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PhD Researcher in the UK; Ask any question within English [Optional]; No charges; Can check Answers

There are three sections in the post. First and second: My background and set the context; Third is about how I can benefit some of you in preparation. Read the section you're most interested in. Don't waste your time. All the best.

Context:

Hello, I am currently pursuing my PhD in English at University of Leeds, UK. I joined Forum IAS a few years ago when I was an M.Phil scholar at University of Delhi and entertained the idea of preparing for CSE. But, the moment I passed my M.Phil and bought all books and subscribed to websites like Forum IAS, I got through one government Assistant Professor job and had a hard time choosing among two: full time preparation and job - given that I was a middle class family person. I chose the job and couldn't keep up with preparation afterwards as I got flown in my own subject which I really enjoy.

After 3 years of job, I decided to again re-live my desire to prepare, and bang, I won a prestigious international scholarship to do a PhD at a Russell group of University: University of Leeds. So, again, had a hard time choosing between two. Don't know why god does this. And very honestly, Civil services and Professor of English have been two dream jobs that I have had always a hard time choosing between. And I really envy people who know clearly what they want exactly. I still have this desire somewhere in my heart to sit for CSE but I also like researching my subject a lot and I am pretty good at it. So, clueless there. But that's my problem, you don't need to worry about it.

My Purpose here:

Given above, I thought may be I could help those of you here who wish to take up English Literature optional for Mains. You can ask me any question related to English Literature, as I have a decent level of command on how English Literature answers are supposed to be given to the examiner, since I have been an Assistant Professor myself. Any tips, any question, any query within any genre, any period of writing in English Literature, feel free to ask. I can also check your answers if you so desire, keeping my own hectic research work in mind.There is no fees involved as I am not doing any service here. I like what Forumias does and am willing to contribute in any way, if possible.

And I am sorry for such a long post given your preparation time-crunch. I'm old-school and Words and me don't get squeezed easily together on virtual platform. :) I am working on that. Don't worry. Cheers.
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Comments

  • Hello @VSH_DU2015 , your post is like an oasis in the arid desert of UPSC Eng Litt. prep. :tongue:
    There are several aspirants here, and nobody, barring a few masters' students, has a concrete idea on how to approach the subject.
    Since following a proper booklist is undoubtedly the first step of the prep, can you please suggest a tentative booklist whenever you're free?
    Meanwhile, I'll spread the word to fellow aspirants.

    Thanks a lot for doing this. :)
    Prelims: 4. Mains: 2*. Interview: 1. Rank: NA.
    Literature of English Language.
    "Only through time time is conquered."
  • English Literature is an interesting optional for anyone who is okay-ish with words. People think of Literature more as stories and that is why many a time are reluctant to use this optional saying its boring literary jargon. But English literature is connected to World History, Economics and political science in more ways than one. Plus, the primary texts can definitely take your stress out of your preparation. Now, if you ask anyone who took English optional, they're going to tell you volumes of reference, which is not bad, definitely useful. But, you don't need to read all those to score UPSC. Mains paper is very, very simple and is more of a generalistic nature than specialist so that everyone can take up that optional with or without a degree in that subject. So, if you cover the basic, key texts, your foundation is solid which you can build up more and more by reading secondary materials, based on your time. But, for foundation, just 3-4 books are enough.

    The crucial key in UPSC English Literature [Optional] paper is that one is supposed to sufficiently familiarise oneself with the periods of History [the context of any particular book]

    When you’re reading a text, keep in mind that literary and cultural practices never ever emerge out of a void, they have socio-political-economic circumstances leading to that. For e.g. you can read emerging of Superman/Batman (any superhero figure) movies with the modernism/post-modernism tendency to find a centre to hold the world in difficult times).

    So, the first thing is to read the history of English Literature. Sounds boring, but isn’t specially if you start looking at it as giving you the grounds which forced your favourite authors to write the way they did. And similarly for every other book and author you have encountered or will encounter. So, it’s like mystery resolved! 

    Several good books available to cover history part [Choose depending on your time and capacity in reading simple to dense prosaic English]

    Two best precise options:

    a) Edward Albert – lucid prose, tells you about the major events that took place in any particular century which had a huge influence over writers of the age.

    b) Andrew Sanders – very comprehensive book, leaves nothing untouched, but dense prose.

    You can also read the first chapters of IGNOU blocks which give you a fair overview of any age.

    Once you finish this, take every text [based on the periodisation I am giving here for clarity] and start finding those tendencies you read in history of literature book. And bang, you’ve a fair amount of understanding about each text.

    Now, the key texts to cover this aspect:
    • Primary texts of each poem/novel/drama [For e.g. read King Lear to appreciate the difficult times of Elizabethan period where the queen died without a fixed heir, and the nation was dwindling, in that scenario Shakespeare wrote this drama about division of kingdom in wake of a political void]

    If you don’t have time or interest, you can still score by reading the stories of texts in
    • Ramji Lal
    • Narayan series

    They also have paraphrased materials which help you in decoding typical English literary language. But don’t use their language in your answers, they are non-specialist answers targeted to benefit those who are beginners in English. But if you choose, English literature as your option, your words are going to have half of the impact. Rest half is your argument. If you just narrate the story of the text, you are going to get fewer marks. You need to analyse the texts using the historical background you read in Albert or Sanders

    Adding-on:

    After you finish the history and primary texts, go to secondary texts.
    Worldview is supposed to be the best supplementary reading for each of these texts.
    Just buy one Worldview supplement for each text and read the 4-5 essays given in the back.
    They will familiarise you with major issues related to that particular text.
    Here you can also add on by reading more about the author, her/his other texts, the movement s/he was a part of, socio-political issues of the time etc.
    Based on all this, you write your own answers, take help from online essays to refine your answers.
    And you're done.

