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Interpretation: New Focus within Literary Research

Julieta Leo

Universidad de Monterrey. ORCID ID: 0000-0003-4180-2985. Email: julieta.leo@udem.edu

Volume IX, Number 3, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n3.05

Received July 31, 2017; Revised September 13, 2017; Accepted September 17, 2017; Published September 20,  2017.

Abstract

The differences and difficulties found upon doing literary research are analyzed.  The fact that researchers also interpret is highlighted as well as the need for sufficient time and freedom to do their research.  The use of adequate selection criteria, the subjectivity and intuition of the exegete, as well as the use of concepts such as respect for the literal meaning (Umberto Eco) and the analogy of proportion (Inger Enkvist) are proposed as appropriate guidelines for establishing renovated, but systematic reading of texts.

Keywords: literary theory, hermeneutics, research strategies, reading.

The Fruitful and the Fulfilled: Looking at Adi Rasa and Shringar Rasa in the Folk Aesthetics of Bihu

Prerana Choudhury, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Abstract
This paper seeks to explore the folk aesthetics of the springtime Bihu festival of Assam. The concept of Rasa, a significant part of the classical aesthetics found in Bharatmuni’s Natyashastra, has been outlined and illustrated through the Bihu songs- the dancing, the gestures as well as the overall ethos of the festival. A major aspect of the paper is the dialectics that form between the folk and the classical canon; an effort has been made to understand the juxtaposition of the two as well as the formation of the classical from the folk. Bihu as a celebration of eros, romance and fertility forms the core of the argument; adi-rasa and shringar-rasa form the primary essence of this celebration and this paper. This folk festival is undergoing rapid modernisation which has brought the dance form onto the urban stage that has led to the metamorphosis of the otherwise agricultural nomenclature of Bihu into a more ‘sanitised’ version of the same.

[Keywords: aesthetics, folk, rasa, adi-rasa, shringar-rasa, modernity, eros, romance, Natyashastra, gamusa, Huchori.]

I. Introduction
Rasa, the essence of a work of art, literally translates to ‘taste’ or ‘savour’. Theorised by the ancient sage Bharatmuni (between 200 BC and 200 AD), rasa refers to the specialised emotion inspired by the performers in an audience, which enables the viewers to relish the performance and engage with it in a manner that is deeper and more involved than in the actions of everyday living. It is what demarcates a performance, a work of art- or even a celebration- from the mundaneness of daily existence and thereby aestheticises the emotions provoked in the viewers by the ‘spectacle’ created to inspire good thought which in turn will inspire good living. The moral injunction within a classical framework such as that of the rasa theory is undeniable- it would be largely reminiscent of the question about art’s moral responsibility in place throughout history- specially in the context that the Natyashastra itself arrived at a time when society faced decadence, and it was left to the realm of the arts to elevate man from moral downtroddenness. (It is said that the four Vedas Brahma created- Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda- were not allowed to be studied by the lower castes and the women of society; so Brahma created the Natyaveda to be studied and practised by all.) Is the experience of rasa subjective or objective? Different philosophers and scholars thoughout history have provided their own perspective on it based on their philosophical stances. Although the navarasas per se are objective categories in terms of codification of the aesthetic experience through particular words themselves, Bharata stated how rasa and emotionneed to be felt in experience while words exist as the suggestions of the same. This democratic rendering of rasa stresses on the ‘experiential or subjective side of poetic meaning’ which ‘seems rather pointless, for ultimately everything is an experience, such as a colour, taste, or emotion, and can be known as it is in itself only through direct acquaintance.’

II. “The Springtime Bihu of Assam”- a Celebration of Eros
One of the seven northeastern states of India, Assam encompasses numerous ethnic communities, each with its own distinct cultural flavour, thereby negating the notion of a homogenous ‘Assamese’ identity. The contours of such a representation would be multifaceted, then; not simply as a result of diverse tribal identities but also as a consequence of the interaction between the ‘greater’ mainland Hindu influence that has seeped into the region and interacted with ‘indigenous’ tribal faiths, ensuing a process of assimilation. This can be said to have been possible because “(t)he religion described as Hinduism is a body of beliefs and customs traceable to various sources- Aryan and non-Aryan, Indian and non-Indian, modern and old. It is absorptive in character and has an attitude which has found itself expedient in dealing with people of various grades of development- from believing in a super soul to worshippers of stones and trees… Indian folklore is as much the Hindu’s as it is the tribal’s.” A melting pot, hence, Assam fuses communities that trace their origin to the Aryavarta, the Tibeto-Burmans and the Ahoms who are descendants of the Shun community from China’s Unan province, alongwith traces of Dravidian and Austric people as well….Access Full Text of the Article

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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Abstract

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.

Mary Magdalene or Virgin Mary: Nationalism and the Concept of Woman in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

Sayyed Rahim Moosavinia, Seyyede Maryam Hosseini & Shahid Chamran

University of Ahvaz, Iran

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Abstract

Foucault believes that people live in systems of power different from one era to another. He applies the term “power archives” to demonstrate that those inside an institute cannot be aware of the subtle ways of power imposed on them. Likewise, it would be oversimplification to think that with the apparent end of colonialism, the colonized subjects will be free from subjugating contexts. In the case of women, the situation is even worse since they are repressed by both the colonialist and the post-colonial nationalist. “Under the anxiety of the influence” of the former colonial father, the once-belittled colonial men turn to support their females in terms of their body and soul, and in this way define them inside a strictly demarcated roles of good wives, mothers, and households or vicious prostitutes. Bessie Head in her semi-autobiographical masterpiece subtly examines this idea and through her coloured protagonist, Elizabeth, attempts to re-deconstruct this notion.

Giving the Lie: Ingenuity in Subaltern Resistance in Premchand’s short story ‘The Shroud’

Somdev Banik, Government Degree College, Tripura, India

Abstract

It is not always that the subaltern cannot speak, though their authentic representation is often more pronounced in the regional literatures, rather than in Indian Writings in English. The subaltern in Premchand’s story ‘The Shroud’ not only resists the forces of exploitation, but subverts dominant social mores and traditions to gain an advantage over the master class, forcing them to shell out money which they wouldn’t have otherwise in ordinary circumstances. This glory of victory is attenuated by the realization that the subaltern in turn is also an exploiter of the woman in the family, who in life and death is used for sustaining self-interests of the males of the family. 

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