27th of February, The Presentation day…The D-Day or not?

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Hello all,

This was a day, I had been looking forward to as much as not looking forward to due to my excitement. Although I love giving presentations and speaking in front of the public audience, for some unknown reason, the idea of giving this presentation was dreadful. I had done rehearsals to home few days before and I was told my by lecturer that the subject of my topic was too wide (The Victorian Era) and that needed to be shortened. The presentation had to be completed within 6 minutes and 40 seconds and I felt I could fit this into 6 minutes 40 seconds but I think I was wrong.

I did my final presentation at home to my house mates and that helped me calm down and also got constructive feedback. The day after…27th of February…I was quite nervous, could not understand why to be honest, when I had arrived to the conference room I felt my confidence coming back, I saw that my class mates were quite relaxed and there was some sort of joy in the air. The handouts were placed nicely and I was talking and doing my final preparations. I was in the first group of speakers and I was thinking “I am glad I am in the first group, as it will be done and dusted quite fast” on the other hand I was also thinking “Well, being in the first group has also disadvantages as everyone will be quite awake and they will be quite focused on what I am talking about!”.  As i was circling the airport with these thoughts, Elaine had completed her speech and here I was, I felt quite confident as I set the theme of my presentation by stating “There is something about this conference room, it has characteristics of Victorian period!”. The smiles around the room gave my the confidence as well as comforting me. At the beginning my voice was shaking and I was bit fast, however as the presentation went along, I thought I was doing ok. With the thoughts of Dickens, Eliot and Hardy, I completed my presentation with Steve Jobs’ “One more thing…” I was quite happy that it went smoothly and I loved the presentation at the end, it was not a D-Day but rather a day from the TV show Teletubbies?

I really enjoyed the presentations of my class mates. There were really creative ones as well as fascinating topics all around. The day had started at 9:00 am and finished by 17:00. As a class, we all went for a small celebration for surviving this day! Now looking forward to the bigger celebration of our final thesis and the graduation day…

Well done to all.

Respond to William Wordsworth’s ‘What is a poet?’

“Poetry is the image of man and nature” (Greenblatt 300). This quotation from Wordsworth fits the definition of a poet for both Ellen Taylor and Thomas Dermody. Both poets reflect the experiences they had such as grief, sorrow and passion. They do not put any objects between what they see and what they feel. In both of their poems, the subject is directly transmitted to the reader. Ellen Taylor’s works reflect the definition of ‘What is a Poet’? The poems written about the death of her brother, Mrs. Porter and Mr. Mark, merchant of Limerick, fits the definition of expressing what she thinks and feels by selecting her own words. For example in the last stanza of the poem ‘A Fragment’ where she states “And learn to live, and learn to die, like you: When Death’s kind hand may guide her to that shore”. She expresses the sorrow she is going through effectively in these poems. As stated by Wordsworth, the poet thinks and feels the spirit of men especially with the poems written for the death of the people that was closer to the poet. On the other hand, the poem where a gentleman lent her some books shows the structure of her own mind without showing any external excitement. Here the poet is showing her own feelings and passions. The way Dermody uses the language in his poems is rather indirect to the reader compared to Taylor’s poems. His poems could be described as mind of a man reflecting the “qualities of the nature” (301), as Wordsworth puts into context.

In the poem ‘Farewell to Killeigh’ the poet is describing the passion and the sensations effectively. It shows the poem is not written alone but for men. It was written addressing a community in the rural area of Co. Offaly. In ‘Tam to Rab. An Odaic Epistle’ dedicated to Robert Burns, Dermody attempts to bring his feelings near to Burns for his financial sufferings. He tries to show empathy by doing this. In one of his famous poems, ‘On a Dead Negro’ he talks about anti-slavery and talks about the oppression suffered by slaves. In Wordsworth’s context, it can be stated as “In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs, in spite of things silently gone out of mind and things violently destroyed, the poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time” (302). This could be described as the poets write their poems as they see it feel it and think about it.

In conclusion, I believe both poets work fit Wordsworth’s definition of a poet. They both reflect their ideas, opinions and feelings to the reader by showing passion, sorrow and grief. Both poets show empathy in their poems towards the characters they describe. In Wordsworth’s definition, it can be said that “The poet thinks and feels in the spirit of the passions of men” (310).

Works Cited

Greenblatt, S., 2012. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ninth Edition ed. London: W.W. Norton & Company.Print.

