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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Theme in Literature

Definition

Theme refers to the general topic or subject, or the main idea in a literary work such as, a story, an essay, or a narrative. Some common examples of themes include: love, friendship, war, crime, punishment, death, revenge, nature, isolation, etc.

Characteristics

The basic characteristics of a theme could be outlined as under:
  • It acts as a framework for the entire literary piece.
  • It is a distinct, recurring, and unifying quality or idea.
  • It is usually universal in nature.
  • Generally conveys a moral or message about society, life or human nature.
  • Stated either direct or indirect manner.
  • Theme is abstract in nature.
  •  A theme does not necessarily need to be true in the real world.
  • Theme binds together everything: the characters, the plot and the setting.

Components

A theme has two components namely, the thematic concept and the thematic statement. The thematic concept simply refers to the subject or topic of the work, while the thematic statement refers to what the author remarks or opines about that subject. The thematic concept thus is usually an abstract element, like “transgression” or “atonement”, while the thematic statement is generally the concretization of that abstract idea through images, setting, and most commonly through the characters’ actions, words, and thoughts. Whereas the former is expressed in word or phrase level, the latter is expressed in a sentence and is often a general statement about society, life or human nature.

Thematic Concept vs. Thematic Statement

Types of Themes

Themes are of two types: major themes and minor themes.  A Major theme is an idea which is repeated or given prominence throughout the story. Hence it acts as the central driving force in a literary work. A minor theme, on the other hand, is an idea that occurs for a short period. It is of less significance and usually appears for part of the story only to be replaced by another minor theme.

For instance, Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day (1956) consists of the following major and minor themes:
Major Themes
  • Alienation.
  • Meaningless of Life.
  • Affirmation of Human Life.
Minor Themes
  • Deceit.
  • Conflict between Father and Son.
  • Conflict between Husband and Wife.

Determining a Theme

A literary work may comprise more than one theme. The writer himself may infuse his work with multiple themes. Again, the same work may produce other themes due to reader’s individualistic way of interpretation. It is indeed, very hard to stipulate any specific yardstick for identifying a theme. This statement is very logical when we compare it with the point of individualistic interpretation as stated earlier. However, we can still try to identify themes by the following ways:
  • Studying character’s dialogues.
  • Studying character’s thoughts and feelings.
  • Studying character's actions, beliefs, etc.
  • Studying specific events and contexts.
  • Studying character’s change in mood and attitude.
  • Studying the author's background.
  • Identifying the main topics or subjects.
  • Analyzing the title of the work.
  • Determining the imagery, motifs, figure of speech, etc.
  • Identifying the presence of any universal topics, such as human struggle and so the like.

 

 

 

References

Gupta, A.N. and Satis Gupta. A Dictionary of English Literature. 2nd ed. Bareilly: PBD, 1995

Griffith, Benjamin W. A Pocket Guide to Literature and Language Terms. Newyork: Barron's, 1976

“Theme”. Literary Terms. 2016. Literary Terms. 15 July 2016 < http://literaryterms.net/theme/>.

" Theme (narrative)”. Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 15 July 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theme_(narrative)>.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

D.H. Lawrence Quick Facts

D.H. Lawrence

20th century English novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, and literary critic, best known for his 1928 infamous novel Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Profile
D.H. Lawrence

  • Birth Name: David Herbert Richards Lawrence
  • AKA: D.H.  Lawrence
  • Date of Birth: 11 September 1885
  • Place of Birth: Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo
  • Death: 2 March 1930
  • Place of Death: Vence, France
  • Cause of Death: Tuberculosis
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British
  • Place of Burial: Chapel East of Taos, New Mexico (Ashes)
  • Last Words: “I’m getting better.”
  • Epitaph: “Homo sum! the adventurer.”
  • Father: Arthur John Lawrence (1847 - 1924)
  • Mother: Lydia Lawrence (née Beardsall) (1852 - 1910)
  • Siblings:
1. Brother- George Lawrence (1876 – 1967)
2. Brother- William Ernest Lawrence (1878 -1901)
3. Sister- Emily Una Lawrence (1882 -1962)
4. Sister- Lettice Ada Lawrence (1887 – 1948)
  • Spouse: Frieda Lawrence (née von Richthofen) (b. 1879 - d. 1956; m. 1914 to until his demise)
  • Children: None
  • Alma Mater: University College of Nottingham, Nottingham High School
  • Known for: linguistic precision, mastery of a wide range of subject matters and genres, psychological complexity and exploration of female sexuality
  • Criticized for: presenting controversial themes with graphic and highly sexual content
  • Influences: Herman Melville (1819 –1891), Walt Whitman (1819 –1892), Thomas Hardy (1840 –1928), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 –1900), Sigmund Freud (1856 –1939), Ezra Pound (1885 –1972), Joseph Conrad (1857 –1924), Henri Bergson (1859–1941), Otto Gross (1877–1920), E.M. Forster (1879 – 1970), and Aldous Huxley (1894 –1963)
  • Influenced: Harriet Monroe (1860 –1936), Amy Lowell (1874 –1925), Meridel LeSueur (1900–1996), Elizabeth Bishop (1911 –1979), Tennessee Williams (1911 –1983), Carson McCullers (1917 –1967), Karl Shapiro (1913 –2000), Denise Levertov (1923 –1997), Robert Bly (b. 1926), Galway Kinnell (1927 –2014), Adrienne Rich (1929 –2012), and Ted Hughes (1930 –1998)

