bunpeiris Cambridge Literature

Tuition Cambridge IGCSE Literature at Kandana

bunpeiris Cambridge IGCSE Literature

Tuition Cambridge IGCSE Literature at Kandana

Private Tuition in ENGLISH Literature, Language Cambridge IGCSE, OL, Edexcel & National OL Targeting “A” Grade, at Kandana Saturdays and Sundays small groups by an Int’l School Master. Printed tutorials of absolutely high quality content and past papers. Classes are supported with an outstanding library of high quality, hard bound[hbk] study course books, literature course books, classics, language reference, fiction, biography, history etc.
bunpeiris@gmail.com Call 0777100060

William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet

William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet
Shakespeare is for all cosmos, for all times: above image is of 2013 Hollywood movie adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet starring Douglas Booth & Hailee Steinfeld; below [Home Page Slide Show] images are of 2013 Bollywood movie adaptation titled Ramleela starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shakespeare in a nutshell

Shakespeare in a nutshell by bunpeiris

Was Shakespeare [1564- 1616] fortunate to have lived in the golden age [Queen Elizabeth’s reign: 1558–1603] of English history, or was it the golden age that was fortunate to have him?

The worst of times, the best of works
It has been argued the best of the literary works comes into life in the worst of times: the living testimony towards such a persuasion comes in the form of no less than the glorious literature of Russia. The best of the literary works of Russia [Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky in 1866; War and peace by Tolstoy in 1869] had all sprung up during the worst of its times [czarist autocracies: reign of Alexander 111 1845-1894; reign of Nicholas 11 1894-1917].
Had Shakespeare lived in the worst of times, would he have even surpassed his unparalleled achievements as those stand today? Would he have infused still greater depth of suffering in the heart of King Lear at the death of his beloved daughter, Cordelia?
No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all?
King Lear (5.3.13)
"Has the world known a greater sorrow than a death of a child while the father is still alive?"
A hush has descebded on the Globe Theatre. Th packed audience of three thousand-lords, ladies, gentlemen, merchants, tradesmen, sailors, lawyers, servants, apprentices, schoolboys, prostitutes, brothel keepers, many of whom have paid only one penny to stand as “groundlings” in front of the stage-are watching a brand –new play in broad spring daylight.. Richard burbage enters as the old King Lear. In his arms in his daughter, Cordelia, played by a boy actor. Burbage fills the rapt silence with sounds of torment even more painful than his cries of madness on the heath an hour or so earlier. His beloved Cordlia is “dead as earth”. Nothing as unremittingly bleak has ever been seen on the English stage. Departing radically from previous telling of the story. Willaim Shakespeare, the play’s 42 year old author, has been brave to let Cordelia die. By doing so he has raised stark questions about the nature of existence, questions raised afreash each time King Lear is performed. Arguably the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays, King Lear is also one of humanity’s finest artistic achievements.    
Stanley Wells: Shakespeare off the record

Best of works, best of times
James S. Shapiro [born 1955], the Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University who specializes in Shakespeare and the Early Modern period, contends that Shakespeare was born in the right place and time: “his genius flourished in the richly collaborative world of the Elizabethan theater, and his dyer’s hand was steeped in the social and spiritual contradictions of an age poised between the medieval and the modern.”
Following the ascension of Elizabeth [1533-1603] to the throne, significant concessions were extended to the Catholics in appeasement; following the defeat of Spanish Armada in 1588, England established herself as the leading maritime & commercial power of the world.
Furthermore, importance of the arts to the life and legacy of her nation was recognized by Queen Elizabeth [reign: 1558-1603]. The Queen being fond of the theater, extended Royal patronage to establish professional theaters attracting 15,000 theatergoers per week in London, a city of 150,000 to 250,000. Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queen, and Sir Philip Sidney’s Defence of Poesie were all written during this golden age. And Shakespeare was the favourite dramatist of the queen.
Then again, following the death of Queen Elizabeth, King James [reign: 1603-1635] heartened the hearts & buoyed up the lives of the dramatists. The king’s men were frequently  summoned to playact at Whitehall, at Greenwhich, or at Richmond. Shakespeare, who was beieved to had never travelled overseas, probably lend his ears to  Sir Fracnis Drake [1540 –1596], who circumnavigated [1577 -1580] only for the second time in mankind, was the second-in-command of the English fleet that blasted off the mighty Spanish Armada in 1588 and to Sir Walter Raleigh [1554 –1618], the  English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy, and explorer.
A king with a king-size heart for learning, James elevated Shakespeare’s theater company, Lord Chamberlain’s Men to the status of the King’s Men. Will was the enlightening light; Will  was the all consuming fire; Will  was the soul enhancing music; Will  was the life giving water. He said it all: all about humanity, human heart being his workshop. Since then he has been all those & more.