Thoughts on William Blake’s poem, “The Lamb”

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Hello all,

Since from my last post, I wanted to continue analyzing Romantic period poetry and today, I will share my thoughts on William Blake’s poem, “The Lamb”.

This poem reflects many characteristics of sensibility and romanticism. The first characteristic of romanticism that could be argued is the emotion of human state of mind. As romanticism placed human feelings and emotions above everything else, this poem reflects a good example of how Africans felt when they were deported for slavery purposes. As romantic poets relied on their feelings and emotions to create their poetry, this belief was also confirmed by William Wordsworth and his feelings about poetry where he states that “poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Greenblatt 310). Another aspect of romanticism in this poem that is argued is exoticism. In the poem, the poet states: “Nor, in their palmy walks and spicy groves, the form benign of rural Pleasure roves” (Fuller 59).

In the romantic period the distant places are generally considered to be relaxed, colourful and sensual. The poet is viewing Africa as an exotic place for English people. One other aspect of romanticism could be discussed, is the concept of freedom. The poet portrays an image of free Africans before arrival of the English into the continent. She describes how they became unjustly slaves at the hands of invaders in their country and how they were forced to go to England as slaves in horrendous and primitive transportation conditions.

It should also be underlined that there are signs of sensibility in this poem. As discussed above, and similar to romanticism, the poet displays a feeling that shows a new era or a new birth. I believe that the new birth of feeling that is expressed here is freedom. Also by identifying others, whom are Africans here, the poet gives a sense of “fellow-being” which is another characteristic of sensibility. It could also be stated that the poet is trying to show sympathy, which is another characteristic of sensibility, on the lines 71, 72 and 73 of the poem by describing the positive attitude of the Africans and their view of life.

The first problem with the language of this poem is that it is not easily understandable. Although Romantic period writers started to use prose-like language with more everyday language, it can still be seen that this poem still uses strict poetic forms similar to the language used by Shakespeare and Victorian era poets. The second problem with the language of this poem is that although it is a literary poem, it consists of intense political aspects, hence the meaning of literature is lost and political aspect of the poem becomes clearer.

ps318789_lThe image and the history of this picture can be accessed via the link below;

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pd/w/william_hogarth,_gin_lane.aspx

And the poem can be found from this link;

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172926

Thank you all very much for reading my post!

Works Cited

Fuller, David, ed. William Blake: Selected Poetry and Prose. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited, 2000. Print.

Greenblatt, S., 2012. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ninth Edition ed. London: W.W. Norton & Company.Print.

Hogarth, William. William Hogarth, Gin Lane, Etching and Engraving. Digital image. The British Museum. The British Museum, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. <http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pd/w/william_hogarth,_gin_lane.aspx&gt;.

Analysis of Coleridge’s ‘The Eolian Harp’ and Keats’s ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’

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Hello all,

Today I am going to focus on two poems, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘The Eolian Harp’ and John Keats’s  ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’

Coleridge’s ‘The Eolian Harp’ and Keats’s Urn in ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ both succeed as emblems of Romantic Art. Starting with ‘The Eolian Harp’, it is a harp that can be placed at a window or somewhere else where it can be played by the wind. By this way, the poet can hear the nature’s own voice and music. The harp succeeds as a romantic emblem as it portrays the symbolic relationship with the forces of the nature and humankind. In his book, ‘Preface to Lyrical Ballads’ William Wordsworth suggests that “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Waugh 53). This can be found in ‘The Eolian Harp’ as the Coleridge uses the harp as a flow of thought and this occupies his mind in moments of tranquillity. Since the harp is an object that can produce music only by the wind, it triggers the poet’s imaginative process of his own mind and then reflects it into his own works. Coleridge uses the harp to symbolize the nature to appeal the human senses. This can be seen in the poem line 40 when he speaks about “And many idle flitting phantasies, Traverse my indolent and passive brain, As wild and various as the random gales”(Wheeler 79). In Keats’s ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’, the Urn symbolizes the immortal love that was a carving on an urn. This also portrays Romantic Art in a sense that Keats is expressing the ‘inexpressible’ by using the carving on the urn. In this poem, the human imagination is accompanied by his feelings and emotions to express the ‘inexpressible’. Keats examines the nature of truth and beauty through his examination of the urn in ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’. This can be seen in the poem lines 48-50 when the urn is talking to the humans “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” (90).