    Apart from History and primary texts, you also need to cover Literary Theory.

    The best, best book out there is Pramod K Nayar [New edition, old edition is mostly names of critics and their contribution, new one takes you to the actual theory behind each]

    UPSC focuses especially on Marxism, Psychoanalytical theory and Feminist theories, so no need to read the entire book.

    You can also look at Literary Terms by M H Abraham [A white book, not the thick voluminous one, that's too detailed for UPSC, We English people need it, you don't] to inform yourself about any word/phrase you don't understand. For e.g. what is is spectacle in drama, what is an ode etc.


    Hope this begins your journey well. Any confusion, feel free to ask. Let me know if any of you need any help regarding any of the aspect covered here. If you've more time, you guys can also look at David Daiches, and Cambridge companion to all these authors and texts, but that is a really advanced stage for polishing what you've already understood/written. All the best. Cheers.

    For periodisation, look at the next post.





  • I will now periodise the texts within their large history to give an idea to those who don't have any idea about English literature and still wish to try it.

    Section A

    14th-15th- 16th Century [The Renaissance most important movement]

    Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama [Although sonnets and University Wits like Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, among many other women poets were equally representative of the period, the UPSC syllabus focuses only on Shakespeare’s contribution, so just focus on that]

    • William Shakespeare’s King Lear [First performed on26th December 1606] and The Tempest [First performed on 1st November 1611]

    17th -18th Century

    Metaphysical Poetry
    • John Donne. The following poems :
    a) Canonization
    b) Death be not proud
    c) The Good Morrow
    d) On his Mistress going to bed
    e) The Relic

    Neo-classicism
    • The Epic
    a) John Milton : Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX [Originally published in 1667, in ten books]

    • Satire [an aspect studied within neo-classicism, I divided because Paradise Lost isn’t a satire per se] and the Mock-epic
    a) Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock. [Originally published in May 1712]

    The Romantic Movement
    • William Wordsworth. The following poems:
    a) Ode on Intimations of Immortality.
    b) Tintern Abbey.
    c) Three years she grew.
    d) She dwelt among untrodden ways.
    e) Michael.
    f) Resolution and Independence.
    g) The World is too much with us.
    h) Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.
    i) Upon Westminster Bridge.

    The Rise of the Novel

    19th Century

    The Victorian Age.
    • Alfred Tennyson: In Memoriam. [Originally published in 1849]

    Late 19th Century
    • Henrik Ibsen: A Doll's House.[Originally published on 21st December 1879]

    Similarly Section-B of Paper 1 has some key texts which are representative of their times and that is why they should be contextualised within the movement/large history they were a part of, much like Section A I just did, too.

    Eighteenth Century
    • Jonathan Swift. Gulliver's Travels. [Originally published on 28th October 1726]
    • Henry Fielding. Tom Jones. [Originally published on 28 February 1749]

    Nineteenth Century
    • Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. [Originally published on 28th January 1813]
    • Charles Dickens. Hard Times. [Originally published in 1854]
    • George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss. [Originally published in 1860]
    • Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [Originally published on10th December 1884]
    • Thomas Hardy. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. [Originally published in1891]

    Paper-II
    Section A

    20th Century

    Modernism
    • William Butler Yeats. The following poems:
    a) Easter 1916
    b) The Second Coming
    c) A Prayer for my daughter.
    d) Sailing to Byzantium.
    e) The Tower.
    f) Among School Children.
    g) Leda and the Swan.
    h) Meru
    i) Lapis Lazuli
    • T.S. Eliot. The following poems :
    a) The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock
    b) Journey of the Magi.
    c) Burnt Norton.

    Poets of the Thirties
    • W.H. Auden. The following poems :
    a) Partition
    b) Musee des Beaux Arts
    c) in Memory of W.B. Yeats
    d) Lay your sleeping head, my love
    e) The Unknown Citizen
    f) Consider
    g) Mundus Et Infans
    h) The Shield of Achilles
    i) September 1, 1939
    j) Petition.

    • Philip Larkin. The following poems:
    a) Next
    b) Please
    c) Deceptions
    d) Afternoons
    e) Days
    f) Mr. Bleaney

    Kitchen-Sink Drama
    • John Osborne : Look Back in Anger [Originally published on 8th May 1956]

    Absurd Drama
    Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot.[Originally published on 5th January 1953]

    Indian Writing in English
    • A.K. Ramanujan. The following poems :
    a) Looking for a Causim on a Swing
    b) A River
    c) Of Mothers, among other Things
    d) Love Poem for a Wife 1
    e) Samll-Scale Reflections on a Great House
    f) Obituary

    Post-Modernism

    Section-B, Paper II, again can be contextualised as following:

    Modernism

    Stream-of-Consciousness
    • D.H. Lawrence. Sons and Lovers. [Originally published in 1913]
    • James Joyce. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man [Originally published on 29th December 1916]
    • Virginia Woolf. Mrs Dalloway [Originally published on 14th May 1925]

    Colonialism/Post-Colonialism
    • Joseph Conrad. Lord Jim [Originally published in1899-1900, published as a serial in the Blackwood’s Magazine]
    • E.M. Forster. A Passage to India [Originally published in 1924]

    Indian Writing in English
    • Raja Rao. Kanthapura [Originally published in 1938]
    • V.S. Naipal. A House for Mr. Biswas[Originally published in 1961]
  • Hello,

    I will show a sample of how an answer is supposed to be written in English Mains paper based on what I said in my earlier post to give an 'over-all', 'well-read' approach of a candidate. [This is a personal perspective, not trying to proclaim myself as The Expert, an expert is okay! Feel free to share your opinions]

    This question is from Section A of Paper I, that came in 2013 Mains. Word limit was 150.

