: The Fugue of the Sirens in James Joyce’s Ulysses.” Journal of Modern Literature, 26.1 (2002): 108-118. Literature Resource Center. Thomson Gale. Lehigh University Lib. 25 Sep. 2004 .
Zimmerman’s article is based on the evidence that Joyce himself indicated that “Sirens” was based on a fugal structure. Her detailed analysis was intended to move beyond the question of the success of Joyce’s translation from music to language and into issues of the impact of such an attempt, specifically looking at its effect on narratology.