Literature


A one-act play is a type of play which does not necessarily consist of one act. It is neither an act from full length play. More specifically you can say that the duration of the play may be equal to the time normally required by an act from a full-length play.

A one-act play is an independent as well as a self-sufficient form of art. It also consists of all the elements that you find in a full-length play such as setting, characters, property, stage, conflict, and point of view, theme etc. It also has an organic form with beginning, middle and an end. Unlike a full-length play, the unity of time, place and action do not function fully.

You will see that a one-act play does not have episodic subjects; rather it has a visionary and conceptual unity. It normally represents a single situation, action, and atmosphere leading to deep impression. The characters and the experiences are not complex, you can understand easily.

Since it has a confined canvas, the life experiences it conveys can not be complex and difficult as it happens in a full-length play. The number of characters is bound to be small. Some of the beautiful examples that you will love to read are Donne Byrne’s The Professors, Stanley Houghton’s The Dear Departed, and W. W. Jacobs’s The Monkey’s Paw.

Though the orchestral representation, multidimensional experience, a throbbing effect may not be there in a one-act play, but it certainly has to offer a slice of life as a piece of literature does.

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Epigram is a form of poetry which is presented to show terse, pointed and witty observation.

Epigrams were in vogue in ancient times also which were in the forms of inscriptions on statues or stones.

The term “epigram” became popular after 18th century for the witty statements.

Some Latin poets like Juneval, Martial, developed this form and used it as a short satire in verse. In French, Voltaire wrote fine epigrams.

As for the English literature, the poets such as Ben Jonson, John Donne, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and Jonathan Swift were often considered as the masters of epigrams.

Oscar Wilde was one of the famous epigrammatists. Most of the short poems of Walter Savage were fine examples of non-satirical epigrams.

S. T. Coleridge used this form in the 19th century. One of his epigrams shows that Romanticism did not preclude wit:

“On a Volunteer Singer

Swans sing before they die – ’twere no bad thing
Should certain people die before they sing!”

Halimbawa ng haiku means examples of haiku poems. This form has become so much popular that this form is often introduced in schools so that students can enjoy and learn.

The Form and Structure:

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry which consists of 17 moare (also called “on” or syllables) in 3 metrical phrases of 5-7-5 moare respectively. But most writers of this verse form in English use about 10 to 14 syllables with no formal pattern.

The form of haiku poems consists of a “kigo” or “kireji” or verbal caesura. Japanese form is traditionally printed in a single vertical line whereas, in English, it is composed in 3 lines which is parallel to the 3 metrical lines in Japanese form.

It was the custom to make the carving of famous haiku upon natural stone in order to make poem monuments came to be known as kuhi.

Marlene Mountain was considered one of the first English-language haiku poets. He wrote the verse in a single horizontal line inspired by the single vertical line of printed Japanese haiku. The single-line form normally contains fewer than 17 syllables.

The writers of Haiku in English language make use of the following:

•    3 lines up to 17 syllables
•    a season word (kigo)
•    a cut or kire (sometimes marked by a punctuation) to compare two images

Influence of This Verse Form:

The influence of haiku poetry is felt worldwide. It is found in journals in Japan, and in the English-speaking countries including India, in Russia, in Northern Europe, in central and southeast Europe.

In the early 20th century, in India, Rabindranath Tagore tried his hands at haiku in Bengali and made some translations from Japanese. Zeenabhai Ratanji Desai ‘Sneharashmi’, made this verse form famous in Gujarati.

It was Feb’ 2008 when the World Haiku Festival was held in Bangalore, and its main intention was to gather haikuists from all over India and from Europe and the US.
Haiku had a significant influence on Imagists in the 1910s, especially Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” of 1913.

At the time of the Imagist period, several mainstream writers and poets composed came to be known as “hokku,” in a 5-7-5 syllable pattern.
The Afro-American novelist Richard Wright composed around 4,000 haikus.

Examples of Haiku Poems:

Buson is really considered as one of the greatest masters of haiga which is an art form where painting is combined with haiku. And therefore, his love for painting is clearly seen in the style of his poems.