To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor muse can praise too much;

To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare by Ben Jonson [1572- 1637].

The literary humanist
To his friend and rival dramatist Ben Jonson, Shakespeare was the Sweet Swan of Avon and not of an age, but for all time, man for all ages. Since Ben Jonson, a stream of literary lumineries have articulated his concise words in longer versions: here goes Joeph Fiennes [born 1970].
When I was preparing to play him in the film Shakespeare in Love, my starting point was that he was an incredible observer of the people around him, soaking up their characteristic like blotting paper. The key is that Will Shakespeare was Everyman; politically his views ranged across the board: in religious matters he was non-committal; sexually he was able to inhabit all points of view. He could deal with everyone from street urchins to monarchs, and he had the same problems as his characters. Being aware of his own doubts & contradictions made him intensly human. 
 Shakespeare is for all ages, all cosmos
Joseph Fiennes goes on
Despite  the huge thrust of technological advance since the Elizabethen era, the human condition Shakepeare wrote about remains timeless. We still fall in love &get angry and avaricious; we are materiliastic or fanatical or seek spoirtually. Here was a man who understood all the pain of being human, yet loved life & humour& fun. Put simply, he was one of the greatest-ever literary humanists.
Language for self-expression for every human emotion
Stanley Wells: Shakespeare off the record
Over the past four centuries, Shakespeare’s iconic status as a poet & dramatist has come to represent what it means to be a genius, and his words have provided a language of self expression for every human emotion. Shakepeare is cited as an athourity in moral, political and cultural contexts that even he could have never dreamed of. His very name can stimulate approval, challenge, argument, lunacy, brilliance and, occassinlay, especially among schoolchildren, boredom. Shakespeare’s legacy represents more than the story of a life & its age; it has dominated artistic & cultural endeavour in every generation that has followed him.
The Invention of the Human
Furthermore, the leading light of Shakepearan works, Harold Bloom [born 1930] 1930 would go further: Shakespeare "essentially invented human personality as we continue to know and value it."
"Before Hamlet taught us not to have faith either in language or in ourselves, being human was much simpler for us but also rather less interesting," Bloom writes. "Shakespeare, through Hamlet, has made us skeptics in our relationships with anyone, because we have learned to doubt articulateness in the realm of affection."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Anthony Burgess