Quotes

“But that is how men are! Ungrateful and never satisfied. When you don't have them they hate you because you won't; and when you do have them they hate you again, for some other reason. Or for no reason at all, except that they are discontented children, and can't be satisfied whatever they get, let a woman do what she may.” D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover
“So as long as you can forget your body you are happy and the moment you begin to be aware of your body, you are wretched. So if civilization is any good, it has to help us forget our bodies, and then time passes happily without our knowing it. Help us get rid of our bodies altogether.” D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover
“He always ran away from the battle with himself. Even in his own heart's privacy, he excused himself, saying, "If she hadn't said so-and-so, it would never have happened.” D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

Major Themes

  • Male-Female Relationship
  • Human Psyche
  • Love and Sex
  • Class Barriers
  • Homosexuality
  • Misogyny
  • The Working Class
  • Technology and Modernization
  • Leadership

Notable Works

Novels
  • The White Peacock (1911)
  • The Trespasser (1912)
  • Sons and Lovers (1913)
  • The Rainbow (1915)
  • Women in Love (1920)
  • The Lost Girl (1920)
  • Aaron's Rod (1922)
  • Kangaroo (1923)
  • The Boy in the Bush (1924)
  • The Plumed Serpent (1926)
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)
  • The Escaped Cock (1929)
  • The Man Who Died (1929)
  • The Virgin and the Gypsy (1930)
Short stories
  • The Prussian Officer and Other Stories (1914)
  • England, My England and Other Stories (1922)
  • The Fox, The Captain's Doll,The Ladybird (1923)
  • St Mawr and other stories (1925)
  • The Woman who Rode Away and other stories (1928)
  • The Virgin and the Gipsy and Other Stories (1930)
  • Love Among the Haystacks and other stories (1930)
  • Collected Stories (1994)
Poetry
  • Love Poems and others (1913)
  • Amores (1916)
  • Look! We have come through! (1917)
  • New Poems (1918)
  • Bay: a book of poems (1919)
  • Tortoises (1921)
  • Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923)
  • The Collected Poems of D H Lawrence (1928)
  • Pansies (1929)
  • Nettles (1930)
  • Last Poems (1932)
  • Fire and other poems (1940)
  • The Complete Poems of D H Lawrence (1964)
Plays
  • The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (1914)
  • Touch and Go (1920)
  • David (1926)
  • The Fight for Barbara (1933)
  • A Collier's Friday Night (1934)
  • The Married Man (1940)
  • The Merry-go-round (1941)
  • The Complete Plays of D H Lawrence (1965)
Non-fiction
  • Study of Thomas Hardy and other essays (1914)
  • Movements in European History (1921)
  • Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious and Fantasia of the Unconscious (1921/1922)
  • Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)
  • Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine and other essays (1925)
  • A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1929)
  • Apocalypse and the writings on Revelation (1931)
  • Phoenix: the posthumous papers of D H Lawrence (1936)
  • Phoenix II: uncollected, unpublished and other prose works by D H Lawrence (1968)
Travel books
  • Twilight in Italy and Other Essays (1916)
  • Sea and Sardinia (1921)
  • Mornings in Mexico (1927)

Did You Know?

