Thursday 17 May 2007

Answers and Accolades

Don't worry, only two left after today!

Today's paper went much better than yesterday's, I thought. You could say this was the wider spread of my prepared approaches; perhaps the generous nature of the exam paper. I l
ike to think it was due to a little event that happened yesterday, as I was strolling around Oxford with my friend Mel. I was outside the Radcliffe Camera (a circular library thing, see Google-generated images here - very beautiful place to work) when a hoard of schoolchildren stopped me. They had a camera and a checksheet. Wherefore, pondered I. Turns out they had to take photographs of many different things throughout Oxford, on a sort of treasure hunt, and I fulfilled (pay attention here) 'Take a photo of the cleverest person you see'. Me! Gosh. Now, I like to think this is due to an aura of knowledge and wisdom, rather than the fact that I was wearing glasses and tweed. But who's to say. Was incredibly amusing - especially since I was holding a loaf of bread, and a carnation recently purchased from the florist. I love Oxford.

Anyway, this spurred me on to answer the following questions on the Renaissance period:

'In a rising, mercantile, politically conscious, comparatively affluent society, there was a need for new visions of the good life, new paradises, new golden worlds, even new hells.' Discuss some of the ways in which any one or more writers or playwrights of the period satisfied some of these expectations.
-I wrote on Utopias, and women in utopias, and woman as utopias. Enjoyed this one.

'One of the distinctive features of Petrarchan poetry is it encouragement to readers to decode it in a variety of ways - as erotic self-evaluation, philosophical meditation, or moral debate'. (Gary Waller). Discuss, with reference to at least two writers of the period.
-Oo-er. Ignored the erotic bits, and wrote on Petrarchanism (and ambivalence to Petrarch) in the sonnet sequences of Spenser and Sidney. Love how I can do this without having read a word of Petrarch!

Do you agree that a good deal of Donne's writing is self-advertisement?
-Wrote on Donne's opinion of secular poetry, as these opinions appear in his sermons, and how it changed in relation to the site of preaching.

Back to normal book talk soon, promise! At least you have one of the finest literary products the twentieth-century saw, to illustrate this entry.


  1. "Horde". The spelling is "horde".


    Glad it went well, though - keep it up!

  2. That doesn't boad well, does it?

    Heehee, that one was deliberate...

  3. Say, is there a relationship between the Hargreaves who wrote Mr. Clever and the Miss H. of fame-thanks-to-Simon??

    Knock yourself out on your last exams, boy!


  4. Once upon a time I went to a rather similar ivy clad establishment to yourself, but on the Amerian side of the pond. We would be interrupted crossing the yard between classes by folks asking to have a photo "with a real student". No one ever asked for names or where we were from or what we studied, they just wanted to know that you really studied there and then took a snap. Very bizarre. I think your "cleverest person" request tops it all though - hilarious!

    By the way, I've enjoyed your exam recaps. Most interesting, but I'm so glad it is you, not me, having to write them!

  5. oops, that should read "American" - sorry, I never check before posting...

  6. I've googled and now my ignorance has been infinitessimally reduced. The poetry portal ( states that Petrarch was so widely imitated that its hardly necessary to read the original!! They look like an interesting set of questions. I hope the restoration proves as fruitful.

    I am intrigued by the idea of a Middle English commentary paper. I have this ludicrous notion in my head.. they're under starters orders and they're off... Geoffrey Chaucer has taken the lead with Malory hard on his heels. Julian of Norwich is coming up from the rear. And oh my goodness Sir Gawain has forced William Langland off the track....

  7. This reminds me of being stopped by a group of Japanese tourists on the summit of the Jungfrau in Switzerland (which we had just accessed by train).It had seemed sensible to don our walking boots and take rucksacks and walking poles etc and of course it was July but we needed all our woolly hats on etc.They wanted their pictures taken with some "real mountaineers" and it seemed churlish not to oblige.

  8. That was the cutest story. I'm sure you'll be pasted in to all their schoolbooks. How flattering of them.


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