Anthony Burgess

Following article is republished herein by the kind courtesy of International Anthony Burgess Foundation. 
Anthony Burgess was a late starter in the art of fiction. He spent many years as a school teacher in England and Malaya before his first novel, Time for a Tiger, was published in 1956, by which time he was 39 years old. He had previously completed the drafts of two other novels, A Vision of Battlements and The Worm and the Ring, which had been rejected for publication in the early 1950s.
After the critical success of his first three novels (which were later published together as The Malayan Trilogy), Burgess returned to England in 1959 with the aim of documenting the ways in which British society had changed while he had been living in Malaya and Brunei. His novelThe Right to an Answer considers the England of the late 1950s and early 1960s from the perspective of Mr Raj, an overseas student who is visiting Britain while researching a thesis. In The Doctor Is Sick, Burgess explores the underworld of London, with particular reference to Cockney rhyming slang and the secret language of criminals. Other novels from this period include One Hand Clapping, a mediatation on the condition of England, and Inside Mr Enderby, in which Burgess (writing as Joseph Kell) introduces the poet Francis Xavier Enderby, who also appears in three later novels. His short novel The Eve of Saint Venus, illustrated by the Australian artist Edward Pagram, considers the manners and morals of the English upper classes. Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare’s Love Life is the first of Burgess’s encounters with England’s national poet and playwright. It was followed by a Shakespeare film script and an illustrated biography.
Two futuristic dystopias were composed in the early 1960s: A Clockwork Orange (later filmed by Andy Warhol and Stanley Kubrick) and The Wanting Seed. Burgess returned to speculative fiction in 1978, when he published 1985, a combination of novel and critical text, which offers an alternative prophecy to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
From the mid-1960s Burgess’s novels became increasingly outward-looking in their focus. Honey for the Bears, which draws extensively on Burgess’s knowledge of Russian language and culture, is set in Leningrad, which Burgess and his first wife had visited in the summer of 1961.Tremor of Intent (1966), a parody of Ian Fleming’s espionage thrillers, takes place on a gastronomic cruise ship sailing into Soviet Eastern Europe. Burgess made two trips to Tangier to visit his friend William Burroughs, and he drew on his knowledge of the city when he came to write Enderby Outside.
Burgess left England permanently in 1968, and his ambition to become known as a EuropeanNapoleon Symphony novelist blossomed after this date. M/F, based on a non-fiction text by the structuralist anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, is an updating of the Oedipus myth. In Napoleon Symphony, perhaps his most challenging novel in formal terms, Burgess uses musical prose in order to retell the Napoleon story. The novel takes its four-movement structure from Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, and each episode within the novel corresponds to a passage of music in Beethoven’s score. There is a similar experiment within Mozart and the Wolf Gang, which features a narrative written in the style of Jane Austen and the Marquis de Sade, based on a Mozart symphony. The deliberate fusion of words and music became more prominent in Burgess’s writing after the performance of his Symphony in C by the University of Iowa Orchestra in 1975. In Beard’s Roman Women, for example, Burgess makes frequent references to the Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day by John Dryden. Burgess went on to compose his own musical setting of Dryden’s text in 1978.
The Clockwork Testament is a kind of sequel to A Clockwork Orange, in which Burgess reflects bitterly on the evils of Hollywood and the perils of film adaptation. The text includes a long poem about Saint Augustine and the heretic Pelagius, as well as the screenplay of a trashy film based on The Wreck of the Deutschland by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Burgess’s most substantial novel, Earthly Powers, was published to international acclaim in 1980. The novel is a family saga which chronicles the disasters of the twentieth century, narrated by a homosexual novelist whose sister is married to the Pope’s brother. The uneasy friendship between the writer and the cleric takes place across four continents, against an ever-changing backdrop of wars, civil unrest and religious horrors. The critic George Steiner wrote in the New Yorker: ‘The whole landscape is the brighter for Earthly Powers, a feat of imaginative breadth and intelligence which lifts fiction high.’ Earthly Powers was awarded the Charles Baudelaire Prize and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger in France in 1981.
The End of the World News brings together three narratives about world-changing events: the career of Sigmund Freud and the invention of psychoanalysis; the life of Leon Trotsky, presented in the form of a Broadway musical; and the destruction of the earth by a rogue asteroid.  Burgess had seen a photograph of President Jimmy Carter watching three television sets simultaneously, and the novel is intended to mimic the act of watching three different television channels in this way.
Other novels of the 1970s and 1980s include Abba Abba, which concerns an imaginary meeting in Rome between the dying John Keats and the blasphemous Roman sonneteer Belli; Moses: A Narrative, an epic poem based on the Book of Exodus; Man of Nazareth, adapted from Burgess’s television scripts for Jesus of Nazareth; and Any Old Iron, in which the sword Excalibur is rediscovered by Welsh nationalists in the middle years of the twentieth century.
In the early 1990s Burgess announced his intention to publish a long novel written inottava rima, the verse form used by Lord Byron in his narrative poem, Don Juan. This eventually emerged as Byrne, Burgess’s last novel, published posthumously in 1995. His final novel in prose was A Dead Man in Deptford, an account of the assassination of Christopher Marlowe written in mock-Elizabethan English, published in 1993 to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of Marlowe’s death.
Anthony Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" was one of the resources for Cambridge AS/A Level learning in the year 2012.