    Q. The impact of the French Revolution on the English Romantic poets.

    Answer: [Words:167] [Nobody counts your answers word-by-word, so 5-10 words increase/decrease doesn't at all matter! But not substantial decrease/increase]

    The classic Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution is that it constituted a change from an old feudal order to a new capitalist order and, in essence, amounted to the triumph of the middle-class over the aristocracy. Thus one can say that the most crucial aspect of French Revolution was an increased sense of human agency. Inspired by the Revolution, in the Romantic period, we encounter literature that rejected old literary conventions and tried to find new forms of expression. For e.g. William Blake welcomed French Revolution as an agent that would sweep away old exploitative patterns of social relations; The Lyrical Ballads by Coleridge and Wordsworth, marked a withdrawal from public life and celebrated the subjective insight of the poet, which aided by nature tried to bring a pattern in life. Similarly, Byron showed a desire to strike out a new path, surpassing conventional morality. Based on these examples one can say with confidence that the French Revolution was central to the English Romantic poets.

    Hope it gives some suggestive ideas to some of you. All the best. Feel free to get in touch if you want something else. But please don't spam my inbox here, as it sours my mood of contribution to the community. Be responsible. :) Take care.
  • Which scholarship exam you gave
  • Which scholarship exam you gave

    Check British Council website. Although stick to English Literature queries for UPSC exams as far as possible, please. It saves my time and your time. All the best for preparation. Cheers.

  • I found an interesting question while perusing English [2013] question paper. If anyone out here is preparing for English optional, you can try and write a well-rounded answer here on this, if feel like. I will share my feedback then if you would be interested.

    The question appeared in Paper 2 Section A

    Write a short note on the following: 10 Marks

    Postmodern ‘realisms’
  • Which scholarship exam you gave

    Check British Council website. Although stick to English Literature queries for UPSC exams as far as possible, please. It saves my time and your time. All the best for preparation. Cheers.

    I want to study in uk so I asked.so please tell
  • Nitish, I didn't give any exam. When you apply for different universities in the UK, there are several ways to get scholarships. Some scholarships are given by the Government of India. For e.g. Commonwealth. There isn't any exam, but an interview which is really 'grilling'. Apart from that, you can apply for other external bodies sponsoring candidates' research, like Rhodes, Gates etc. For that I don't exactly know what is required, for I never applied for them, you can check their websites and apply accordingly. There are some scholarships which are sponsored by the British government, like Chevening. That is why I asked you to check British council website because I applied for this category as they are more prestigious (in my eyes, not necessarily for everyone, harder to get because internationally people apply for that, not just from India etc.) Again for that also there is no exam. You have to apply on their respective websites and submit whatever they ask you to. Based on that if they shortlist you, you will be asked to take a very comprehensive interview which is like damn tough because everyone in the panel is your subject specialists. But if you crack that, you win a prestigious international scholarship and a living expense grant which is really generous often.

    Now, please, I reiterate, PLEASE, spare me such questions. You can easily get this information on Google. Just google, man! If you are trying to go to the UK, you need to learn these courtesies like respecting people's time and willingness. I made this threat for UPSC ENGLISH OPTIONAL unless that wasn't clear. I am going to delete this thread if people are going to spam my inbox like this. Be responsible. Thanks.
  • Hello @VSH_DU2015 , your post is like an oasis in the arid desert of UPSC Eng Litt. prep. :tongue:
    There are several aspirants here, and nobody, barring a few masters' students, has a concrete idea on how to approach the subject.
    Since following a proper booklist is undoubtedly the first step of the prep, can you please suggest a tentative booklist whenever you're free?
    Meanwhile, I'll spread the word to fellow aspirants.

    Thanks a lot for doing this. :)

    Hello Dr King (? :smile: ) Thanks for your nice words. Any idea if there are actually people existing here who are planning to take English Literature optional? I don't see anyone and I've never been a very frequent user of this website, so I don't know if I am reaching to them through this thread. If you could help there. Thanks so much.
  • Hello @VSH_DU2015 , your post is like an oasis in the arid desert of UPSC Eng Litt. prep. :tongue:
    There are several aspirants here, and nobody, barring a few masters' students, has a concrete idea on how to approach the subject.
    Since following a proper booklist is undoubtedly the first step of the prep, can you please suggest a tentative booklist whenever you're free?
    Meanwhile, I'll spread the word to fellow aspirants.

    Thanks a lot for doing this. :)

    Hello Dr King (? :smile: ) Thanks for your nice words. Any idea if there are actually people existing here who are planning to take English Literature optional? I don't see anyone and I've never been a very frequent user of this website, so I don't know if I am reaching to them through this thread. If you could help there. Thanks so much.
    Hello,
    There are less aspirants with English Literature optional in general.
    As far as I know, 51 aspirants wrote mains with it this time. Earlier, the number used to be in the 30s.
    However, we do have a Whatsapp group with 20-25 aspirants who have either written mains or are planning to appear for the exam soon.
    I have already forwarded them the link to this thread and exhorted them to bug you as much as possible. :tongue:
    I'll remind them again.