Both poems use the similar emblems to reach the readers. Coleridge uses the harp as an object to express his feelings; on the other hand Keats uses the urn to express his ideas. These two poems differ in a way the romantic emblems are presented. Coleridge expresses love in his poem on the other hand Keats portrays universal beauty. In his poem, Keats uses the theme of transience to show the Romantic. He argues that the beauty in this world fades away into the infinity of the time. He refers the Grecian urn as ‘Sylvan historian’ and ‘the bridge of quietness’ showing that although the history is unmovable it is preserved on the urn and will last forever. From this it can be argued that, by using the urn as a symbol and the carvings on it, he transmits the beauty of the Romantic era into our own time. He uses the urn as an object to show the beauty and it will stand still to show the beauty of the past for the next generations for those who wish to find ‘in midst of other woe’. Coleridge’s poem could be described as lyrical as he expresses his own feelings to convey the message. It can be described as a message for the man thinking about his love for his wife, the beauty of nature and about the wonder of God in providing him with both nature and his wife. The harp represents the poet himself and the breeze is used as a metaphor for God’s breath which plays the harp. He focuses on human/divine relations in the poem. Coleridge uses the harp as a metaphor for human consciousness. The harp does not play and is passive unless it is triggered by the external factors such as the breeze. Once the breeze triggers the music on the harp, it also creates the imagination on human mind. He uses the harp as a bridge between the divine and humankind.

In conclusion, both poems reflect the emblems of the Romantic Art. I believe that both poets compromise on one subject which is immortality and divine power. This can be seen in both poems. Both poets differ by using different topics and emblems but the core message stays the same for both poets.

You can read The Eolian Harp by following the below link;

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/183957

And Ode on a Grecian Urn;

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173742

Works Cited

Waugh, Patricia. Literary Theory and Criticism: An Oxford Guide. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.

Video

The “White Slavery” of London Match Workers by Annie Besant

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Annie_Besant_in_black_standingAnnie Besant was a British social reformer, campaigner for women’s rights. She was passionate about the rights of women and about the working conditions of women.This article was published in 1888 and focuses on the denunciation of the poor working conditions and unimportance of the working class in Victorian Age. Similar to Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, this article focuses on the poor working conditions and low wages that are paid to women’s by the factory owners. Annie Besant talks about the long working hours (about 12 hours each day) and in contrast the low wages that are being paid to the workers. She explores the living conditions of the factory workers that they earn so little money that they could only live on bread, butter and tea for breakfast and dinner. She also presents the low working conditions and unimportance of the factory workers by giving examples of the fines’ system that was being applied by the factory owners. These fines were applied to all if they arrived late to work or was talking during the working hours. In her article she also gives an example of how unimportant the workers’ lives by quoting; One girl was fined 1s. for letting the web twist around a machine in the endeavour to save her fingers from being cut, and was sharply told to take care of the machine, “never mind your fingers.” She highlights the company Bryant & May which was paying workers so little on the other hand paying huge money and profits to their shareholders.

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She presents the idea of the poor and rich by stating that the only thing that the director of the company considers is his own wealth and does not care about the wage of the workers or their working conditions. Once again with I can relate this to Dickens’ Hard Times as the factory workers were called “Hands”. In this article Annie Besant mentions the working class in the eye of the director as “white wage slaves.” Annie Besant attacks Theodore Bryant, the director of Bryant & May match factory, in her article in terms of his decision of deducting wages of the workers in order for him to erect a statue of an eminent statesman who was called William Ewart Gladstone, leader of the liberal party and prime minister four times of England.

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I can find many similarities between Besant’s article and Dickens’ Hard Times. There is a similar character from Hard Times, In that novel Josiah Bounderby a self-made man – industrialist was mentioned and in this article Annie Besant mentions about the director of this company who is called Theodore Bryant.

In her article, Annie Besant talks about the economic value of the workers and how they were treated injustice. She challenges the idea of low standard of working class conditions and the way they were treated in the industrialization era of the Victorian age.

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You can see a short clip about Annie Besant from the following;

Thank you all very much for reading!

Works Cited

Annie Besant in Black. Digital image. Wikimedia Summons. N.p., 1890. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Annie_Besant_in_black_standing.jpg&gt;.

The Link 23 June 1888. Digital image. Wikimedia Summons. N.p., 1888. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Link_23_June_1888.JPG&gt;.

Scothern, Damon. “Theosophy UK Annie Besant Story.wmv.”Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 06 Apr. 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkJJeBqL1Ns&gt;.

