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Analysis Of Selected Indo Anglian Poets English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2050 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Indo-Anglian poetry is obviously a historical phenomenon, but it is vastly more than that; it has by now, become a separate and significant genre and a dynamic contribution to world literature. While exploring the genesis of Indo-Anglian literature we must consider, apart from the contemporary colonial ambience, certain other major factors including the existing heritage of the rich Indian literature. The great continuity of the Sanskrit literature from the Vedic verses of the antiquity down to the poetry of Jaydev in the twelfth century was succeeded by the Persian influence in the medieval period. From the medieval period onwards poetical output in the regional output in the regional Indian languages had been striving and succeeding to strike their distinct character. So, why did the pioneers of Indo-Anglian poetry choose to write in a foreign language in preference to their own indigenous regional language. It is true that by the time the Indo-Anglian poetry started to flourish the British had already established their rule on the Indian soil and the pathfinders like Rammohan Roy had been insisting on the introduction of English education for the Indian people; it is also true that aspiring people very naturally showed their eagerness to learn the language of the rulers. English language opened up the windows for the western thoughts, culture, and literature to come and enrich the people of this country. Still, can we explain one’s urge to compose verses in a foreign language as a natural inclination? True, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was half Indian, half Portuguese and English was perhaps his only means of communication. How do we account for the efforts of Kashiprosad Ghosh or Toru Dutt or even Bankim Chandra Chattopadhayay who wrote his first novel (Rajmohan’s Wife) in English?

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In the craze for English education in particular and European education in general there was, as Sri Aurobindo points out, ‘some revolutionary denial of the very principles of old culture’ [1] . Toru Dutt, though a Bengali by birth, was brought up in an Anglicised atmosphere and was vastly more at home with English Language than her mother tongue.

There is an opinion that Indo-Anglian poets in Bengal (in fact Indo-Anglian poetry flourished first in Bengal) were unable to find inspiration from the existing Bengali poety because from 1760 to 1830 poetry in the vernacular was lacking in grandeur and richness. Even if the compositions of Ramprasad Sen, Bharat Chandra and Ishwar Gupta are considered limited in the range of subject-matter,literary spirit and poetic craftsmanship. A poet seeking inspiration from indigenous literature could go beyond the so called ‘stale’ period. In fact Toru Dutt and others drew freely on the classical literature for their poetic creations. Indo-Anglian poetry was born because of several reasons which may be listed as, (a) introduction of English education leading to a growing underestimation of the vernacular, (b) exposure to Western culture, thought, philosophy and literature and (c) a subconscious desire to emulate the British poets.

In this dissertation, we will be doing the linguistic analysis of certain selected poems of three prominent Indo-Anglian poets, namely Toru Dutt, Sri Aurobindo, and Henry Louis Vivian Derozio.


This dissertation will be under the strict guidance of my research consultant. There will be use of data from varied texts and journals and other dissertations, and visitations to both public as well as private libraries and also university libraries.

In compiling this dissertation, special emphasis will be put on analysing ‘individual words’, ‘syntax, and ‘metaphors’ of the poems selected under the linguistic banner. Subsequently, in lieu of the linguistic analysis, we will delve to identify the aspects that shaped the poet to write the particular poem selected; thereby trying to bring into fore the inner character of the poet involved.

Poetry can be many things. Poetry can be philosophical, or emotional, or sentimental. It can paint pictures, in a descriptive mode, or tell stories, in a narrative one. Poetry can also be satirical, or funny, or political, or just informative. Yet none of these activities is specific to poetry, or reveals how poetry differs from other kinds of writing or speaking.

A definition that underscores what makes poetry distinctive might be: poetry is language in which every component element-word and word order, sound and pause, image and echo-is significant, significant in that every element points toward or stands for further relationships among and beyond themselves. Poetry is language that always means more. Its elements are figures, and poetry itself is a language of figures, in which each component can potentially open toward new meanings, levels, dimensions, connections, or resonances. Poetry does this through its careful, intricate pattern of words. It offers language as highly organized as language can be. It is language so highly patterned that there is, ideally, a reason or purpose (or rather, many) for each and every word put into a poem. No word is idle or accidental. Each word has a specific place within an overarching pattern. Together they create meaningful and beautiful designs. [2] So our first step of the linguistic analysis will be based on the ‘individual words’ of a selected poetry.

The next elemental unit of poetry, building from the unit of the word, is the poetic line. Poetry’s peculiar feature, that the lines stop (usually) before the end of the page, is what often announces to us that what we are reading is a poem. But the way the poetic line works depends upon many structures. One of these is metrical organization. The line extends only as long as a particular rhythm dictates. Another is syntax, the rules, units, and structures of grammar, which works in complex harmony and counterpoint with the construction and strategy of the poetic line.