Monday, August 25, 2014


by bunpeiris

No single modern literary work has ever revealed to the West the beauty of Indian culture as Gitanjali has done. Gitanjali is a work of literature like none other: it is timeless and priceless. All the poems under the stars are fickle drops of glistening dew on the cusps of petals of flowers in the still wilderness, that would be swept away by the flimsiest of breeze; Gitanjali is the resplendent full moon that would stay still all throughout the loveliest of starry nights. In less than a year’s time since the English translation of Gitanjali, in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was awarded the Noble Prize for literature. In spite of the Nobel Prize, Tagore was the poet’s poet as Leo Tolstoy was the novelist’s novelist. Irrespective of Noble Prize, Gitanjali is the noblest poem ever: it is a supreme work of literature, whose divinity and humanity wouldn’t be measured by a worldly reward, least of all, by the Noble Prize, of which, political neutrality has been eroded in the past couple of decades, especially in terms of the Noble Prize for Peace. Even on the matter of Prize for Literature, the fact that Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Hardy, Indian Master R. K. Narayan (1906- 2001), Narayan’s discoverer Graham Greene (1904-1991), English novelist Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970) and English novelist William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) were deprived of due recognition, has dimmed the halo of the Nobel Prize. But then none of the winners was of the caliber of Tolstoy; Novelist Tolstoy was Tolstoy. He was of his own class as the poet Rabindranath Tagore was. Hence the Indians and lovers of R. K. Narayan needn’t be overly sulky: the ultimate honor for a novelist, is to be in the company of Tolstoy.

Rabindranath Tagor, the humanist
Nevertheless, the Noble Prize brought in great publicity upon Gurudev Rabindranath Tagor: it was the first time a non-western writer was so honored. Overnight, the peerless poet, the supreme humanist philosopher of modern era became the leading light of the world espousing the cause of a multi-cultural world in the world stage.

Rabindranath Tagore, India’s most cherished Renaissance figure
In India, on a spiritual plane, Tagore was the modern-day sage; on the temporal level, he was an educationist who embodied the best of traditional Hindu education with Western ideals.

The discovery of Rabindranath Tagore by Rothenstein & W. B. Yeats
Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet who wrote stories, plays and songs in his mother tongue, Bengali. He wasn’t much known in India, not to mention overseas. In 1912, though sans great expectations, Tagore translated his latest poems, Gitanjali from Bengali to English on a small notebook during a sea voyage with his son to England. In London Tagore’s briefcase containing the note book, among other things was left behind in the London subway. By providence, the brief case was recovered in the following day. British artist Sir William Rothenstein (1872-1945), a friend of the family of Tagore in Calcutta (1911), having heard of translation, persuaded a reluctant Tagore, to reveal the translation. Having taken by surprise, on July 7, 1912, William Rothenstein had his friend William Butler Yeats read the poem in his rented house in Hampstead. Irishman W. B. Yeats, the foremost poet of his era in England, found himself enthralled in the poem. On November 1, 1912, the India Society in London published a limited edition (750 copies, of which 500 were for the members and 250 for the general sale) of Gitanjali: Song of Offerings containing English translation of 103 poems, with an introduction by Yeats and a pencil-sketch of Tagore by Rothenstein.

Rabindranath Tagore dedicated the publication of English translation of Gitanjali to William Rothenstein. William Butler Yeats went on to win Nobel Prize for Literature a decade later, in the year 1923.

Rabindranath Tagore Renounces Knighthood

Tagore, knighted by King George V in 1919, renounced his Knighthood following the massacre of over 400 unarmed civilians at the public garden of Jallianwala Bagh, Amirtsar in the Punjab state of India by the British colonialists in India. In spite of good rapport with Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948),the leading light of Indian nationalism, in spite of renouncing British atrocities in India, Tagore wasn’t deeply involved in politics. He wasn’t a political activist as Gandhi was. His main activities were confined to delivering lectures around the world and expansion of his university that he sustained with his own funds that he collected by from his never ending writing, composing and lecturing.

Rabindranath Tagore upbraids Mahatma Gandhi

Tagore was a sage.Tagore was the maker not only of modern Indian literature but also the modern Indian mind. He would refuse to fall before god begging for salvation. He upbraided Mahatma Gandhi for declaring that a massive 15 January 1934 earthquake in Bihar, India leaving thousands dead, was divine retribution brought on by the oppression of Dalits of India. Tagor was a humanist who wouldn’t accept that divinity, if that existed, would be bent upon, punishing the humanity.

Rabindranath Tagore and Buddhism
Though born to a prominent Brahmin family in Bengal, Tagore was never a staunch proponent of Hinduism. In fact, at his own Visva-Bharati a public central university located at Santiniketan, West Bengal, Tagore had Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, and Pali language in its streams of learning.