Talk on Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

dougandmary Hello all, It has been a while I have not published any article on my blog. I had attended a seminar about Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford,a celebrity couple from 1920s America. This talk was given by Dr. Gwenda Young. It was quite an interesting topic and I will share my impressions. Dr. Young started this seminar with recent Hollywood couples and the nicknames had been attached to them such as  “Bennifer” for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez “TomKat” for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, “Brangelina” for Brad Bitt and Angelina Jolie and finally ” Kimye” for Kim Kardashian and Kenya West. For Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford it was “Doug and Mary”. “A great love poem” was the quote for this famous couple in 1920s America. Mary Pickford was described as a “clean star” of “clean movies”, Douglas Fairbanks on the other hand was described as “carefully engineered by the author himself”. His personality was so attractive that he was also referred “Rising like a sun in the morning”. Mary Pickford was seen as a child women in her movies. She was generally referred as “the little mother”. This was partially because she had very dysfunctional childhood. Her dad had died when she was a child and she had troublesome family affairs. She was a supporter of a fatherless family of 1920s. In her movies, Pickford represented Victorian motifs such as purity, cleanliness and whiteness which were all equally important to her. Douglas Fairbanks, on the other hand, had various roles in various movies. He was quite famous endorsing a product – Lucky Strike and the favorite quote “It’s toasted”. 1920s America transformed their marriage into celebrity couple. Their honeymoon trip to Europe was considered like a promotional tour of their marriage by the critics. However, during this trip in London, the crowd was bewildered seeing this celebrity couple and they were hardly making way through the crowd. At one point, Mary was almost forced being dragged out of the car she was in. This showed the dangerous side of being a celebrity. Also, this signalled that the modern celebrity culture had arrived. Here you can see a small video clip about their honeymoon trip; [vimeo http://vimeo.com/33794181] Contrary to traditional belief, Pickford was running the business side of their marriage. She was much sharper than her husband during the negotiations and she was also referred to as a very good wife. “She was nurturing and mothering” (Young) says Dr. Young and “She was portrayed like a treat for the house” (Young). However, similar to current celebrity couples, Doug and Mary also had problems with their marriage. For having multiple relationship rumors, Douglas Fairbanks’ response was; ” All these extra affairs that are told about me is a German propaganda” (Young). On the magazines, there was a cynical attitude towards couple’s marriage towards the end of 1930s. Also by this time the film studios were eager to find new faces and talents for the cinema and they also moved towards other stars by the end of 1930s. All these events declined their marriage. Although the couple was prepared against all the odds, their marriage got worse by the end of 1930s. By the mid 1930s, the couple had finalized their divorce. It was harder for Pickford to finalize the divorce. Their marriage could not survive through the great depression era of the United States. Doug and Mary were considered the king and the queen of the Hollywood. If you have time and would like to know more about Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, I strongly recommend the documentary below which lasts about 1h25min;

Works Cited;

“Mary Pickford (AMERICAN HOLLYWOOD HISTORY DOCUMENTARY).”Online video clip. YouTube. History Scholar, 24 May 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

Stanford – School of Medicine. Digital image. Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising. American Tobacco Company, 22 Jan. 1928. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

Young, Gwenda, “Talk on Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford” University College Cork. 12 Nov. 2014. Speech.

In conversation: John Banville and Ed Victor

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Hello all,

Today, I am going to write about my attendance to a seminar that was held in UCC on Monday, 13th October 2014. The participants in this seminar were John Banville, who writes crime fiction under the name of Benjamin Black, Booker prize winner, screenwriter and Ed Victor who represents John Banville and his literary agency.

I must say although I did not know John Banville, I was impressed that evening with his speech. He talked about his literary past, present and his writing style. There was a sense in the venue at some stage that it was not John Banville who was giving the speech but rather his alias Benjamin Black. John considered himself being more European Literalist and closer to European Literature. Actually, at one stage he said “I consider myself more European than Irish” (Banville). This statement reminded me other Irish writers such as Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Bernard Shaw; these writers spent most of their literary life outside of their homeland but in some of their works they still mentioned their homeland. Banville lived in the United States for a year, however he worked for Aer Lingus, which allowed him to travel more to Europe and get to know the European culture hence this might be the reason that he considers himself being more European than Irish. Talking about his writing style, he emphasized using first person narratives in his novels, the voices in him draws his attention and makes him think and question. It is this person inside of him that is his witness. He also put an emphasis about the voices in his head that speak out loud “I do not know who they are and I do not know who I am, and I do not want to know” (Banville). Finally, when he was talking about his life being a novelist, he said “Being novelist like; you scale higher and higher, you can make anything up and people will believe it. It is infinite than actual facts” (Banville).

