English Literary Theory Previous Year Question Paper Year 2005 : IsT Year

Q. l.(a) “The mode of being of the new intellectual can no longer consist in eloquence, which is an exterior and momentary mover of feelings and passions, but in active participation in practical life, as constructor, organizer, ‘permanent persuader’ and not just a simple

(i) What kind of “new intellectual” does Gramsci promote here?

(ii) What leads to the development of this “new intellec¬tual”,, and what do such intellectuals accomplish ?


“All ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as con-crete subjects.”
Discuss Althusser’s concept of the subject in the light of this statement.

(b) “In wrestling nothing exists except in the absolute, there is no symbol, no allusion, everything is presented exhaustively. …. This grandiloquence is nothing but the popular and age-old image of the perfect intelligibility of reality.”

How, according to Barthes, does wrestling produce “the popular and age-old image of the perfect intelligibility of reality” ?


Critically analyse Greenblatt’s concept of the self as discussed in Renaissance Self Fashioning.

(c) “Let us wage a war on totality, let us be withness to the unpresentable, let us activate the difference.”
Comments on Lyotard’s view of postmodernism in the light of this statement.


“If totalization no longer has any meaning, it is ….because of the nature of the field -that is language and a finite language- [which] excludes totalization. This field is in effect that of play, that is to say a field of infinite substitutions only because it is finite, that is to say because instead of being too large, there is something missing from it: a center which arrests and grounds the play of substitutions. One could say…..that this movement of play, permitted by the lack of absence of a center or origin, is the movement of supplementarity”

How does Derrida define the concept of ‘play’ in this passage ? What implications does it have for the reading of a text ?
Answer :

Q. 2. (a) According to Eagleton, “the value-judgements by which [literature] is constituted are historically variable … [and they] them-selves have a close relation to social ideologies.”

Discuss, with examples, how literature is constituted differently in different historical situations and why.


What major historical and social forces led to the rise of English studies in England ?

(b) “The power of critical discourse moves on several levels.”
What different kinds of power relations, in Eagleton’s view, does critical discourse engage in ?


“I wish to recall literary criticism from certain fashionable, new¬fangled ways of thinking it has been seduced by – ‘literature’ as a specially privileged object, the ‘aesthetic’ as separable from social determinants….”

Which “fashionable, new-fangled ways of thinking” does Eagieton refer to ? What, in his view, is the function of literary criticism?
Answer :

Q. 3. How successful is Barrett in offering a materialist under¬standing of the ideology of gender ?


Compare and contrast Showalter’s and Mitchell’s views on women’s writing. Who do you think addresses the problem more accurately and why ?
Answer :

Q. 4. Critically comment on Spivak’s views on subaltern identity
and agency.


What, according to Aijaz Ahmad, are some of the problems and difficulties that a scholar attempting to write a history of Indian literature is bound to encounter ?
Answer :

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