  • D. H. Lawrence was the fourth child of the five children of an illiterate coal miner Arthur John Lawrence and his wife Lydia Lawrence, a former school teacher.
  • His mother had to manual work in a lace factory in order to support her financially unstable family.
  • Lawrence’s mother was from a middle class religious family.
  • Lawrence inherited his love for literature from his mother.
  • When he was twenty seven, Lawrence fell in love with Frieda Weekley, the wife of Ernest Weekley, his former professor at Nottingham University. Frieda, who was six years older than Lawrence eloped with him to Germany leaving behind her husband and three children. Before returning back to England the couple travelled to Bavaria, Austria, and Italy.
  • In Germany Lawrence stayed with Frieda’s parents’ home at Metz, where he was eventually arrested and accused of being a British spy. He was then released following an intervention from Frieda's father.
  • Following her divorce from Weekley, Frieda and Lawrence got married at the Kensington's Registrar's Office, in London on 13th July 1914.
  • Although the couple intended to return to Italy in August 1914, the outbreak of the First World War confined them in England.
  • Leaving post-war England they travelled widely, finally settling at the Kiowa Ranch near Taos, New Mexico due to his continued health decline.
  • The Kiowa Ranch is now known as D. H. Lawrence Ranch.
  • After Lawrence’s death in Vence, France in 1930, Frieda returned to Taos to live with her third husband, Angelo Ravagli.
  • Lawrence was originally buried in the old Vence cemetery, but was exhumed in March 1935. His ashes were then handed over to Angelo Ravagli so that they could be transported to the shrine at Kiowa Ranch, New Mexico.
  • There are some speculations that the ashes were dumped by Ravagli somewhere between Marseilles and Villefranche and that he subsequently procured alternative ashes which he eventually took to Taos. Again, another rumor is that that the ashes arrived safely at Kiowa Ranch and Frieda opted to have them added to the concrete of the shrine.
  • Only ten people attended D. H. Lawrence’s funeral, one of the notable mourners was his friend Aldous Huxley.
  • Before falling in love with Frieda, Lawrence proposed to his college friend Louie Burrows. But he ended the engagement soon after he decided to elope with Frieda.
  • Although chiefly venerated as a novelist, Lawrence’s first-published works were poems.
  • D.H. Lawrence's first novel The White Peacock was published in 1910.
  • Lawrence's mother died of cancer shortly after his first novel was published, with Lawrence reported to have given her an overdose of 'sleeping medicine', to end the pain that she was suffering.
  • His quasi-autobiographical novel Sons and Lovers is considered Lawrence’s first great novel which was published in 1913.
  • The Rainbow was published in 1915 but was condemned for its sexual content.
  • His Lady Chatterley's Lover was published in Italy in 1928, but it was banned in the United States until 1958 due to its graphic sexual content. It was banned in England till 1960, until a jury ruled in favor of Penguin Books. Some feminist critics now claim the novel to be deeply misogynistic, because part of its argument is that women will reach true fulfillment only by submitting themselves to men.
  • D.H. Lawrence's birthplace has been transformed into a museum, and has been converted back to how it would have looked when Lawrence was a child.

Photo Gallery

 
D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence with Frieda Weekley in Chapala, Mexico in 1923

References

" D.H. Lawrence.” Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 21 June 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._H._Lawrence>.

" DH Lawrence.” The Biography.com website. 2016. A&E Television Networks. 21 June 2016
< http://www.biography.com/people/dh-lawrence-17175776>.

" DH Lawrence 1885 - 1930.” Gavin Gillespie. 2014. Gavin Gillespie. 21 June 2016
< http://www.gavingillespie.co.uk/>.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Quotations by George Orwell

GEORGE ORWELL (1903-1950), 20TH CENTURY BRITISH WRITER


“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm


“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

“All men are enemies. All animals are comrades”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

“Four legs good, two legs better! All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“The only good human being is a dead one.”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

 “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?”
~ George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

 “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”
~ George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

“One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

“This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
~ George Orwell

 “The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“If there really is such a thing as turning in one's grave, Shakespeare must get a lot of exercise.”
~ George Orwell, All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays

“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a physical necessity.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“The distinguishing mark of man is the hand, the instrument with which he does all his mischief.”
~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

“All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.”
~ George Orwell, Why I Write

“Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Quotations by Tennessee Williams

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS (1911-1983), AN INFLUENTIAL AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHT


 “What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

“Time doesn't take away from friendship, nor does separation.”
~ Tennessee Williams, Memoirs

“I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And it that's sinful, then let me be damned for it!”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

 “There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”
~ Tennessee Williams

