Tuesday 15 May 2007

Bot Pat ze be Gawan hit gotz in minde

An update, you ask? Well, I live to serve.

Today was Middle English, which was the subject of one of my first blog entries. As you might recall, I am not overly enamoured by the topic - but with a great deal of revision, I felt quite prepared for it. And I think it went quite well - questions below, as before, though I'm afraid Dell Laptops don't run to have a 'thorn' key. I've used a capital P instead, in the title to today's blog, and, for the fortunate uninitiated, read it as 'th'. Make sense now? Thought not.

Before I gallop on with the questions, thought I'd give you a Carnation Update, since I know that's where all your attention is really directed. Well, I was putting my jacket back on, at the end of the exam, and discovered I had a stalk pinned to my lapel. (As Our Vicar's Wife said over the 'phone, just be thankful it wasn't a heron. Ho-ho.) The head of the carnation was lying on the floor - a bit like the beheading of the Green Knight, if you will. Sad.

Ok, stop begging me - the questions are here. Do feel free to send essays to me... I somehow feel you won't.

-Is the romance better at articulating social anxieties than it is at imagining solutions for them?
Yes, say I. I talked about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the competing moral codes of shame/honour and guilt/innocence.

-'[T]he pleasures of fiction exceed the disciplinary control over its meaning, carving out spaces of resistance to the trascendent values of Christian morality' (R. James Goldstein). Discuss in relation to fables AND/OR any other writing in this period.
I went for the 'any other writing' option, and wrote on Gower's Confessio Amantis.

-What resources does the dream vision offer to any writer or writers from this period?
How irritatingly vague. I wrote on Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess and Parliament of Fowls. As did, I imagine, most of those in the exam hall. I threw in a bit of Lydgate for variation. Lucky examiner.

Tomorrow... 1740-1832. Or, as I like to call it, opportunity to legitimately write about Jane Austen.


  1. Hmm. The carnation seems rather symbolic in some odd way. Good luck with Jane!

  2. I'd have done Q.1, too. I was fascinated by all that honour stuff when I was an undergraduate -- so much so that I almost decided to specialise in medieval lit. Jolly glad I didn't, really.

  3. I was taught Middle English by someone who'd learned it from Tolkien - swank, swank!(I know you won't be impressed by that, S-i-a-B, but that's about all I can remember of it now).

  4. The sound of rushing wind is not me heading in the direction of the nearest Middle English Tutor of which I am sure there are many residing in the village!! Having thought deeply about these questions my answers would be 1) Wouldn't like to say really. 2) Maybe they do but how is it contributing to reduction in the pile of ironing. 3)Resources? I always took a resource to be something quite tangible. How can something as intangible as a dream vision be a resource? I am sure your answers were much more reasoned, with less of the GOW (grumpy old woman) attitude. I am sure answering questions on Jane will make up for any antipathy over Middle English. Enjoy

  5. Sounds a darn sight harder than the past paper I looked at this morning; it asked me to prove that an algebraic integer that is also rational is a rational integer - an old chestnut, as I'm sure you'll agree.
    Mind you, Ant thought - and this is true - that an algebraic integer was the same as an algebraic number! Can you believe it?

  6. OH, Middle English! I had to take a survey course as well as a course on Chaucer. They nearly killed me, too. We had to memorize bits in ME, and recite them to the professor. Talk about nerve-shattering... Not exactly my favorite literary period, but it's not without its interest, either. That was very lukewarm, wasn't it?!


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