Poetry, like all language, of course involves syntax. The language of poetry breaks up into familiar syntactical units (or purposely refuses to do so): phrases of various kinds, clauses, sentences, perhaps even paragraphs, depending on the poem. The individual words in the poem, which on one level are chosen for their diction or the associations they bring to the poem, also of course function in their grammatical roles as parts of speech. Words are subjects and objects, prepositions and conjunctions and verbs. In a poem, however, there is rather more freedom in word order, and even in word forms than in most other uses of language. This is tied to the fact that in poetry, even the bland, boring orders of syntax become charged with poetic meaning. It may no longer be a matter of subject/verb/object. A poet may reverse this order, in a desire to emphasize, say, the verb. Departure from the natural order of language is in fact a common way to “foreground” or draw attention to a particular word. It is a general truth in poetry that changes in ordinary procedures-twists against the expected order-attract attention. It is like putting a spotlight on the word or phrase or structure that surprises, as a dramatic gesture. Therefore after the ‘individual words’ level, we will be moving on to the forum of ‘syntax’ and ‘poetic line’ in our linguistic analysis.

Imagery is another basic poetic unit, one more specific to poetry and much more obviously exciting; it is the fireworks of poetry, often thought of as poetry’s defining characteristic. Actually, how large a role the kind of vivid visual picture we think of as the very stuff of poetry plays varies from literary period to period, with changes in literary taste and literary fashion. Different ages admire different things in poetry, and our admiration for certain kinds of imagery has its own specific historical context. Still, through most literary tastes and trends, the poetic image has remained a fundamental unit of poetic composition, whether as a small decorative moment in a larger argument, or as the primary organizing principle of the poem as a whole. The analysis of the ‘imagery’ in the poem will be our final forum in our linguistic analysis of the selected poems.

The dissertation will be compiled and presented in printable A4 sized sheets and will be divided into organized chapters and subtitles thereby posing minimalistic confusion to the readers.

Scope and Objectives

The scope of this dissertation will be based on the core topic with miscellaneous topics being put forth in relation to the core.

Objectives of this Dissertation:

A detailed understanding and knowledge of certain aspects of linguistic analysis of a poem, mainly diction, syntax, symbols and metaphor.

To find out how Indo-Anglian poets moulded the traditional British English to inculcate native values as well as foreign ethics in the selected texts.

To understand the effects of social, spiritual, and personal uprisings (in the poet’s life) in the making of the poems selected.


This dissertation will be presented in five chapters and a brief summary of each of them with their titles are given below:

Chapter 1 – Introduction

This chapter will contain a brief history of Indo-Anglian poetry and will also highlight the methods that will be implied for the linguistic analysis of the selected poems.

Chapter 2 – Linguistic Analysis of selected poems of Toru Dutt


“The Lotus

Chapter 3 – Linguistic Analysis of selected poems of Sri Aurobindo

“The blue bird”



Chapter 4 – Linguistic Analysis of selected poems of Henry Loius Vivian Derozio

“Harp of India”

The Haiku Verses of Derozio – “Beauty”

Chapter 5 – Conclusion

This chapter will be dealing with an amalgamation of the previous four chapters

Sugesstive Reading

Chambers Robert 2009, History of the English Language And Literature, General Books LLC Publications.

Dossena Marina, 2007, Geo-Historical Variation in English: Selected Papers from the Fourteenth International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (Icehl 14), IV: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory), John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Farmer Ann K, 2012, Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication, New Arrivals – MIT publications.

Frascarelli Mara, 2012, Linguistic Analysis : From data to theory, Walter De Gruyter publications.

Kapoor Kapil, 1994, Language,Linguistics, and Literature, Academic Foundation Press.

Lyons John 2010, Language and Linguistics, Cambridge University Press.

Madhukar G.D. 2011 , Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, Swastik Publications.

Newmeyer Frederick, 1988, Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey, Cambridge University Press.

Stabler Edward, 2001, Linguistics: An Introduction to Linguistic Theory, John Wiley & Sons publications.

Wrenn C.L. 2007, The English Language, Vikas Publishing House.


Sonnet – ‘Baugmaree’ : http://www.poetrycat.com/toru-dutt/sonnet–baugmaree

Sonnet – ‘The lotus’ : http://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/toru_dutt_2012_4.pdf

‘The blue bird’ : http://sriaurobindolighttrust.org/e-magazine/poems-of-sri-aurobindo/

‘Invitation’ : http://sriaurobindolighttrust.org/e-magazine/poems-of-sri-aurobindo/

‘Who’ : http://sriaurobindolighttrust.org/e-magazine/poems-of-sri-aurobindo/

‘Harp of India’ : http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-harp-of-india/


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