“How beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

“Time is the longest distance between two places.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.”
~ Tennessee Williams, Camino Real

 “I've got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?”
~ Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 “When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.”
~ Tennessee Williams, Camino Real

 “Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory.”
~ Tennessee Williams

“Physical beauty is passing - a transitory possession - but beauty of the mind, richness of the spirit, tenderness of the heart - I have all these things - aren't taken away but grow! Increase with the years!”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

“The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

 “What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?—I wish I knew... Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can...”
~ Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 “Oh, you can't describe someone you're in love with!”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

“The rest of my days I'm going to spend on the sea. And when I die, I'm going to die on the sea. You know what I shall die of? I shall die of eating an unwashed grape. One day out on the ocean I will die--with my hand in the hand of some nice looking ship's doctor, a very young one with a small blond moustache and a big silver watch. "Poor lady," they'll say, "The quinine did her no good. That unwashed grape has transported her soul to heaven.”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

 “Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else. I am disappointed but I am not discouraged.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

 “Mendacity is a system that we live in," declares Brick. "Liquor is one way out an'death's the other.”
~ Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 “He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was sixteen, I made the discovery - love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding on something that had always been half in shadow, that's how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded.”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

 “Well, honey, a shot never does a coke any harm!”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

“The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

 “You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

 “What on earth can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you, with both your fingers, until your fingers are broken?”
~ Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending

 “In all these years, you never believed I loved you. And I did. I did so much. I did love you. I even loved your hate and your hardness.”
~ Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 “All pretty girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

 “Show me a person who hasn´t known any sorrow and I´ll show you a superficial.”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

 “Everybody is nothing until you love them.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Rose Tattoo

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

 “We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore

 “Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

 “I think that hate is a feeling that can only exist where there is no understanding.”
~ Tennessee Williams, Sweet Bird of Youth

 “Some things are not forgiveable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgiveable. It is the most unforgiveable thing in my opinion, and the one thing in which I have never, ever been guilty.”
~ Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
~ Tennessee Williams

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Tennessee Williams Quick Facts

Tennessee Williams

Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, noted chiefly for his classic plays such as, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959)

Profile

  • Full Name: Tennessee Williams
  • Birth Name: Thomas Lanier Williams III
  • Date of Birth: March 26, 1911
  • Place of Birth: Columbus, Mississippi, United States
  • Zodiac Sign: Aries
  • Nationality: American
  • Death: February 25, 1983
  • Place of Death: New York City, New York, United States
  • Epitaph: “The violets in the mountain have broken the rocks.”
  • Cause of Death: Choking
  • Place of Burial: Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
  • Father: Cornelius Coffin Williams (1879-1957)
  • Mother: Edwina Estelle Dakin Williams (1884-1980)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister- Rose Isabel Williams (1909-1996)
2. Brother- Walter Dakin Williams (1919-2008)
  • Partner: Frank Merlo  (1922–1963)
  • Children: None
  • Alma Mater: Soldan High School, University City High School, University of Iowa, University of Missouri
  • Known for: his distinct variety of emotional realism
  • Criticized for: openly addressing taboo topics in his plays
  • Influences: William Shakespeare (1564 –1616), Emily Dickinson (1830 –1886), August Strindberg (1849 –1912), Arthur Rimbaud (1854 –1891), Anton Chekhov (1860 –1904), James Joyce (1882 –1941), D. H. Lawrence (1885 –1930), Eugene O’Neill (1888 –1953), William Faulkner (1897–1962), Hart Crane (1899 –1932), Ernest Hemingway (1899 –1961), Thomas Wolfe (1900 –1938), and William Inge (1913–1973)
  • Influenced: John Waters (1946), David Mamet (1947), Tony Kushner (1956), and Suzan-Lori Parks (1963)

Awards

  1. Group Theatre Prize (1939)
  2. Rockefeller Grant (1939)
  3. Sidney Howard Memorial Award, The Glass Menagerie (1945)
  4. Donaldson Award, The Glass Menagerie (1945)
  5. New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, The Glass Menagerie (1945)
  6. New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, A Streetcar Named Desire (1948)
  7. Donaldson Award, A Streetcar Named Desire (1948)
  8. Pulitzer Prize, A Streetcar Named Desire (1948)
  9. Tony Award, The Rose Tattoo (1952)
  10. Pulitzer Prize, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955)
  11. Tony Award, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955)
  12. New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, The Night of the Iguana (1961)
  13. Tony Award, The Night of the Iguana (1961)
  14. Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980)