    Meanwhile, I am tagging all the aspirants that I know here on the forum.
    Thanks a lot. :)
    Prelims: 4. Mains: 2*. Interview: 1. Rank: NA.
    Literature of English Language.
    "Only through time time is conquered."
  • Prelims: 4. Mains: 2*. Interview: 1. Rank: NA.
    Literature of English Language.
    "Only through time time is conquered."
  • Hello, thank you so much for your timely response. I really appreciate your WhatsApp effort and tagging thing here. I think I should be more patient, anyway, people must be busy with Pre right '17 right now I guess. Such a typical over-enthusiast teacher I am - huffing and puffing looking for my bunch! :smiley:
  • I apologize for that and thanks for your help
  • @VSH_DU2015 ur response to @Nitish1413 gives negative vibes,,, i have really not come across many people on this platform who reply rudely when asked for help,,,,perhaps preparing for civill services makes them different,,,
    take the example of @DrKingSchultz he is doing extra efforst,, i am sure he does not have much spare time,,,
    just free advice keep it if u like
  • @VSH_DU2015 ur response to @Nitish1413 gives negative vibes,,, i have really not come across many people on this platform who reply rudely when asked for help,,,,perhaps preparing for civill services makes them different,,,
    take the example of @DrKingSchultz he is doing extra efforst,, i am sure he does not have much spare time,,,
    just free advice keep it if u like

    Hello, I really appreciate your suggestions and willingness to support someone. I really, very honestly, do. But I am sorry to say I don't agree with that. I already in my previous response directed the said person to an authentic link where he can get all relevant information and requested to stick to UPSC here because of my little available time and the 'PURPOSE' of this thread.

    His next question was sheer disrespect to my time, my previous request and outside the purpose of this thread very clearly mentioned in the title. More than selfish, it was irresponsible. I salute my patience to really sit and invest my time and effort, still, answering that thinking ki chalo baccha hai. And more because India me ye sab baaten 'chalta hai' karke log taal bhi dete hain. But these are important things to learn if one plans to go abroad. The UK, for that matter, is really strict and conservative with privacy concerns.

    Also, I don't know about 'many others' or even Dr King, I don't intend to hero-worship anyone here. I leave that territory for you. People are diverse, they react differently. I make my judgements based on 'my' reasoning capacity and I believe learning to respect people's time and their choices/requests is one of the most important lessons one can learn anywhere, be it civil services, academia or pretty much anywhere. You need to go through the blogs of UPSC crackers who actually STOP responding to irrelevant, useless queries because these responses are disrespectful of their time.

    This thread is ONLY for UPSC English Literature optional. But my INBOX is full of queries regarding how to qualify English PG entrances and Law exam preparation. How is that even responsible as an adult? Anyway. I have really limited time actually, for good or for bad, so I am unable to entertain irrelevant stuff and give 'positive vibe'. I really want to develop this thread as a repository of English Literature, and I am genuinely thankful for forumias or Dr King to help me but I guess there are few relevant takers here. So I buck up. Thanks for your time.
  • edited February 4

    @VSH_DU2015 ur response to @Nitish1413 gives negative vibes,,, i have really not come across many people on this platform who reply rudely when asked for help,,,,perhaps preparing for civill services makes them different,,,
    take the example of @DrKingSchultz he is doing extra efforst,, i am sure he does not have much spare time,,,
    just free advice keep it if u like

    Hello, I really appreciate your suggestions and willingness to support someone. I really, very honestly, do. But I am sorry to say I don't agree with that. I already in my previous response directed the said person to an authentic link where he can get all relevant information and requested to stick to UPSC here because of my little available time and the 'PURPOSE' of this thread.

    His next question was sheer disrespect to my time, my previous request and outside the purpose of this thread very clearly mentioned in the title. More than selfish, it was irresponsible. I salute my patience to really sit and invest my time and effort, still, answering that thinking ki chalo baccha hai. And more because India me ye sab baaten 'chalta hai' karke log taal bhi dete hain. But these are important things to learn if one plans to go abroad. The UK, for that matter, is really strict and conservative with privacy concerns.

    Also, I don't know about 'many others' or even Dr King, I don't intend to hero-worship anyone here. I leave that territory for you. People are diverse, they react differently. I make my judgements based on 'my' reasoning capacity and I believe learning to respect people's time and their choices/requests is one of the most important lessons one can learn anywhere, be it civil services, academia or pretty much anywhere. You need to go through the blogs of UPSC crackers who actually STOP responding to irrelevant, useless queries because these responses are disrespectful of their time.

    This thread is ONLY for UPSC English Literature optional. But my INBOX is full of queries regarding how to qualify English PG entrances and Law exam preparation. How is that even responsible as an adult? Anyway. I have really limited time actually, for good or for bad, so I am unable to entertain irrelevant stuff and give 'positive vibe'. I really want to develop this thread as a repository of English Literature, and I am genuinely thankful for forumias or Dr King to help me but I guess there are few relevant takers here. So I buck up. Thanks for your time.
    Hello,
    I would like start with a humble apology because my suggestions are unsolicited. I am enthralled by seeing your enthusiasm to contribute something really helpful for both current and future aspirants, but i am equally disappointed at the way this thread is being handled. Therefore, out of sheer concern that genuine aspirants may lose on something very precious, i am going to suggest a few things based on my experience on the forum.

    1. Kindly do not entertain unrelated posts by replying to them. Tag(using @ as prefix to their username) a moderator or inbox them to delete those comments and to keep the thread clean. A few of them are Neyawn, Drkingschultz, Woodpecker.

