Stillness of star-less nights: Afghan Women’s Poetry of Exile

Rumpa Das, Maheshtala College, South 24 Parganas, India

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Contemporary English poetry by Afghan women presents a remarkable reading experience. Critical explorations, at ease with post-colonial conditions, minority solitude and feminist readings, have largely remained inimical to the unique, yet chequered history that women poets such as Zohra Saed, Sahar Muradi, Sara Hakeem, Fatana Jahangir Ahrary, Fevziye Rahzigar Barlas and Donia Gobar document in their works. Most of them write in their native Dari and Pushtun languages as well as in English and often their English compositions have smatterings of their native tongues. Even though individual experiences differ, these women delve into the collective memory of oppression, pain and unrest to give vent to their feelings, and seek to reach out towards a sorority of shared angst. This paper seeks to explore the complex cultural contexts which have given birth to Afghan women’s poetry in exile.

The Poetics of John Ashbery

Gargi Bhattacharya, Rabindra Bharati University

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John Ashbery (1927- ) takes the postmodernist polysemy of meaning in interpreting a work of art and the polyphony of styles in composing as his forte. He questions the various linguistic codes and makes us aware of the artificiality of the language. All political, ethical and aesthetic imperatives are rhetorical constructs. The writer uses language to persuade the reader to accept the formulated truth and he intervenes in the process of perception by his/her politics of representation. Though his iconoclastic approach towards writing and individuality of style has kept him aloof from mainstream academic syllabi, yet he has now become a prominent figure in Contemporary American Literature. It is interesting to note how Ashbery’s poetry revives the Romantic sensibility while applying the digitalized methods and the postmodern syndromes of immediacy, indeterminacy, disjunctive syntax, open-ended and multiplicity of interpretations. This paper explores the aesthetics of John Ashbery’s poetry.

Bob Dylan’s Folk Poetics in the Later Albums: Telling the Story of America in Ruins in Simple Poetic Language

Matt Shedd, University of Oregon, USA

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Bob Dylan’s recent albums have returned to a more basic sense of American vernacular and poetics, employing stock phrases that evoke a rural America of the past. However, the past does not provide any shelter from modern day angst and impending devastation. We see this particularly in the 2001’s Love and Theft, coincidentally released on the day of the Twin Towers attack. By foregoing concepts of radical artistic individuality, Dylan use more traditional folk poetics to provide a historical and communal account of the descent of the United States into what Dylan calls “an empire in ruins.”

Five Poems of Peter Nicholson

                               A Life

No intermediary in the passing night

Brought better news than what the heart revealed,

Sending from its furthest reaches news

Of bitter blood, infatuated calm

Or a tempest of delighted skin.

Thus at midnight, with the world beyond

Your fragmentary reach at goodnesses,

Silence then was best—you were just a guest

Of something larger than this sorrowing.

No use to reason why the crest of time

Has danced on you, then left a trampled rind.

You lived and knew the best, then left your life behind.

Science, Love, Literature: John Donne and Constance Naden

Mahitosh Mandal, Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Kolkata, India


This paper attempts to understand how science is blended with literature in John Donne and Constance Naden, how the blending is a patterned one, and how a new poetics is developed out of this. Along with this is analyzed how literature can become a valuable document for science, especially for recording its reception. Consequently, both the socio-cultural emergence and development of science and literature are considered.

Text, Reader and Metaphor: Exploring Links between ‘Disparate Domains’ in Some Novels of Charles Dickens

Ralla Guha Niyogi, Basanti Devi College, Kolkata

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One of the literary devices often used in a creative work is the metaphor. In my paper, I aim to analyze the reasons why a novel uses metaphors at all, the importance of the reader’s response to the text and how the use of metaphorical language creates a specific world within the text, thereby imparting a special significance to the novel as an artistic whole. I have referred to a few novels of Charles Dickens, relating them to the phenomenological theory of art and the Reader – Response Theory. I have further attempted to explore linguistic views and theories by Roman Ingarden, Wolfgang Iser, Jauss and Saussure among others, relating their views to the use of metaphor in literary works in general, and to some of Dickens’s novels in particular. I have shown how Dickens relates the metaphor of the machine as signifying mechanical human responses in the ‘disparate domains’ of the school and the home. Indeed, the metaphor serves as a bridge between the text and the reader, linking hitherto unrelated facts and endowing a literary work with an evocative quality that enhances its artistic value.

Ontological Concerns in Charles Dickens’s “The Ivy Green” and Odysseus Elytis’ “The Mad Pomegranate Tree”: A Comparison

Bibhudutt Dash, SCS College, Puri, Orissa

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This paper compares the existential problems addressed in Charles Dickens’ poem “The Ivy Green” and the Greek poet Odysseus Elytis’ poem “The Mad Pomegranate Tree.” While it highlights Dickens’ portrayal of the theme of death, contrasted with Elytis’ rapture at the variegated functions and the youthfulness of the tree, it also underlines how the lithesome movement of the Ivy green upon the dead awakens in us an understanding of the inevitable.

Ajitesh Bandopadhay: In the Neighbourhood of Liminality

Rajdeep Konar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

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In my essay I would like to investigate the shift of paradigms in the relationship between theatre and politics that director, playwright and actor Ajitesh Bandopadhay (1933-83) was bringing into Bengali theatre. I would like to analyze how in the field of theater he was trying to form a threshold space: a threshold where politics and ethics, community and the individual, global and local can exist together as equals not imparting the hegemony of one on the other. How Ajitesh strove to conceive a theatre which puts forth itself as an analytical presence of life and society unmediated by an ideological or ethical regime. I would like to argue that it is in such a liminal presence in theatre, politics and the world; that the key to our future community of equality lie. This would also be an attempt at reclaiming the legacy of Ajitesh, whose influence on Bengali theatre has been hugely underplayed by the rather scanty posthumous attention being paid to his work.

“Acrobating between Tradition and Modern”: The Roots Movement and Theatre’s Negotiation with Modernity in India

Anuparna Mukherjee, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

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When playwrights like Girish Karnad joined the stage after the nation’s independence in 1947, the Indian theatre was suffering from acute identity crises being torn between its ancient cultural past and its more recent colonial legacy, which gave birth to hybrid dramatic forms. Several theatre personalities at that time articulated the aspirations of a newly independent nation through their attempts to decolonize the aesthetics of modern Indian theatre by retracing its roots in the repository of India’s classical and folk traditions.  In the light of these developments my paper aims to look at some of the diverse indigenous forms that had been deployed with much success in plays like Karnad’s Hayavadana or Tanvir’s Charandas Chor, thereby significantly contributing to the larger project of decolonization after independence. At the same time the paper also wishes to interrogate whether this ambivalent process of Indianization, sometimes loosely brought under the umbrella of ‘Roots Movement’, is quintessentially ‘anti-modern’, or whether it is actually an attempt to evolve a discourse of an ‘alternate modernity’ by subverting some of the paradigms of its European counterpart which are actually a by-product of both capitalism and imperialism in the West.

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