Quotes

“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.” Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

Major Themes

  • Psychological and Spiritual Displacement
  • Loss of Connections
  • Loneliness
  • Self Deception
  • Retrogression into Sexual Hedonism

Notable Works

  • Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay (1937)
  • Candles to the Sun (1937)
  • The Fugitive Kind (1937)
  • Battle of Angels (1940)
  • The Glass Menagerie (1944)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)
  • Summer and Smoke (1948)
  • The Rose Tattoo (1951)
  • Camino Real (1953)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955)
  • Baby Doll (1956, screenplay)
  • Orpheus Descending (1957)
  • Sweet Bird of Youth (1959)
  • Period of Adjustment (1960)
  • The Night of the Iguana (1961)
  • The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1963)
  • The Seven Descents of Myrtle (1968)
  • Out Cry (1973)
  • The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (1976)
  • Vieux Carré (1977)
  • Clothes for a Summer Hotel (1980)

Did You Know?

  • Tennessee Williams was the second child of Cornelius Coffin Williams and Edwina Estelle Dakin Williams.
  • His father was an alcoholic travelling shoe salesman.
  • In the year 1939 Williams started using the name Tennessee Williams instead of his given name.
  • Throughout his life Williams remained close to his sister Rose who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a young woman.
  • During her teenage Rose foolishly fell in love with a boy, to whom Williams was attracted as well.
  • His unfavourable childhood and personal experience provided much idea for his theme and character development.
  • Williams was an alcoholic and often sought comfort in pills.
  • Before accepting homosexuality Williams made several attempts to form relationship with women.
  • Soon after A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) opened, Williams lost his confidence in writing and travelled Europe to recover from his loss. During this unproductive period he heavily relied upon alcohol, pills and casual gay sex.
  • Having returned from Europe he re-encountered Frank Merlo, a truck driver, who he met one year back. Later on, the pair fell in love and Merlo moved in with Williams. Merlo cleaned the apartment, cooked all the meals, acted as chauffeur and managed correspondence. Merlo gradually detached Williams from dependence on alcohol, casual sex and pills. As a result, Williams once again found the peace of mind to concentrate in writing.
  • Since Williams couldn’t keep himself aloof from sex and alcoholism, cracks began to develop in their enduring relationship. Consequently, Merlo and Williams separated briefly in 1961 and again in 1962.
  • Shortly after their breakup, Merlo was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and Williams returned to take care of him until his death.
  • Grief-stricken by Merlo’s demise, William fell into a seven-year period of depression, promiscuous sex, alcohol abuse and drug use. Consequently, his subsequent plays became mediocre and were not even close to the quality of his earlier works. In 1969, he had a nervous breakdown and his brother Dakin had him committed to a mental hospital in St. Louis, where Williams stayed for three months.
  • In 1975 Williams published Memoirs, in which he wrote candidly about his addictions, family crises, and homosexuality.
  • Tennessee Williams was the first American playwright to frankly incorporate the idea of homosexuality in plays when none could even dare to imagine it.

Pictures

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams




References

" Tennessee Williams.” Shmoop. 2016. Shmoop University Inc. 20 May 2016
< http://www.shmoop.com/tennessee-williams/>.

" Tennessee Williams.” Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 20 May 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Williams>.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Quotations by Virginia Woolf

VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941), ENGLISH NOVELIST, ESSAYIST, PUBLISHER, AND CRITIC


“The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts

“What does the brain matter compared with the heart?”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“When the body escaped mutilation, seldom did the heart go to the grave unscarred.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of - to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others... and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.”
~  Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

“Once she knows how to read there's only one thing you can teach her to believe in and that is herself.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Monday or Tuesday

“There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, 'Consume me'.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Waves

“I need silence, and to be alone and to go out, and to save one hour to consider what has happened to my world, what death has done to my world.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Waves

“A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“I'm sick to death of this particular self. I want another.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”
~  Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

“He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself up in a little world of one’s own, with pictures and music and everything beautiful.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

“The taste for books was an early one. As a child he was sometimes found at midnight by a page still reading. They took his taper away, and he bred glow-worms to serve his purpose. They took the glow-worms away and he almost burnt the house down with a tinder.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

 “She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Waves

 “The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because you will not allow them to fetter that independence which is the most important quality that a reader can possess. After all, what laws can be laid down about books? The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions-there we have none.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Second Common Reader

“Anyone who has the temerity to write about Jane Austen is aware of [two] facts: first, that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness; second, that there are twenty-five elderly gentlemen living in the neighbourhood of London who resent any slight upon her genius as if it were an insult to the chastity of their aunts.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee’s life of the poet. She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross–roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here to–night, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her. For my belief is that if we live another century or so—I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals—and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting–room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky. too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton’s bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would be impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worthwhile.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Percy Shelley Quick Facts

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Major English Romantic poet and one of the greatest lyric poets in the history of English literature.

