G'bye Will

Dec. 6th, 2007 07:57 am
radfrac_archive_full: (Ben Butley)
Final class was on Tuesday. He went over the exam in some detail and gave us back our marks. I made my A+ on the second paper, so I was really pleased. I was going out on the limbic a bit.

Not sure where I lost that 1/10 of one percent on participation, though. (He had a Byzantine system for determining this grade.)

To celebrate I watched the Shakespeare episode of Dr. Who season 3. (They really come into their own with this season, don't they?)

Now apparently the idea is to go through the entire semester's material at high speed. I'm re-reading each of the plays in rough reverse order of how well I know them, and I must Give Thought to the final essay topic, which he gave us outright: Shakespeare's development from comedy to romance -- What do you figure? Like that.

Next semester: Critical Theory. I tremble.

Have just finished reading [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija's All the Fishes Come Home to Roost, so it is available for borrowing. I triumphantly discovered a copy at Munro's on the weekend. It's delightful to have read about something for so long, reviews, reflections of the author, and then find the book itself really does exist. It can be read and everything. How rich the world is.



Nov. 18th, 2007 08:34 pm
radfrac_archive_full: (Ben Butley)
I like that Northrop Frye decides he's going to refer to the pregnant Juliet of Measure for Measure as "Julietta", to "avoid confusion" -- presumably to protect the reputation of that other, more beloved, Juliet.

Shakespeare recycled a lot of names. There are Claudes (-io, -ius) all over the place.

radfrac_archive_full: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
The Hurt Penguin sale at the UVic Bookstore left me unimpressed. It was a series of smallish heaps of contemporary remainders, average price about $6.99, their main injury being the black marker strike that indicated their status as remainders. The advertisement suggested books "From $1" but all the ones I saw were several times removed from that ideal unity.

I realize one ought not to be surprised by this sort of wan intellectual betrayal, but when you advertise with clever variations of the Penguin logo in various states of injury -- water and smoke damage, fading, etc. -- I expect to see said logos upon said books. There weren't above three Classics in the lot. I was hoping for, you know, obscure Jacobean dramatists. Secondary gothics. Modern near-classic oddities. Not fourteen copies of a low-carb cookbook and one Catherine Parr Traill.

The Shakespeare class discussion today was about The Question of Authorship, which made an interesting 10-minute presentation but a tedious discussion, since none of us have the scholarly background to say anything useful or even identify the chief arguments.

My knee kept going out as I tried to walk to class. And I burnt my mouth on my coffee. I hate everything.

radfrac_archive_full: (Ben Butley)
I`ve told you this story before, but there`s a new one to go with it. The pleasures of the day: bookstores and libraries )

Ah, and I did get my essay back at last. An A, which is a matter of some relief.


radfrac_archive_full: (And you wonder...)
The restless emptiness of a school night. I can't settle to anything. Can't concentrate on a movie. Sat down to write and couldn't conceive that any words might ever have come out of me and into that bland funnel of screen. I copied out some notes I'd made from the books GMRB! Prof loaned me. I studied these heavily in my desperation to make a queer reading of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". I even read over my class notes in a perfunctory way, which I can't remember ever having done in my life.

I glanced at my essay to get the bibliographical reference for one of the books (I like to put these at the top of my notes files so that I can return the book and keep the reference) and discovered a COMMA SPLICE in the last paragraph of my essay.

You cannot conceive. I knew I was tired, but it's like forgetting my own name. Any error but this. It's as though I stapled a cockroach to my paper. To my TONGUE. I feel ill.

Remembered just in time that dancing about au lunatic tends to help the mood fairies locate one, so I danced about a bit to the merrie tunes of the CBC podcast, and indeed was refreshed. And of course there is my maxim: If you can't do anything else, you can probably do the dishes.

So I have filled up the sink with hot soapy water, and am posting to Livejournal.

In which our hero is inspired, though to no immediately productive end )



Oct. 9th, 2007 06:33 pm
radfrac_archive_full: (And you wonder...)
Have I finished my essay?

I have finished many essays. One about theatre and homoeroticism in Elizabethan England. Sadly, it had nothing to do with "A Midsummer Night's Dream", which is the subject the professor (a professor, one professor, not my professor, any of them) would like me to write about. One about the potential for queer desire in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (thesis: not that much). Title: Hole in the Wall. One muddily composed in a typtophan haze about mimetic desire in MND, which at least has something to do with anything we talked about in class. And this one, really a more focused draft of the previous, about conflict and victory in mimetic desire and... stuff. Title: My Chief Humour is for a Tyrant. I'm going to revise it again tonight.

After the opera.

radfrac_archive_full: (Default)
Today I listened to a Guardian Unlimited podcast of a lecturer on the Society of Antiquaries (founded 1707). God damn, there's nothing hotter than a dotty old man. Seriously. He says primly that creativity and intellectual life are withering in the universities, and I have to go get a glass of water.