    2. Speaking from personal experience, it's really hard to keep an initiative going at a good pace here. Most People visit according to their personal schedules and it becomes increasingly tough to keep a track of things. But never-mind, with consistent effort from your side, people will eventually get motivated to follow this thread. You can possibly start a youtube channel to discuss a few related things and then post the video here. Major add on is that you will gain a wider audience who would assimilate the knowledge you would be sharing. Or perhaps you can start a blog and write consistently. You can then post the links on this thread and this will become a platform to discuss and develop upon your ideas.
    In short, You can choose an external platform like youtube or a blog to develop a repository of your ideas and then share the content here to discuss on it. Put in the required consistency and you will watch this thread blossom with genuine followers.

    3. I absolutely understand your point of view on the privacy issue. However, people here are not accustomed with such things and even though you find it unacceptable, trust me, it will keep happening on this thread again and again because it's kind of natural and comes with the practices of our society here. Whether its a good thing or a bad thing is for another day for us to debate, but for now, the agenda is to keep this thread as clean as possible and point number 1 will help you do that with utmost efficiency and peace of mind. You can keep ignoring unrelated inbox messages as spam, because people are going to spam irrespective of the kind of societies we live in. :sweat_smile:

    Wish you the very best.
    Good Bye. See you Later.
  • pizza said:

    @VSH_DU2015 ur response to @Nitish1413 gives negative vibes,,, i have really not come across many people on this platform who reply rudely when asked for help,,,,perhaps preparing for civill services makes them different,,,
    take the example of @DrKingSchultz he is doing extra efforst,, i am sure he does not have much spare time,,,
    just free advice keep it if u like

    Hello, I really appreciate your suggestions and willingness to support someone. I really, very honestly, do. But I am sorry to say I don't agree with that. I already in my previous response directed the said person to an authentic link where he can get all relevant information and requested to stick to UPSC here because of my little available time and the 'PURPOSE' of this thread.

    His next question was sheer disrespect to my time, my previous request and outside the purpose of this thread very clearly mentioned in the title. More than selfish, it was irresponsible. I salute my patience to really sit and invest my time and effort, still, answering that thinking ki chalo baccha hai. And more because India me ye sab baaten 'chalta hai' karke log taal bhi dete hain. But these are important things to learn if one plans to go abroad. The UK, for that matter, is really strict and conservative with privacy concerns.

    Also, I don't know about 'many others' or even Dr King, I don't intend to hero-worship anyone here. I leave that territory for you. People are diverse, they react differently. I make my judgements based on 'my' reasoning capacity and I believe learning to respect people's time and their choices/requests is one of the most important lessons one can learn anywhere, be it civil services, academia or pretty much anywhere. You need to go through the blogs of UPSC crackers who actually STOP responding to irrelevant, useless queries because these responses are disrespectful of their time.

    This thread is ONLY for UPSC English Literature optional. But my INBOX is full of queries regarding how to qualify English PG entrances and Law exam preparation. How is that even responsible as an adult? Anyway. I have really limited time actually, for good or for bad, so I am unable to entertain irrelevant stuff and give 'positive vibe'. I really want to develop this thread as a repository of English Literature, and I am genuinely thankful for forumias or Dr King to help me but I guess there are few relevant takers here. So I buck up. Thanks for your time.
    Hello,
    I would like start with a humble apology because my suggestions are unsolicited. I am enthralled by seeing your enthusiasm to contribute something really helpful for both current and future aspirants, but i am equally disappointed at the way this thread is being handled. Therefore, out of sheer concern that genuine aspirants may lose on something very precious, i am going to suggest a few things based on my experience on the forum.

    1. Kindly do not entertain unrelated posts by replying to them. Tag(using @ as prefix to their username) a moderator or inbox them to delete those comments and to keep the thread clean. A few of them are Neyawn, Drkingschultz, Woodpecker.

    2. Speaking from personal experience, it's really hard to keep an initiative going at a good pace here. Most People visit according to their personal schedules and it becomes increasingly tough to keep a track of things. But never-mind, with consistent effort from your side, people will eventually get motivated to follow this thread. You can possibly start a youtube channel to discuss a few related things and then post the video here. Major add on is that you will gain a wider audience who would assimilate the knowledge you would be sharing. Or perhaps you can start a blog and write consistently. You can then post the links on this thread and this will become a platform to discuss and develop upon your ideas.
    In short, You can choose an external platform like youtube or a blog to develop a repository of your ideas and then share the content here to discuss on it. Put in the required consistency and you will watch this thread blossom with genuine followers.

    3. I absolutely understand your point of view on the privacy issue. However, people here are not accustomed with such things and even though you find it unacceptable, trust me, it will keep happening on this thread again and again because it's kind of natural and comes with the practices of our society here. Whether its a good thing or a bad thing is for another day for us to debate, but for now, the agenda is to keep this thread as clean as possible and point number 1 will help you do that with utmost efficiency and peace of mind. You can keep ignoring unrelated inbox messages as spam, because people are going to spam irrespective of the kind of societies we live in. :sweat_smile:

    Wish you the very best.
    Thanks immensely for your warmth and kind words, @pizza. It makes me very well-supported by the forum. I shall follow your advice as they do make sense. I am sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused unknowingly. Take care. Cheers.
  • Sir ,I have english literature as an optional for my state exam (Pcs ) .can you help me with my doubts.the syllabus is different from that of UPSC.

    Hello, yes sure. Would love to. Let me know what do you want help with specifically. And which state exam is it?
  • edited February 5

    Sir ,I have english literature as an optional for my state exam (Pcs ) .can you help me with my doubts.the syllabus is different from that of UPSC.

    Hello, yes sure. Would love to. Let me know what do you want help with specifically. And which state exam is it?

    Thankyou so much sir.Actually it's the UP state exam.
    I just was not able to gather enough courage to go ahead with English,in the absence of an expert guidance.