Rabindranath Tagore on his religious beliefs
I have been asked to let you know something about my own view of religion. One of the reasons why I always feel reluctant to speak about this is that I have not come to my own religion through the portals of passive acceptance of a particular creed owing to some accident of birth. I was born to a family the members of which were pioneers in the revival in our country of a great religion, based upon the utterances of Indian sages in the Upanishads. But, owing to my idiosyncrasy of temperament, it was impossible for me to accept any religious teaching on the only ground that people in my surroundings believed it to be true. I could not persuade myself to imagine that I had a religion simply because everybody whom I might trust believed in its value.
Tagore in China: Talks in China (1925)

Rabindranath Tagore reveals his version of God in Gitanjali

Above song is the Sinhalese rendition of Poem No.11 of Gitanjali given below.
Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads!
Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?
Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!
He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the path maker is breaking stones.
He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment is covered with dust. Put of thy holy mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil!
Where is this deliverance to be found?
Our master himself has joyfully taken upon him the bonds of creation; he is bound with us all forever.
Come out of thy meditations and leave aside thy flowers and incense!
What harm is there if thy clothes become tattered and stained?
Meet him and stand by him in toil and in sweat of thy brow

Rabindrnath Tagore: True words and an unbroken World
Rabindrnath Tagore was a champion of the notion of “One World” that makes his name live forever. The following poem from Gitanjali [Song offerings] brings together the ideals Tagore presented to India and to the entire humankind.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action.
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
John Lennon echoes Rabindranath Tagor: Imagine
In the year 1971, co-founder of Rock Music Band Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr) (1960-1970), John Lennon (1940-1980), whose solo album sales as at 2012 exceeded 14 million units, was to echo Rabindranath Tagor’s dream of unbroken world; a world at peace, without the divisiveness and barriers of religions and nationalities.
Here is the Anthem of Peace.

Incidentally, as Tagore renounced his knighthood over Amritsar Massacre (1919), John Lennon, half a century later, in 1969, returned his MBE to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 over Mai Lai Massacre (1968) in Vietnam. Following the murder of John Lennon by the gunman Mark David Chapman, Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono issued a statement saying "There is no funeral for John", ending it with the words, “John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him.”

Imagine there's no heaven It's easy if you try
No hell below us Above us only sky
Imagine all the people Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too
Imagine all the people Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one
"Desmond Morris informs me that John Lennon's magnificent song is sometimes performed in America with the phrase 'and no religion too' expurgated. One version even has the effrontery to change it to 'and one religion too." Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Quote Adam Buxton "Perhaps controversial, but this bit in The Killing Fields with Imagine makes my list. I remember when we went to see The Killing Fields when I was little, and everybody came out of the theatre and said, “That bit with Imagine? Really? For Christ’s sake, that was so cheesy! Such a low blow.” But the implication seemed to be that they felt violated because it had worked. They all cried because it’s a very moving moment. Schanberg and Dith Pran are reunited, and suddenly this anthem for peace comes on, and it’s very hard not to be moved by it. Then you feel manipulated, and you feel that that’s unfair. But that’s good, that’s not exactly manipulation... maybe it is, it’s just big style manipulation. It just seemed too obvious for many people, I guess. It’s like durr, Imagine, it’s a big movie song. I don’t cry every time I hear Imagine, but I do want to cry when I see it in that film at that moment." Adam Buxton

The Killing Fields are a series of mass graves of Cambodians subjected to genocide by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War (1970-1975).
DC-Cam Mapping Program and Yale University indicate at least 1,386,734 victims buried in 20,000 mass graves. Estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a population of around 8 million. In 1979, communist Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime. It was a spillover of Vietnam war (1955-1975) in which Americans bombed Indo China for for two decades day after day: 6,727,048 tons of bombs, more than twice the quantity of bombs dropped by Allies in the European theater and Pacific theater  in the Second World War.
Cambodian journalist Dith Pran coined the term "killing fields" after his escape from the regime. A 1984 film, The Killing Fields, narrates the story of Dith Pran, played by another Cambodian survivor Haing S. Ngor, and his journey to escape the death camps.

Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali in Sinhala
Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali was thrice translated into Sinhala, the language of Sinhalese of Sri Lanka by three Sinhalese writers: Prof. Vinnie Vitharana, Kusum Dissnayake (wife of Dr. J. B. Dissanayake) and Edmund Jayasuriya. Edward Jayasuriya’s translation carries an introductory text by illustrious Sri Chandraratne Manawasinghe (1913-1964) of the village of Puwakdandawa in Ruhunu Giruwapattuwa off Sri Lanka Holidays Tangalle.