Profile

  • Full Name: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • AKA: P.B. Shelley
  • Date of Birth: August 4, 1792
  • Place of Birth: Field Place, Horsham, Sussex, England
  • Zodiac Sign: Leo
  • Death: July 8, 1822
  • Place of Death: Lerici, Kingdom of Sardinia
  • Cause of Death: Drowning
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British
  • Place of Burial:
1. Protestant Cemetery, Rome (Ashes)
2. St Peter's Churchyard, Bournemouth, Dorset, England (Heart)
  • Epitaph:
“Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.”
  • Father: Timothy Shelley (1753-1844)
  • Mother: Elizabeth Pilfold Shelley (1763-1846)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister- Elizabeth Shelley (?-1831)
2. Sister- Mary Shelley (?-?)
3. Sister- Hellen Shelley (?-1885)
4. Sister- Margaret Shelley (?-1887)
5. Sister- Name unknown (died in infancy)
6. Brother- John Shelley (1806-1866)
  • Spouses & Children:
1. Harriet Westbrook (b. 1795- d. 1816; m. 1811 to until her demise)
1. Daughter: Ianthe Shelley (1813-1876)
2. Son: Charles Shelley (1814-1826)
2. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley (b. 1797-d. 1851; m. 1816 to until his death)
1. Daughter: Clara Shelley (1813)
2. Son: William Shelley (1816-1819)
3. Daughter: Clara Everina Shelley (1817-1818)
4. Son: Percy Florence Shelley (1819-1888)
  • Alma Mater: Eton College; University College, Oxford
  • Known for: his lyrical and imaginative powers
  • Criticized for: being over-sensitive and over-sad
  • Influences: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 –1778), Dr. James Lind (1736-1812), Thomas Paine (1737–1809), William Godwin (1756 –1836), Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 –1797), and William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
  • Influenced: Robert Browning (1812–1889), Henry David Thoreau (1817 –1862), Karl Marx (1818-1883), Leo Tolstoy (1828 –1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882), Thomas Hardy (1840 –1928), Oscar Wilde (1854 –1900), George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), Rabindranath Tagor (1861 –1941), W. B. Yeats (1865–1939), Mahatma Gandhi (1869 –1948), Bertrand Russell (1872 –1970), Upton Sinclair (1878 –1968), Isadora Duncan (1877–1927), and Jibanananda Das (1899 –1954)

Quotes

“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Major Themes

  • Love and freedom
  • Idealism
  • Nature
  • Atheism
  • Injustice
  • Revolution
  • Inspiration
  • Narcissism
  • Immortality vs. Mortality

Notable Works

Poetry
  • Ozymandias
  • The Revolt of Islam
  • Adonaïs
  • Ode to the West Wind
  • Music, To a Skylark
  • The Cloud
  • The Mask of Anarchy
  • When Soft Voices Die
  • Alastor
  • Queen Mab
  • The Triumph of Life
  • Prometheus Unbound
  • The Cenci
  • A Bridal Song
  • A Hate Song
  • A Dialogue
  • A Lament
  • A Serpent Face
  • A Fragment: To Music
  • A Dirge
  • A New National Anthem
  • Alas! This is not What I thought Life Was
Prose
  • The Assassins, A Fragment of a Romance
  • The Elysian Fields: A Lucianic Fragment
  • The Coliseum, A Fragment
  • Una Favola (A Fable)
  • Zastorri (1810)
  • St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian in (1811)

Did You Know?