1. Bashō’s “old pond” is one of the famous examples:
furuike ya
(fu/ru/i/ke ya): 5

kawazu tobikomu
(ka/wa/zu to/bi/ko/mu): 7

mizu no oto
(mi/zu no o/to): 5

Translation:

old pond
a frog jumps
the sound of water

2. A classic hokku by Matsuo Bashō:

fuji no kaze ya oogi ni nosete Edo miyage

Translation:

the wind of Mt. Fuji
I’ve brought on my fan!
a gift from Edo

3. Snow in my shoe
Abandoned
Sparrow’s nest

Jack Kerouac (collected in Book of Haikus, Penguin Books, 2003)

4. Whitecaps on the bay:
A broken signboard banging
In the April wind.

Richard Wright (collected in Haiku: This Other World, Arcade Publishing, 1998)

5. lily:
out of the water
out of itself
bass
picking bugs
off the moon

Nick Virgilio (Selected Haiku, Burnt Lake Press/Black Moss Press, 1988)

6. downpour:
my “I-Thou”
T-shirt

Raymond Roseliep (Rabbit in the Moon, Alembic Press, 1983)

7. an aging willow–
its image unsteady
in the flowing stream

Robert Spiess (Red Moon Anthology, Red Moon Press, 1996)

8. Just friends:
he watches my gauze dress
blowing on the line.

Alexis Rotella (After an Affair, Merging Media, 1984)

9. meteor shower…
a gentle wave
wets our sandals

Michael Dylan Welch (HSA Newsletter XV:4, Autumn 2000)

Poetry is a form of literature composed in verse. It is normally rhythmic, metrical and there is division of stanzas. The use of imagery and figurative language gives it unique character.

Poetry is a collective name for the cluster of poems. It is one of the most ancient forms of arts. It is often fused with music in songs. It is its rhythmic use of language as a reason; it is often called “metrical writing”. But as we see, cadenced poetry of the Bible and free verse for example, are rhythmic but not metrical in strict sense of the term.

Broadly speaking, poetry usually projects emotions, feelings and human experience in metrical language.

It was called the age of transition, because the drift of poetry of this period was towards Romanticism. It was the Romantic reaction, a rebellion against the classical domination. The “return to nature” is a name often given to one mode or feature of the Romantic reaction viz. the revival of the handling in poetry of subjects connected with external nature in a natural manner. Referring to this Romantic reaction Wyatt says: “Even while the fame of the classical poetry was at its height, the way was being prepared for its overthrow”.

Before Pope had reached the summit of his fame in the fourth decade of the century, James Thomson’s the Seasons (1730) had presented nature herself at first hand, not mere her conventional descriptions by poets who recommended her as a tonic to the town-weary, found a place once more in our literature, and was to find a larger one that at any earlier period.

Thomson’s The Seasons was the first noteworthy poem of the romantic revival; and the poems and poets increased steadily in number and importance till, in the age of Wordsworth and Scott, the spirit of romanticism dominated English literature more completely than Classicism had ever done. This Romantic Movement – (Victor Hugo says) liberalism in literature – is simply the expression of life as seen by imagination, rather than by prosaic “commonsense”, which was the central doctrine of English philosophy in the 18th century.

The Growth of Historical Research:

History appears late in English literature, for it presupposes a long apprenticeship of research and meditation. Like so many other things it was fostered in France, and it touched Scotland first. The general advance in knowledge and the research into national affairs which were the features of the 18th century culture quickly brought the study of history into prominence.

The historical school had a glorious leader in Gibbon, who was nearly, as much at home in the French language as he was in English.

New Realism:

Fielding and his kind dealt very faithfully with human life, and often were immersed in masses of sordid detain. In the wider sense of the word, the novelists were Romantics; for in sympathy and freshness of treatment they were followers of the new ideal.

The Influence on Poetry:

In 1740 we have Pope still alive and powerful, and Johnson as aspiring junior; in 1800, with Burns and Black, Romanticism has unquestionably arrived. Consequently:

1. Decline of the heroic couplet and free use of the Pindaric ode in the works of Gray and Collins.
2. The revival of the ballad.
3. The descriptive and narrative poems began – e.g. The Deserted Village.
4. The rise of lyric. The intense simplicity of the lyric of Burns and Blake.

Goldsmith adopts Pope’s heroic couple in The Deserted Village which is excellent poem of a didactic kind, exquisitely expressed. The Augustine principle of Reason and correctness came to be challenged. There was the raise of genuine imagination. There was also the protest against the bondage of rules.

The habit of writing leers became very popular during the 8th century and flourished till well into the 19th century, when the institution of the penny-post made letter-writing a convenience and not an art. It was this popularity of the letter that helped Richardson’s Pamela into public favor. In The Life of Johnson Boswell published many of Johnson’s letters.

