Tuesday, 7 October 2008

And back to the English Department


I spent today getting reacquainted with the English Faculty, and having all sorts of talks about the faculty in general and my course in particular. All the people on the course (well, those I got to speak to) seem really nice, and I think we'll get along. As before, I am hopelessly outnumbered by women (14 girls; 4 boys) and rather outnumbered as an Englishman too.

Somehow I managed to volunteer myself to open a class on Theatre and Revolution, but also managed to snare Katherine Mansfield in the Literatures of Empire and Nation 1880-1930 module. We each had to pick one or two authors from the list to open a discussion about, and whilst I could have coped with Anand or Schreiner, both mentioned here recently I think, it is Katherine Mansfield whom I've loved for some years now. In fact, I was the only person in Oxford to write about her in my first year, according to the examiners' report...

So. My reading will now take a swerve away from primary and fun novels and the like, into secondary. Might be rather more prosaic, but perhaps a few gems to share with you nonetheless. Tomorrow's tomes are both by Edward Said - Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism. I'll have to get over my dislike of Said, which is based entirely on the fact that he (I daresay inadvertently) started the silliest and least rational school of Jane Austen criticism. But I imagine he has rather more pertinent things to say about the texts for this term... (for the full list, see this post). And I have about five weeks to think about my coursework topic here... I'm thinking something about visiting... outstaying welcome... visiting vs. occupying... visitors without hosts... I just think the concept of visitors and visiting could be fruitful. I'll keep you posted...

6 comments:

  1. I am so jealous of your graduate school-ness. I'm living vicariously through you. Thanks for sharing your reading list and pictures of the library!

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  2. Doing a Masters is so different. I feel so lonely, we're about 50 all in all at the Sorbonne to do one and we don't have that many classes so I don't really feel as if I really were a student, if that makes sense. My reading lists are interesting too for the most part. I'm taking a class in 18th century fiction (called "Novels and Knowledge") and another in modern and contemporary British literature (called "Writing Life") (fiction and nonfiction, we're going to study biographies as well). Good luck with everything. Your blog is as interesting as I remembered it to be, keep it up :)

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  3. I, too, am living vicariously. Write on!

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  4. I love the comparison between a visit and a stay. Imagine Mrs Norris coming to stay. What agony! How could one go on being polite? Definitely a STAY. Who said 'visitors, like fish, stink after three days'? He had a point!

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  5. "...to think about my coursework topic here... I'm thinking something about visiting... outstaying welcome... visiting vs. occupying... visitors without hosts... I just think the concept of visitors and visiting could be fruitful."

    Ooooo, I like the idea! You can get a lot of mileage out of that. This 'idea' appears in so many books, especially in the time period you like so much. Do keep us posted.

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  6. Ah, the halls of academe ! :-)

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