    Now that you are ready to help me out,I will go with it.

    Wil be taking your advise after posting the syllabus here .

    In case if you are somehow not available here, are there any alternative sources to get in touch with you.

    Regards.
    God has been generous. Now is my turn to prove he wasn't wrong
    #myquote.

    hindi literature optional. PREPARING NOTES FOR HINDI and would like to see notes of others.interested aspirants can contact here or @ daanveerakarna@gmail.com
  • Here is the main exam syllabus


    English Literature : Paper –1




    Detail study of literary age (19
    th century): the paper will cover the study of English Literature from 1798 to
    1900 with special reference to the works of Willian Word worth, Coleridge, Shelly, Keats, Lamb, Hazlitt,
    Thackeray. Dickens. Tennyson, Robert Browning, A.C. Swinehurne, D.G. Rossetti, Carlyl and Ruskin.

    The candidates will be required to evince first hand reading. The paper will be designed to test candidates
    through understanding of the main literary trends during the period with reference to the authors prescribed.
    Questions on the social and cultural background to the period will be also set.




    ENGLISH LITERATURE Paper – II




    The paper will be designed to test candidates first hand reading of the text alomgwith their ability to examine
    literacy problems critically. 1. William Shakespeare : Twelth Night Henry IV Pt. J. Hamlet, The Tempest.
    2. John Milton : Paradise Lost Book-1 & II 3. Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice. 4. W. Wordsworth :
    “Immortality Ode” “Tintern Abbey” 5. Dickens : Great Expectations. 6. Graham Green : The power and
    theGlory. 7. William Golding : Lord of the Flies. 8. W.B. Yeats :“TheSecond Coming”“Bizanlium”, “Sailing
    to Bizanlium”, “A Prayer for my Daughter”. “Leda and the Swan”. 9. T.S. Eliot : The Wasteland. 10. D.H.
    Lawrence. Sons and Lovers.
    God has been generous. Now is my turn to prove he wasn't wrong
    #myquote.

    hindi literature optional. PREPARING NOTES FOR HINDI and would like to see notes of others.interested aspirants can contact here or @ daanveerakarna@gmail.com
  • Sir ,I have english literature as an optional for my state exam (Pcs ) .can you help me with my doubts.the syllabus is different from that of UPSC.

    Hello, yes sure. Would love to. Let me know what do you want help with specifically. And which state exam is it?

    Thankyou so much sir.Actually it's the UP state exam.
    I just was not able to gather enough courage to go ahead with English,in the absence of an expert guidance.

    Now that you are ready to help me out,I will go with it.

    Wil be taking your advise after posting the syllabus here .

    In case if you are somehow not available here, are there any alternative sources to get in touch with you.

    Regards.
    Hello, I saw the syllabus. It's pretty easy and very less demanding, time-wise. As you can see, they have reiterated what I earlier mentioned in my previous posts:

    understanding of the main literary trends during the period with reference to the authors prescribed

    Questions on the social and cultural background to the period

    first hand reading of the text along with their ability to examine
    literacy problems critically

    These three are most crucial points while taking English Literature as an optional. Are you already preparing? Or, do you want me to go one by one and cover the entire syllabus to help you? Honestly, I am very tempted to cover the entire syllabus myself and produce everything here for your benefit and ease! But, I know it will just be a pleasure trip for me and less beneficial for a candidate who IS supposed to be prepared, not me. :smiley: If you want to prepare WITH me, I guess that's a judicial arrangement, preparation for you and pleasure for me. Let me know your thoughts on this? And just to save your time till I check the post next, could you please read/revise 15th-century-16th-century SOCIAL, POLITICAL background of England (focus on the syllabus, which I can see is clearly Shakespeare, leave Sidney, Spenser, remarkable women poets like the queen herself or Mary Scots etc, although this shows the syllabus setter is old-school and questionable! ) and post your observations here. Please stick to any one book, either Albert which I suggested in my previous post or whatever you're already referring to. Use bullet points to divide different points but don't use sub-headings/bullet points otherwise. Literature answers are supposed to be paragraphic. Your syllabus doesn't mention the word limits for this exam, so just keep it within 300-500 for each important socio-political point. Thanks. I think sticking to Forum is a rather good idea as my office computer shows a pop up every time anything happens on anything I visit regularly. Thanks to my university's IT services. And, it will also help to build a repository for, who knows, future candidates, Good luck.
  • hello sir,
    I have a few questions,
    some related with phd, and some upsc.

    my upsc question.
    can you give some examples,
    how to Marxist, feminist or modernist reading of any a drama, novel, poem ?
    say , feminist reading of pride and prejudice .

    i will be glad if you will be willing to answer some of the question pertaining to phd !
  • Sir ,I have english literature as an optional for my state exam (Pcs ) .can you help me with my doubts.the syllabus is different from that of UPSC.

    Hello, yes sure. Would love to. Let me know what do you want help with specifically. And which state exam is it?

    Thankyou so much sir.Actually it's the UP state exam.
    I just was not able to gather enough courage to go ahead with English,in the absence of an expert guidance.

    Now that you are ready to help me out,I will go with it.

    Wil be taking your advise after posting the syllabus here .

    In case if you are somehow not available here, are there any alternative sources to get in touch with you.

