Methods of Literary Criticism

I have discovered some tools for the methodology of literary criticism. They are:
a) Philosophical Etymology
b) Cultural Anatomy
c) Psychological Pharmacology
d) Ontological Nebula

Philosophical Etymology
What is philosophical Etymology? Philosophical etymology is a cross examination of literary and cultural meanings in the light of Philosophy. It seeks to give newer shades of meaning to older thoughts. Let’s look at some examples. The school of structuralism coined that all language is made up of signs. A sign consists of the signifier and the signified. The signifier is a visual tangible thing and the signified is an idea. Let’s use an example: I blossomed in her garden. Here blossomed is figurative and an idea and hence it is the signified. Garden forms the signifier.

Postmodern Philosopher Derrida developed the idea of Binary Divide. A Binary Divide is a text that privileges some and marginalizes others. Let’s look at an example. It is said in an advert: Wanted only Native Speakers to Teach English. This narrative privileges Native Speakers over English spoken by the colonized people. Using the Binary Divide we can deconstruct texts.

From Derrida I have developed an idea called Binary Fusion. Binary fusion is a text that promotes equality. Let’s look at an advert. We do not discriminate people on the basis of gender, color or orientation. This text contains a Binary Fusion. Let’s look at another example. Black Culture, Black Gospel, Jazz and Blues are universally epitomized binary fusions of culture. A literary interpreter can analyze texts and bring out notions of marginalization and privilege and also write a narrative of Binary Fusion.

Then comes Kristeva’s texts of the semiotic and the symbolic. A semiotic text omits grammar and punctuation. Such a kind of text can be found in streams of consciousness narratives, in drama, film and music. A symbolic text on the other hand adheres to the strict conventions of language. Doing a literary analysis we can classify texts into semiotic and symbolic elements.

Form a Marxian point of view we can analyze texts by looking at class values like the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Do texts privilege the Blue Blood or monitor the interests of the working class. Does the text promote the interests of the Capitalist society? What is the dialectic materialism embedded in the text. This refers to political and historical problems created by Social tremors. The narrator can find out how various social institutions have contributed to the writing of literature.

Philosophical Etymology also takes a look at Feminist Theology. Do social, cultural, political and historical institutions promote gender equality and support Feminism. How are the roles of a working mother enacted in s society? Does the intrusion of masculinity affect the reading of texts? To what levels of subversion are meanings of the feminine in a text?

Psychological Pharmacology
Psychological Pharmacology looks at the theories of Freud, Lacan and Jung. From Freud we have the three states: ID (passion and the libido), Ego (language and culture assimilated from parents) and Super Ego (the laws of the society). While doing textual interpretation the author can find out how these mechanisms are working in a text. Texts can also be phallic and vaginal that is texts promoting the language of the feminine and the masculine. Is the language of the text phallic or vaginal?
Next I would like to take the theories of Lacan into consideration. Prominent are the Mirror Stage and the Gaze. The Mirror stage consists of the child’s entry into Language. Mirror stage can be a psychoanalytic tool to gauge level of subversion in a text. It’s an analysis of psychological symptoms in a work of literature. Gaze for Lacan has sexual connotations. What kind of gaze is present in a text? Gazes can be feminine, masculine and gay.
Next I would like to take Jung’s theories into account. Jung has classified the psyche into archetypes (personality types). Some archetypes are the Wizard, the Witch, the lover and many more. We can analyze how and why and for what these archetypes are created.

Ontological Nebula
Ontology a study of being comes from Existential Philosophy. Here I take the traditional ontology and the ontology created by me into consideration. Traditional Ontology, the one espoused by Sartre and Camus is destructive as it condemns life to be absurd and chaotic. Constructive Ontology created by me states that meaning of being lies in Valueblization (from Value and Realization). We can analyze texts and examine whether texts are favoring destructive ontology or constructive ontology.

Cultural Anatomy

What Cultural Functions does a text serve? For who is the narrative intended? Which cultural institutions are prominent? Is there a culture clash or a culture divide?


Cultural Construction

Cultural Construction is the opposite of Derrida’s Deconstruction. Deconstruction reads texts to reveal marginalization and privilege. For example Black is underprivileged and White is privileged. Cultural Construction belongs to the realm of Philosophical Epistemology where a term acquires a new Philosophical and Cultural meaning. For Example: Black which was denigrated once today is privileged. Black Culture, Black Gospel and Jazz and Blues are privileged as universalized elements of culture. Black culture is a catharsis of cultural construction.

April 13th

Morning woke me up with a song. The birds chirped happily. Clouds were gay with mirth. I kissed my wife going for exam invigilation. I thank Jehovah Jesus for all the mercies, love and affection.