Rabindranath Tagore and Sri Lanka
Quote Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka 12th June 2012.
Tagore’s fascination with Sri Lanka can be attributed to two factors, Dr Sandagomi Coperhewa said: his awareness of the Sinhalese people and culture having descended from immigrants from Bengal region in ancient times and due to his profound respect for Theravada Buddhism and the Buddhist heritage of the island. One recalls Tagore’s song about the Buddha, “Please be born again….” (two lines loosely translated being: “The world today is wild with the delirium of hatred, All creatures are crying for a new birth of thine”). Tagore was also aware of Angarika Dharmapala’s (1864-1993) pioneering Buddhist revival work in India, and the Maha Bodhi Journal (1892) started by Angarika Dharmapala was patronized by Indian intellectuals such as Tagore who contributed articles and poems to it, and needless to say, Angarika Dharmapala had great respect for Tagore. While in India, Sri Lankan art critic and historian Ananda Commaraswamy (1874-1947) also formed close relationships with the Tagore family and was involved in both the literary renaissance and the Swadeshi movement-an early phase of the struggle for Indian independence.

Tagor’s first visit to Sri Lanka was said to be when he was a student at the University Of London, England. Tagore's subsequent visit to Sri Lanka in 1922, 1928 & 1934 have been well recorded. Tagore’s visit to Sri Lanka in 1922 and 1928 were mainly owing to Buddhist Heritage of Sri Lanka. It is also recorded that Tagore availed the opportunities to introduce his concept Visva-Baharat, a school of art and literature. Tagore’s visit to Sri Lanka weren’t confined to intellectual circles in Colombo: he visited some of the key cultural attractions of Sri Lanka Holidays: Kandy, Anuradhapura, Galle and Matara. During his visit in 1928, Tagore, in spite of his poor health, took part in Vesek festival in Sri Lanka Holidays Anuradhapura

The Iliad

Reading "The Iliad" by bunpeiris
His mind fluttered; his fingers almost trembled. He was only eight years old & the epic narration of a war that had lasted no less than a decade held him, gripping tightly, at once with a pain and a pleasure in an unbearable state of being. Unbearable, for the reason, now it praises the gallantry of a hero; then it weeps at the death of the opponent of the hero. He sighs with relief when the hero makes a herculean effort to recover from the relentless assault and deals a mortal blow at his opponent in the nick of time; then he sighs again in sorrow when the darkness of death falls upon the opponent of his hero, for he too was somebody’s son, somebody’s father, somebody’s husband as his hero was. He went on reading.

But Ilioneus’ mother had given Phorbas no other child, and now this only son was struck by Penelos under the eyebrow in the socket of the eye. The spear dislodged his eyeball, pierced the socket & came out at the nape of the neck. He sank down and stretched out both his hands. But Penelos, drawing his sharp sword, hit him full on the neck & brought head & helmet tumbling to the ground. The heavy spear was till struck in the eye as Penelos raised it aloft, like a poppy-head, for the Trojans to see, & exulted over his enemy. “Trojans’” he cried “be so good as to instruct the father & mother of my lord Ilioneus to start lamenting him at home….”

His young heart stirred. He felt his heart too heavy. The narration of relentless violence showed no mercy upon his little heart; to learn each killed had his mother & father waiting at home caused his eyes heavy with tears swelling in. But he wouldn’t give up. It was midnight, his father was repairing a tape recorder; his mother was manually winding a radio transformer by means of a manual hand drill fixed horizontally onto a work bench; his four siblings were fast asleep. He was awake reading what must be read, before the dawn. He wouldn’t call off it for the following day, since the day after the following day, all of them would be in a day long journey on a locomotive train “Udarata Menike” [Sinhala: Highland Belle] powered by Canadian diesel electric engine leaving Colombo Fort to reach the highland sanitarium, the military canton town of Diyatalawa, 47 km south of Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya. It was December school vacation.

Little did he know, herein his hands was a masterpiece. Little did he know that he was reading a lynchpin of the western canon. Little did he know it was the favorite book of Alexander the Great himself, his very first foreign hero. Little did he know what he had already been experiencing, was preciously what the original writer of the story had etched into immortality: the human soul in its duel form; good and bad; the man’s violence upon man. Then on an equal footing was the conceptions of heroism and honour tied to the reality of tragedy. He was eight. He read the whole story cover to cover before the crack of the dawn and dreamt it night after night for a fortnight in the salubrious climate of Diyatalawa, one of the sanatariums encompassed in Ceylon Health Triangle of Sri Lanka. It was “Ranabima” [Sinhala: the battlefield], David Karunaratne’s Sinhalese translation of Homer’s “The Iliad”.  Written by bunpeiris. 