    Regards.
    Hello, I saw the syllabus. It's pretty easy and very less demanding, time-wise. As you can see, they have reiterated what I earlier mentioned in my previous posts:

    understanding of the main literary trends during the period with reference to the authors prescribed

    Questions on the social and cultural background to the period

    first hand reading of the text along with their ability to examine
    literacy problems critically

    These three are most crucial points while taking English Literature as an optional. Are you already preparing? Or, do you want me to go one by one and cover the entire syllabus to help you? Honestly, I am very tempted to cover the entire syllabus myself and produce everything here for your benefit and ease! But, I know it will just be a pleasure trip for me and less beneficial for a candidate who IS supposed to be prepared, not me. :smiley: If you want to prepare WITH me, I guess that's a judicial arrangement, preparation for you and pleasure for me. Let me know your thoughts on this? And just to save your time till I check the post next, could you please read/revise 15th-century-16th-century SOCIAL, POLITICAL background of England (focus on the syllabus, which I can see is clearly Shakespeare, leave Sidney, Spenser, remarkable women poets like the queen herself or Mary Scots etc, although this shows the syllabus setter is old-school and questionable! ) and post your observations here. Please stick to any one book, either Albert which I suggested in my previous post or whatever you're already referring to. Use bullet points to divide different points but don't use sub-headings/bullet points otherwise. Literature answers are supposed to be paragraphic. Your syllabus doesn't mention the word limits for this exam, so just keep it within 300-500 for each important socio-political point. Thanks. I think sticking to Forum is a rather good idea as my office computer shows a pop up every time anything happens on anything I visit regularly. Thanks to my university's IT services. And, it will also help to build a repository for, who knows, future candidates, Good luck.

    Ok sir,thank you for your willingness to guide me through.

    I am a rookie for english literature.Haven't read it after school.

    Wil prepare what you suggested above and discuss.
    Regards
    God has been generous. Now is my turn to prove he wasn't wrong
    #myquote.

    hindi literature optional. PREPARING NOTES FOR HINDI and would like to see notes of others.interested aspirants can contact here or @ daanveerakarna@gmail.com
  • edited February 11
    Thank you @VSH_DU2015 for this.
  • Oh this is excellent - precisely the sort of thing one is looking for and all that!

    @VSH_DU2015 Would it be possible for you to give a list of questions for each text? The questions one needs to keep in mind while reading them - so one doesn't go astray. Or perhaps direct us to a source where such possible questions might be there? I've only just started reading the texts - finished 6 of them and plan to bulldoze over the next few weeks - hence would absolutely appreciate the themes to keep in mind while bulldozing through them! Thanks a ton!!
  • Beelzebub said:

    Oh this is excellent - precisely the sort of thing one is looking for and all that!

    @VSH_DU2015 Would it be possible for you to give a list of questions for each text? The questions one needs to keep in mind while reading them - so one doesn't go astray. Or perhaps direct us to a source where such possible questions might be there? I've only just started reading the texts - finished 6 of them and plan to bulldoze over the next few weeks - hence would absolutely appreciate the themes to keep in mind while bulldozing through them! Thanks a ton!!

    Hey, thanks a lot. That's a very interesting question and I am tempted to answer that. In fact, I feel, that's a detail, I should have included in my previous post. That will help anyone new trying/willing to try English literature without going astray as there is literally flooding of information on the internet otherwise.

    So, here,

    When reading
    14th-15th- 16th Century [William Shakespeare’s King Lear and The Tempest ] the following questions are very important and would be useful across both texts. [this is not an exhaustive list, but it will help with any other questions as well, in my hope]

    1) The Renaissance most important movement, although Shakespeare doesn't necessarily show renaissance traits in his plays [which are better represented by Christopher Marlowe] but the context will help appreciate how, contrary to authors writing morality plays and miracle plays etc in the 14th century, Shakespeare's heroes are human figures, not gods or sons of gods, or gifted by gods. Their only superpower is their will power, ambition, jealousies etc. Just a hint, explore it further.

    2) Look at Reformation - for understanding the growing positive sense of the human intellect and of human capibility

    3) language/failure of language/pressure on language to contain vast emotions about society, [although sonnets not mentioned here, neither by Shakespeare not by others but it's a good idea to look at them and know why suddenly, contrary to epic-length studies of the previous centuries, authors suddenly turned towards a mere 14-line poem.

    4) Elizabeth's reign - its problems, wars, rivalry with Scotland, absence of an heir, a growing, old, ageing queen with no heir, a sense of fear, apprehensions looming large on nation's fate, the drifting apart of Catholics and Protestants, Parliament beginning to display its independence which was very new to the English court [exspecially if you Know Spenser's court poetry where knights subsumes all their devotion to the kings and queens, kings and queens were supposed to be chosen by God to rule over people, Shakespeare shows how human agency resigned to accept that willingly, or at least uncomfortable with this passivity.], and population growing to an unprecedented level.

    5) human love creating discord in society, an attempt to maintain, keep stable the social order, but in comedies like The Tempest, this social order gets restored. And that is why they are comedies. In Shakespeare's tragedies, on the contrary, even when the plays end, one is left with the idea that there is a gap by author's forceful ending of the play by closing the action by positive/negative ends, amd the complex human feelings and hideous desires of ambition, jealousy, hatred etc that motivate people in the first place. One is alarmed at the human capacity to be a "bad" person. But if you look at Hamlet kind of plays, they make you realise that this pressure to decide, to act, to take revenge etc is something human beings cannot escape. One is meddled with this constant pressure to decide - something which was not there in the previous century plays where people knew that God will bring peace to everything. In Shakespeare's tragedies, there is no respite from Gods. So, it's like human beings are left to themselves, with no assurance, no help, no recourse to god's comforts etc. Just imagine, how helpless one would feel in that sort of world. Shakespeare, that is why, is called one of the earliest modernists.