Understanding the Trinity

The trinity—the Father, Son and Holy Ghost has baffled me for years. Is it a logical fallacy (wrong method of reasoning) of the text? The Trinity is a divine mystery and belongs to the realm of esoteric wisdom. I asked God in prayer for providing me with understanding. Here lies a humble answer. The trinity is one God having three identities. The Father is the Divine: The Son the Human (God made man in his own image) and the spirit being the third person. It was the identity of the Son that came on earth and was crucified for our sins. The mystery is an Enigma and has to be understood with Faith.

Parable of the Neighbor

I am still reading the Gospel of Luke and I came across the Parable of the Neighbor. Once upon a time there was a person. And to his house came guest. There was no food in the house. So the man went to the neighbor’s house and asked for some food. The neighbor said that all are sleeping and beckoned him off. But the man persisted in knocking and finally the reluctant neighbor got up and gave him a loaf of bread. What does Jesus mean by this parable? Be persistent in Prayer and ‘ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE’. Yes God is there to take care of all our material needs. Parable of the Neighbor as Idiom means God providing for all your material needs. Oh God Jehovah Jesus become the Parable of the Neighbor for me.

When Jesus was healing the afflicted: the Pharisees ridiculed him by saying what he is doing is ABRACADBRA, the work of the Devil. Then Jesus answered: Will God drive out God and Will Satan drive out Satan. Will God drive out God is an idiom for Spiritual Logic. We have to have faith that God will not drive out God.
When Jesus spoke among the crowd: a woman cried out: ‘blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nourished you.’ The Jesus replied that: ‘Blessed are the people who obey the word of God’. It is clear that you can’t worship God and Mary. Yes Jesus is condemning all forms of idolatry. Is Mariolatry a blasphemy? The answer is left to intelligence of the reader.

Philosophical Musings
Existential Nihilism adheres to the Philosophy that life is chaotic and absurd. And at the same time: the philosophers contradict by saying that: ‘you have to authenticate your existence’. For me life is neither chaotic nor absurd. Life and being are continually being processed. This processing of life is called processual ontology. For being a Postmodern Existentialist: Life for me lies in VALUBLELIZATION (from value and realization). Again we should live life with a purpose and such a life would be an ideal life and is called as being a life of a purposeist (purpose and ism)

Fictional Philosophy
Again I would like to Fictionalize and Philosophize the meaning of art on to existential ontology. Art has four states: Experiencesy, Catharsis, Angst and Ecstasy.
Experiencesy is the occurrence of daily: we cognize and we also respond to stimuli with our senses. For example: I can taste sugar and know that it is sweet.
Catharsis (For Aristotle meant purification of the soul) is a higher level of experience and involves, thinking feeling and willing. Catharsis is the VALUEBLIIZATION of feeling. For example I am cathartic when I enjoy the beauty and fragrance of a flower.
The Third form of art is angst (the feeling of nausea). Nausea can be physical (the pain of a cancer patient) or mental (like the bereavement of a loved one).
Ecstasy is a pure form of art and enjoys the poetry of the bed. Ecstasy is a pure surrender to the passions of love. Making love is a form of erotic poetry, a music sublime. God has willed that man and woman are one bodily fruit. Ecstasy is God’s Gift.

Philosophical Etymology

Philosophical etymology is the Aesthetization (Aesthetics and realization) of a word with cultural, philosophical and literary meanings. Philosophical Etymology belongs to the realm of Deconstructive Theology. The Guru of deconstruction Jacques Derrida introduced the term binary divide. Binary divide is a process of textual interpretation whereby we can find how texts marginalize and privilege meaning. For example: White is privileged over black and colored. Native English Speakers are privileged over non native speakers for teaching English. From Derrida I have developed a new sign for textuality called Binary Fusion. Binary fusion is inclusive texts. They do not privilege meaning for some people and marginalize meaning for others. Jazz, Blues and Gospel, the divine gift of black culture are a Binary Fusion of being globalized into the Universal culture of music. Indian English having the pride of 50 years of independence should become a Binary Fusion of being accepted as a global language.

Oedipalization/ Phallic Texts/ and Vaginal Texts/
Oedipalization refers to a harmonious personality and the one which not tinged with Freudian complexes, mainly the sexual attachment with father and the mother which is a blasphemy of the psyche. To acquire Oedipalization one must overcome one’s own cultural and social upbringing.
Phallic Texts are texts that dominate the man over the woman. The text which says: language is the domain of man is a phallic text.
Vaginal Texts are texts that balance the feminine with that of the masculine. Examples are s/he wo/man.
Colored psyche floating in the air—you are a copulating Jazz of rhythms—you are gentle loving passionate soul—you are canticle of verses from the bard’s mouth—you are voluptuous litany of prose in marvel.