When it was Ed Victor’s return to talk, I was trying to understand what is the role of the agent? I can understand the publishers but what do the agents do? It was not long before Ed Victor answered this question. “Authors need agents for various purposes. Like friends, informed friends and consultants. Authors need their works to be interpreted for them” (Victor). It was fascinating to know that agents seem to play an important role in authors’ life. He also described how much en enjoys working with these creative people. He said “One of the pleasure of my life is to discover people, I love the idea of discovering someone or something new” (Victor). Although we, as readers, do not know much about the agents for the authors, I was convinced that they do actually need them like a torch guiding them to the destination of their journey after this conversation.

Overall, this was a really pleasant and informative evening for me to get to know John Banville and Ed Victor. Thank you all very much for reading my post!

You can see more about John Banville and Ed Victor at the following links;

http://www.john-banville.com

http://www.edvictor.com

Also, I came across with a great YouTube clip about John Banville and Ed Victor which you might find it interesting.

Works Cited;

“Arts Lives -Being John Banville Part 1.”Online video clip. YouTube. Doug B, 29 April 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

“Arts Lives -Being John Banville Part 2.”Online video clip. YouTube. Doug B, 29 April 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

Banville, John, “In conversation: John Banville and Ed Victor – the Author and the Agent”           University College Cork. 13 Oct. 2014. Speech.

Victor, Ed, “In conversation: John Banville and Ed Victor – the Author and the Agent”                   University College Cork. 13 Oct. 2014. Speech.

My thoughts on the movie “The Truman Show”

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Truman_Show

 

Hello all,

I was thinking on what to watch this weekend and this movie took my attention. Although I had watched this film maybe over five or six times, it was still attractive to me and I was not aware that this movie fits into my topic of postmodernism and the theme of hyperreality. Ok so what is so special about this move? The film examines the life of a man who is unaware that he is living on a T.V. show which broadcasts his life to millions of people around the world 24 hours 7 days a week.

As the film progresses Truman becomes suspicious and tries to find his own reality or in other words to discover the truth about his life. Being an example of postmodern movie, Truman Burbank (starred by Jim Carrey) is challenging his creator. He does not want to live in a world that is constructed by characterised actors but rather to travel, explore and to learn the truth. He is also unconscious that the town he is living (named Seahaven) in is also a massive set and almost everything in it is artificially constructed.

While watching this movie, I remembered Jeremy Bentham’s theory of Panopticon. Bentham was an English philosopher in the late 18th century of England and had designed a prison that is rounded and the tower in the middle of the prison. The cells and the tower was structured such a way that the inmates were not tell or able to see the watchman. However they were being watched all the time. The concept was “Being able to see without being seen”. Later this concept was studied in detail by French philosopher Michel Foucault and he published his thoughts on his book Discipline and Punish. Foucault argues that we are being watched constantly by CCTV cameras, or in modern terms by the social media, while using GPS tracked health monitors or GPS tracked maps. I would like to draw your attention to one specific example, in supermarkets the shelves and aisles constructed in a way that the cashier can see the shoppers. When you go to Dunnes Stores or Tesco next time, pay specific attention, or you might already have seen that while you are shopping you can almost see the cashier. Do you think that their job is only do the checkout? Next time when you are shopping, just have a look to the cashier, you will realise that their eyes will be watching the shoppers also. How many of us turns off the smartphones while sleeping? By unconsciously, our smartphones are transmitting data even when we are asleep. Like Truman, our lives are monitored and being watched 24 hours, 7 days a week.

In the movie continuous intervention works to transform Truman into a particular type of person, a ‘normal’ person, and his world was constructed by this way. The director of his life, Christof (starred by Ed Harris) controls Truman’s life by having detailed knowledge of Truman, He states: “any unpredictable behaviour must be reported”. By this way intervention was possible to prevent any unwanted behaviours, disciplining him to transform into a particular type of person.

The Truman Show is a great film to watch as an example of what hyperreality is. It is also a good example of a postmodern movie. It shows how the media has affected people’s ability to differentiate between what is real and what is a simulation.