Heinrich Schliemann and the discovery of Troy, the battleground of "The lliad" of Homer
The city we call Troy, founded about 2920 BCE, was destroyed at least nine times and was home to various groups over its rocky history. The Greeks could be called the first “discoverers” of Troy because they founded the town of Ilion on the site after 300 years of abandonment, sometime around 700 BCE. They thought their Ilion was on the location of the legendary Trojan War.The city was abandoned about 1500 AD and forgotten. In 1868, German-American adventurer Heinrich Schliemann arrived at Troy’s location.He had heard the claim of Frank Calvert, an Englishman who was living there, that the hill called Hisarlik was likely to be hiding the ruins of Troy. After walking the site and reading the on a rooftop for two hours, Schliemann wrote, “I was fully convinced that it was here that ancient Troy had stood.” A wealthy man, Schliemann could pay for a big archaeological dig. However, the science of archaeology was very new, and Schliemann made mistakes. For example, he told the world about a set of beautiful artifacts that he labeled “The Treasure of Priam.”He even had his wife dress up wearing some of the lovely gold jewelry. Schliemann was sure that the treasure was from the Troy of the Trojan War. 
After his death, Schliemann’s assistant Wilhelm Doerpfeld proved the treasure was part of Troy II, much earlier than the Trojan War could have been. Doerpfeld worked at Troy for many years, and it was he who identified the nine basic layers of the city, and labeled them with the system in Roman numerals that is still used today. Doerpfeld favored Troy VI as the fabled Troy. In 1932, he agreed to American archaeologist, Carl Blegen of the University of Cincinnati, to work on the site. Blegen and his crew kept full scientific records and used pottery to date parts of the site more accurately. It was Blegen who determined that Troy VII was the likeliest time for the Trojan War, based on evidence of burning and siege.So, is the discovered Troy the “real” Troy? 
Scholars disagree on whether it's the location of the war on which the legends were based. In fact, the legends may have been based on a series of wars, or on fragments of memory, or on imagined events.What we do know is that the Troy Schliemann, Doerpfeld, and Blegen rediscovered is real, and tells us a lot about how people lived over many centuries. 
Troy is still being discovered today. Beginning in 1988, archaeologists from the University of Tübingen, Germany and the University of Cincinnati, under the direction of the late German archaeologist Manfred Korfmann, found many exciting things, including a Mycenean cemetery at Besik Bay, south of Troy, which suggested the landing place of the invading Greeks in the Trojan War. They found that the city extended out onto the plain, where fences and ditches kept enemies out, and found ample evidence of late layers built by the Greeks and Romans who themselves believed that the Trojan War had happened there, and was their own history.     http://cerhas.uc.edu/troy/q415b.html


Figurative Language 1

Figurative Language

 [ Part 1]
Figurative language
The use of words to express meaning beyond the literal meaning of the words themselves: metaphor, simile, hyperbole, oxymoron, personification
Figurative language is the opposite of literal language
Literal language means exactly what it says.
Figurative language makes the reader or listener use his imagination & understand much more than plain words.

He ran fast.  [literal]
He ran like the wind. [figurative]
Why do we have figurative language?
A figure is worth a thousand words [A picture is worth a thousand words]
Metaphor. We liken [compare] one thing to another.

We use as or like to compare

We don’t use  as or Like
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales & hills

[Daffodils by William Wordsworth]

The sea is a hungry dog
Giant & grey

He rolls on the beach all day
[The sea by J. Reeves]
She is like a rose  [She is beautiful.]
She is a rose.  [She is beautiful]
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods, They kill us for their sport.
[Shakespeare: King Lear Act 4.1.43]

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men & women merely players

[Shakespeare: As You Like It, 2.7.142]

It’s been a hard day’s night
& I’ve been working like a dog

You are the sunshine of my life.

Hyperbole – exaggeration
I have a million things to do today.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for rich man to enter the kingdom of God

[Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25]

I can tell when my mother-in-law is coming over; the mice throw themselves on the traps.

“Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred, Then another thousand, then a second hundred, Then still another thousand, then a hundred, Then, when we will have made so many thousands, we'll garble them up, so that we may not know, nor any wicked man have power to give us the evil eye, knowing the quantity of kisses.”

―Gaius Valerius Catullus

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