Philosophical Etymology

Philosophical etymology refers to the ability to transform words into new meanings and also the process of coining neologisms. For example: the existential philosophers proclaimed the ontology in three states: Catharsis, Angst and Ecstasy. I have coined a PresenceUation: the joy, peace and love you find Christ: something which the world can’t give. Philosophical etymology gives way to writing of texts in new philosophical jargon

Methodologies for Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics the art of interpretation has tons of literature on it. Here I am concerned about how it can be devised into a methodology. Here are some methodological tools for the art of Hermeneutics.
(a) Philosophical Etymology
Now what is Philosophical etymology? Etymology is searching for the root meaning of words and Philosophy comes from Philos love and Sofia wisdom. Let’s analyze Plato’s allegory of the cave using tool of Philosophical etymology. In Plato’s allegory of the cave, people are standing in a dark cave and they are separated by a wall; yet they are able to sight luminescence of blinding light on other side of the cave. This allegory is used explain the theory of forms that is we are imperfect copies of a perfect world. Analyzing Plato’s allegory in a postmodern sense can give us insight that the cave was Plato’s repressed and its external luminescence was in fact a projection of Plato’s vision to a metaphysical transcendence. This vision is highly narcissistic and couched in a language of absence if analyzed through structural conjectures of the language.
(b) Phenomenological Ontology
How can we adorn the garb of Phenomenological Ontology on the art of Hermeneutics? Phenomenology for a lay man means the contents of consciousness. Ontology refers to Being and its presence. I would like to say that Presence and Being is PROCESSUAL meaning that the structural presence of being is always dynamic and in the process of creation. This can also be explained as processual teleology. Teleology refers to a purpose of something. The presence of Being as processual involves historicity and temporality. Let me try to use an example from my own life. A UK friend of mine sponsored my ticket and invited me over there. I was thrilled on the prospect of visiting Stratford Upon Avon the home of Shakespeare and also visiting art galleries. When I went to apply for the VISA, I became the subject of ridicule. The officer a white treated me as a colored coolie. Seeing that I do not have a bank account or money and seeing that I am highly qualified he dismissed me with a curt: “good day”. In the UK consulate my BEING was created by another with a colonial bourgeoisie mindset as native who is colored and who doesn’t deserve to be given the right to travel to the land of colonized. History, prejudice against Asians and mind that’s warped in the grand narrative of colonial mindset created an identity for my being, an identity that hurts my skin and color. I was judged and labeled unfit due to no fault of mine. The creation of being by external factors can be interpreted in hermeneutics as a BEING IN PROCESSUAL ONTOLOGY.
(c) Deconstructive Theology
Deconstruction was pioneered by its Guru Derrida. Deconstruction is more than Philosophy and encompasses a trans-sense narrative which questions the Binary construction of all Meta narratives or grand narratives. Now what is Binary Construction or Binary divide? Let’s take the case of study of Semitic religions. Semitic religions like Judaism, Christianity Islam and Zoroastrianism assume the presence of God. God and light are privileged where as darkness and the devil are marginalized. Semitic religions tend to terrorize and manipulate the BEINGNESS of a believer by SIN and DIVINE punishment with HELL for the unrepentant soul. Deconstructive theology examines how language is constructed as a Binary Divide and it exposes the faulty nature of language as being a privilege of sense in meaning and nonsense of being marginalized.
(d) Pharmacological Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis has gone a long way from Freud its father to the ground breaking work of Jacques Lacan. Lacan is noted for having claimed that the Unconscious is structured like language. Notable are his contributions like the GAZE, MIRROR STAGE AND THE LAW OF THE FATHER OR THE PHALLIC FATHER. Lacan also has a drawback of being very male-centered. Lacan questions the subject’s ability to maintain a stable self. Our self is engineered by the society’s ideology and it has to struggle to maintain a sense of coherence. For LACAN the gaze is intentional and has sexual connotations. Today art films try to incorporate many types of Gazes and art films deviate from the typical male gaze to the feminine and gay gaze. But traditional societies incorporate only the typical male gaze which is rather the behavior of typical male who is a patriarch. Now what is the Lacanian Mirror Stage? The Mirror Stage is stage when the Child becomes weaned physiologically and psychologically from the Mother and enters the realm of the language which trains the child to develop the notion of an idea of a stable self. The Mirror Stage has also been used in Film studies. A film viewer becomes subject to the gaze of the camera, he becomes chained on to his seat and through the whole viewing of the cinema he is a prisoner. Films need addictive viewers and films are constructed in such a way so that it gratifies the instruments of the social self to be a consumption of a mass fetish. Only Art films have broken this barrier. There also other concepts of psychoanalysis that can be used in Hermeneutics like the Freudian Oedipal Complex and the Electra Complex where texts exhibit a symptom of expressing these complexes from the repressed. A phallic text would be the one which is male-centered. Psychoanalytical hermeneutics is opening up the Feminine Libido to new significations of writing. Women are opening up their bodies newer modes of dialogues and discourses.