There is a renewed appreciation of nature in the second half of the 18th century. The slogan was “A Return to Nature”. The nature was given due place in the classical poetry. But it was the conventional, bookish nature of the artificial pastoral and it dealt with urban life. Thus it was deficient in any genuine feeling for nature.

The poem The Seasons of Thomson reflects that he was an extremely careful observer of nature. It abounds in description of nature which is purely photographic. He was a describer and enumerator of nature which foreshadows great poets of nature i.e. Wordsworth and Shelley. The other precursors of the Romantic Reactions were Grey Collins, Blake and Burns whose poetry reveals an intimate knowledge and love of nature. Their attitude towards nature comes nearest to the Wordsworthian spirit.

The poetry of this age carries forward the tradition established by the seventeenth century poets Milton and Dryden. And therefore, the spirit of classicism develops into full bloom. The poets of this age followed the footsteps of Homer, Aristotle and Dryden.

The note of the poetry of this age is objective and impersonal. Here, a poet is much concerned with the society and is much affected by its imperfections. He poses as a reformer of the society. And therefore, as Dryden did in Absalom and Achitophel and other poetry, the poets of this age also adopt satire to chastise the society. Jonathan swift comes on the surface as on of the greatest satirist in the history of English literature.

The image of natures turns into human nature and the classicism considers the image of man as debased entity, as a fallen angel. Because of the social concern, the poetry of the eighteenth century is drawing room poetry that portrays the picture of urban life.

The poetry of this age is characterized by elegance, decorum and wit. As it is typified in the poetry of Pope, it is polished, formal and unimaginative. The closed couplets are the general usage of this time.

The Revival of Romantic Poetry

It is the eighteenth century where we find the seeds of romanticism. Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, Oliver Goldsmith’s Deserted Village, Burke’s poetry, Blake’s mystical poetry all are stepping stone to romantic poetry.

The romantic revival took place with Victor Hugo’s concept “liberalism in literature”. The Romantic Movement is marked by the following:

1.    Strong reaction against the bondage of rule and customs
2.    Call back to nature.
3.    Emphasis on the eternal ideas of youth and appeals to human hearts.
4.    Intense human sympathy – understanding of human heart
5.    The interest in the old sagas and medieval romances

Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton were the inspirational source behind this romantic revival. We cannot find a single poetry of this age where there is no influence of these poets.

Thomas Gray’s following poem is full of gentle melancholy which marks the early romantic poetry.

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day;
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea;
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinkling lull the distant folds.

The essay as a literary form had been invented by Montaigne soon before Bacon adopted it, but it is the essays alone which gave Bacon his fame in the world of literature.    The essays of Bacon normally fall into three great principles;

  1. Man in relation to the World and Society;
  2. Man in relation to himself;
  3. Man in relation to his Maker and Unseen World.

Most of Bacon’s essays fall in the first category. The first category consists of ‘empire’, ‘Great Place’, ‘Plantation’, ‘Gardens’, ‘Parents and Children’ etc. The second one comprises essays on ‘Wisdom’, ‘Ambition’, ‘Revenge’, ‘Adversity’, ‘Honor and Reputation’ etc. The third group consists of ‘Death’, ‘Atheism’, ‘Superstition’, ‘Prophecies’, ‘Unity in Religion’ etc.

Bacon, the Father of the English Essay:

It was Bacon who had written essays first in the language of England. Bacon is also considered as the first of the aphoristic writers of the English essay. His English is always tense and packed with thought. For example, the first line of his essay Of Revenge: “Revenge is a wild kind of justice”. This is one of the aphoristic remarks that decorate every page of this book of Bacon. Each sentence can be expressed into a paragraph and even into an essay.

Bacon’s Style in his Essays:

The sentences of Bacon’s essays are short. He is in the habit of quoting often from Latin authors. Bacon is considered to be the most learned man of the Elizabethan age.

Bacon made use of simile and metaphor. They are introspective and telling. Here are some of them:

  • Man fear death, as children fear to go in the dark;
  • Suspicions are amongst thoughts what bats are amongst birds: they fly best by twilight.
  • The way of the fortune is like the milken way in the sky;
  • Beauty is as summer fruits which are easy to corrupt and cannot last; …
  • Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested…

Bacon acknowledged the Renaissance idea that it is life on earth that is important and that all studies have to be directed to improving that life. This is exactly what his essays do.

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