One of the many jewels of the great podcast serpent's hoard is the archive of NPR's All Songs Considered, teeming with concerts you desperately wish you'd been at. This is how I discover how good the Arcade Fire sounds with the wind blowing through it -- that is, in the looser, rougher arrangements and recording quality of a concert -- which I guess makes sense with the technical direction they've been taking -- which you all know more about than I do, but anyway.

And this, from possibly my favorite Quirks & Quarks broadcast ever. (Their new theme music is also sexy):

The life of the Red Swamp Crayfish is a complicated one... Cut for hot male-male pseudo-copulation. )

Podcasts. The only thing that keeps my brain from being completely taken up with NOC and NAICS codes.

End of the school/work day. Home to try to study. Or more probably to write, since I suspect I'm too thick to absorb anything else about Shakespeare tonight. Being in school always has the paradoxical effect of making me want to do more creative work. It stimulates the mind, which would be fine -- which would be ideal -- if I didn't need to spend seven point five hours a day not writing fiction.

And so on. Not complaining; I'm enjoying it. Just bemused, knowing I'm going to try to fit too much in, and get frustrated, but wanting to try it anyway, because too much is much better than not enough.

radfrac_archive_full: (Default)
I am old. Tired. Happy.

A Christie Mystery moment: The 7:19 is catchable if I rise at 6:55. It is not too crowded, and gets me to the university at 7:45, in plenty of time for the wanton indulgence of a fried egg sandwich and coffee.

It was a perfect day, clear, with oblique September sun, when I left the house. There was an early-morning fog on the hill, so arriving at the university was like sinking into an 18th-century painting, a bright mystery of gold, green, brown and blue, the sunbeams rotating through the trees as we lumbered past.

After this last voyage through the root canal, I still can't open my mouth wide enough to eat properly, so I had to sort of fold the egg sandwich into my mouth. I got my ID picture taken, though I won't be able to pick the card up until Friday. I did not buy books. The lineup was ridiculous, and in any case I couldn't locate our particular textbook.

Stepping into a room chock full of 20-year-olds gave me a tiny crisis of confidence; a miniature version of me was quietly backing out into the hallway, even as the superstructure scanned for a place to park itself -- but then a voice cried "Frac! Stick around after this class!"

It was Gay Men Read Books Exclamation Mark Prof. Suddenly I felt much more important than all those poreless children. I was Known.

The Shakespeare prof seems reasonable. His system for evaluating participation marks is a bit byzantine, but I gather the idea is you talk a lot. He gives the opportunity to gain marks via a short presentation on a Topic of Your Choice. At first this appalled me. Then I noticed we were studying Merchant of Venice.

"Hmm." I thought. "I wonder what approach he's taking. Someone really ought to counter the play with a talk about Jewish life in the Renaissance, or a brief survey of Jewish writers contemporary to Shakespeare... and The Tempest, look at that... an excuse to watch Prospero's Books again... I wonder what he's going to say about Caliban..."

So I expect I will do a presentation.

He seems to be launching out at a fairly high level of discussion, which pleases, though it reminds me that I will have to actually pay attention. His introductory lecture concerned the nature of knowledge, the purpose of literature, and the tension between individual desire and collective social ritual. His thesis for the course seems to be that because of the Reformation, theatre took over from religious ritual as the means of depicting experience, the difference being that "rather than funneling [individual desire] into a collective response, [drama] emphasizes the infinite nature of human desire."

There's also going to be something about resentment, which I expect is where he will try to address Caliban and Shylock.

After class, GMRB! prof did come back, and he brought my books -- he's had Regeneration, Two Strand River, and Mauve Desert for months, as I have had his copies of Kilbrack, American Studies, The Age of Cities, and For a Lost Soldier.

There are seven queer books in that sentence. Speaking of the infinite nature of human desire.

He also brought me a copy of Pat Barker's Another World. He said something about having gotten it on sale, and that I could keep it. I asked if he were still holding the book group and he said no, but if I wanted to talk about books on a semi-regular basis, I could come by his office during the week. I must say I brightened at that. It would be wonderful to have that to look forward to -- good book talk and maybe a sort of bit of mentoring on the whole subject of how to be the genre of person who gets into graduate schools -- more by osmosis than anything. I won't be able to make a nuisance of myself, since usually I'll have to go directly to work from class. It's only Fridays.

When I was last in school, belatedly finishing my bachelor's in the most expedient way possible, I used to love walking home after the bus from my Thursday night class, because Munro's Books was open just long enough for me to stop in and pay a sleepy visit to the sale table. I felt some regret that my current schedule doesn't allow for such a stop (nor my current housing location) -- but this is even better.

So: first day. Much administration still to be taken care of. Money to be paid. Books to be bought. Reading to put off.

I can't wait.



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