  • Shelley was the first of seven survived children born to Sir Timothy Shelley and Elizabeth Pilfold Shelley.
  • His father was a Whig Parliamentarian.
  • In March 25, 1811 Shelley was expelled from Oxford University because he refused to deny the authorship of a pamphlet called The Necessity of Atheism.
  • When he was 19, Shelley used to write political pamphlets, often sending them out in bottles or homemade paper boats over the water, or inside fire balloons into the sky.
  • In 1818 Shelley eloped to Scotland with sixteen year-old Harriet Westbrook and married her despite the fact that he did not love her and disliked the concept of marriage.
  • When his father learnt about Shelley’s marriage, he temporarily cut off Shelley’s monetary allowance.
  • Shelley was increasingly unhappy in his marriage and once accused Harriet of having married him for his money.
  • His marriage collapsed when Shelley fell in love with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, the daughter of William Godwin.
  • Having fallen in love with Mary, Shelley proposed to Harriet that the three of them should live together, Mary as his new wife and Harriet as her sister. Harriet, however, discarded his proposal.
  • Subsequently Shelley eloped with Mary and impregnated her. Harriet, who was too pregnant, was greatly shocked by the news of Mary’s pregnancy. Realizing that Shelley did not love her, Harriet requested a divorce and sued Shelley for alimony and full custody of their children.
  • Harriet’s second child with Shelley, Charles, was born in November of 1814. Three months later, Mary gave birth to a girl, the infant, however, died just a few weeks later.
  • Mary and Shelley returned to London near the end of 1816. Few weeks later Harriet's body was found drowned in Hyde Park's Serpentine. It is assumed that she committed suicide firstly because she was deserted by Shelley and secondly because she was pregnant from an illicit affair with a military officer.
  • Soon after Harriet’s death, Shelley proposed to Mary and they were wedded on December 30, 1816.
  • After Harriet’s death, the courts ruled not to give Shelley custody of their children, asserting that they would be better off with foster parents.
  • Shortly before his 30th birthday, Shelley was drowned in a storm while attempting to sail from Livorno to Le Spezia, Italy.
  • Ten days later, his body was washed ashore but his face and hands had been completely eaten away. Shelley was identifiable only by his clothes, and a copy of Keats’ Lamia in his pocket.
  • To fulfill the Italian quarantine regulations, Shelley’s body was buried in the sand where it was found. A month later his body was dug up again and cremated on a Tuscany beach in July 18, 1822, in the presence of Lord Byron and Shelley’s friends Edward Trelawney and Leigh Hunt. Since Shelley’s heart refused to burn, Trelawney picked it from the ashes and gave it to Hunt. Later on, Hunt handed over it to Mary, who kept it until her demise.
  • Shelley's ashes were stored for several months in the British Consul's wine cellar in Rome before eventually being buried in the Protestant Cemetery.
  • When Mary Shelley died in 1851 her husband's heart was found amongst her belongings. The heart was buried in 1889, 67 years after Shelley's death, with the body of his son Sir Percy Florence Shelley.
  • In 1889, the French painter Louis Édouard Fournier painted The Funeral of Shelley depicting the cremation scene of Shelley’s body.
  • Shelley was a vegetarian and wrote many pamphlets on the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.
  • Most of his major works were written in the last four years before his demise.
  • During his lifetime Shelley did not earn any money from his writings.
  • When first written in 1817, his long narrative poem The Revolt of Islam (1818) was named as Laon and Cythna.
  • His wife, Mary Shelley was the author of the Gothic novel Frankenstein (1818).
  • Although Shelley’s death was a clear case of accident, many believe that he committed suicide due to his inner torments.
  • Henry David Thoreau's civil disobedience and Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance were influenced and inspired by Shelley's nonviolence in protest and political action.

Refences

" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Academy of American Poets. 2016. Academy of American Poets. 21 April 2016
< https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/percy-bysshe-shelley>.

" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Poetry Foundation. 2016. Poetry Foundation. 21 April 2016
< http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/percy-bysshe-shelley>.

" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Literary Devices. 2016. Literary Devices. 21 April 2016
< http://literarydevices.net/percy-bysshe-shelley/>

"Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Neurotic Poets. 2016. Neurotic Poets Web Site. 21 April 2016
< http://www.neuroticpoets.com/shelley/>.

" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Shmoop. 2016. Shmoop University Inc. 21 April 2016
< http://www.shmoop.com/percy-bysshe-shelley/>.

" Percy Bysshe Shelley Biography.” The Biography.com website. 2016. A&E Television Networks. 21 April 2016
< http://www.biography.com/people/percy-bysshe-shelley-9481527>.

" The Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley.” History in an Hour. 2016. History in an Hour. 21 April 2016
< http://www.historyinanhour.com/2013/07/08/the-death-of-percy-bysshe-shelley/>.

 “Percy Bysshe Shelley” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

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