    6) questions about leadership, frailty of order to control a vast population/kingdom, challenges to leadership,

    7) The role of women - look at different types of women in Shakespeare's comedies as well as Tragedies - they are hardly puppets. They are capable of having ambitions much like their men counterparts, or sometimes even more. Call it sexist, call it feminists, women of Shakespeare's plays can play men like anything: with their beauties, with their disguised games, with their "overflowing" femininity, or, for that matter. Although these women show conventional hierarchies of white women/black women, courtly lady women/commoner women, "good women like Ophelia in Hamlet who are just too good/ bad women like lady Macbeth, but the very diverse range of women we encounter in Shakespeare's plays is amazing. Something we don't see in previous plays. Also remember in Shakespeare's time, boys were playing women's role, so look at that angle as well how women were not supposed to do certain things in public. So the entire public/private, political/domestic debate, Shakespeare complicates them. He brings the interiority of domestic issues interlaced with political issues such brilliantly. Personal is indeed political. Wow.

    8) Apart from that psychological development of characters. I guess is a very important angle to look at. Characters are hard to know from their inside. They are hardly flat or two-dimensional. So, Shakespeare's character making is a good point to explore.


    Now, let us come to 17th -18th Century.When reading Metaphysical Poetry by John Donne (The following poems mentioned in syllabus: Canonization, Death be not proud, The Good Morrow, On his Mistress going to bed, The Relic), keep in mind the following things most importantly.

    1) John Donne's life - look at that - he was a poet and a court person [several duties], so an imaginative writer taking an interest, in fact, active interest in the public life of the Nation, explore that.

    2) twists and turns of the syntax, look at their language, heavy adjectives etc. Why suddenly after the 16th century of simple sonnets [not simple, actually!], suddenly a different language? explore that. Look at the change in the form of the poems.

    3) a different kind of love - mysterious, untidy - very erotic as well [although often disguised], physical desires and spiritual dimension. It's like wanting to have sex with the God - see, how blasphemous! Imagine what kind of torpor it must have led to!

    4) Metaphysical conceits: why would the poet employ them, why at all? the politics and meanings of conceit - explore it.

    5) Role of women and sexual desires - look at how poets/period responds to this.

  • Neo-classicism
    • The Epic
    a) John Milton : Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX [Originally published in 1667, in ten books]

    1) When looking at this book, just explore how Milton was a radical poet for his times. He engages in a fundamental political and religious re-thinking. I think if you do that, you're done. Use textual evidence when answering your questions. Look at Milton in line with renaissance - an absolute epitome of individuality - imagine conceptualising a book in 12 fat, volumes - an act of human ambition and will power ready to devour even God, anything that comes in way of ambition.

    2) And look at the way Milton devours classic repertoire of references for his benefit. He is extremely knowledgeable, not a passive person or mediocre person demanding an identity, he is super-prepared to demand a human identity and is willing to fight for it. Appreciate Milton using this perspective.

    3) Role of imagination - Milton became blind eventually, so sometimes people ask you how could a blind person imagine all this - which is a bullshit question, as he talks of heaven and hell and even a man with eyes won't have access to that! But anyway, they are the examiners [Oh god, now I too do this!] and we are students [ thank god, I am no longer that! ], so better be prepared.
    Satire [an aspect studied within neo-classicism, I divided because Paradise Lost isn’t a satire per se] and the Mock-epic
    a) Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock. [Originally published in May 1712]

    1) when looking at this, explore the French court angle, its difference to the English court, its whims and fancies, and ladies and knights etc.

    2) their stress on moderation, decorum, urbanity - why, suddenly after the grandness of Milton etc? explore this.

    3) again, look at the women characters, love as play, a duel to win at, no Shakespearean true "love" but a game of wit where partners need to excel at each other all the time. This constant business class idea is a good point to explore.

    The Romantic Movement
    • William Wordsworth. The following poems:
    a) Ode on Intimations of Immortality.
    b) Tintern Abbey.
    c) Three years she grew.
    d) She dwelt among untrodden ways.
    e) Michael.
    f) Resolution and Independence.
    g) The World is too much with us.
    h) Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.
    i) Upon Westminster Bridge.

    When looking at this, keep in mind the following points:

    1) A sense of individuality, development of personal metaphors, personal religion, personal creed. Not a universal god, for e.g. how the poet imagines the god becomes important.

    2) look at what kind of political social world, the poet imagines and wants. The stress on vision and imagination.

    3) Most obviously, role of children

    4) the French Revolution, the sense of human agency, the Napoleonic war where England supplied things and remained involved for like twenty years.

    5) Development of Metaphysics in England - an influence from Germany - Kant, Schilling etc.

    Oh god, I cannot write more. I am exhaust. Rest, next. Thanks for an interesting question. Please ask me more such, if you need any further help or assistance. Best.

  • hello sir,
    I have a few questions,
    some related with phd, and some upsc.

    my upsc question.
    can you give some examples,
    how to Marxist, feminist or modernist reading of any a drama, novel, poem ?
    say , feminist reading of pride and prejudice .

    i will be glad if you will be willing to answer some of the question pertaining to phd !

    Hey to give an entire reading, will be too much of a task for me, because my own work hogs most of my time. But, if you do it, I can check it and guide you further on points you missed and need to improve. Hope that sounds okay?

    C'mon, shoot me questions about PhD, without second thoughts. As long as it's from English Literature, bring on! :) Happy to help. I hope, although, they are not unserious questions like help me find a topic to do my PhD, in that case, I am sorry, I will have to say seriously!
  • edited February 12
    @VSH_DU2015 , sir sorry for butting in uninvited but it would help all of us immensely if you could share your valuable ideas on essay writing, either here or maybe in another thread, when you are free. :#
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