Tag Archives: ENG 350

fickle mcgee

So…I’m an English major again.

I was never officially not an English major. I was just planning on not completing my major and getting a minor. But when I was buying books for this semester, I was really sad that I wasn’t buying any English textbooks.

Plus I realized that after I get back from Florence, my Art History major will pretty much be completed. So why not?

The only thing I am anxious about is two senior theses to write in one semester. But my goal is to do most of my art research in Florence and over the summer.

One of the main reasons I thought I didn’t want to be an English major was because I didn’t feel as compelled to write about anything in literature as I did in art. But looking back at sophomore year, the literature classes I took weren’t really in my research interests. I took Jane Austen, Perspectives on Literature and British Literature after 1700. I loved all the classes, but Austen has never been what I wanted to research because I love her so much and my research interests very seldom overlap my personal interests. And it is hard to go back to big, survey classes like Brit Lit after being in small seminar classes.

But now I am in Medieval Romance which is amazing and wonderful. And I get to think about all my favorite things in literature (gender dynamics, voyeurism, religion) in the context of literature that is actually compelling to me.

I am also thinking about my senior seminar for English. I am thinking I am going to return to my Villette research from my first year class called “The Women Question in Victorian Literature.” Previous blog posts about this research are here, here and here. I focus on the protagonist’s, Lucy Snowe, relation to both theater and the Catholic Church as a voyeur to both and how her being a temporary voyeur in both situations allows for her to stop being a voyeur in her actual life.

I don’t know if I am going to stick with Villette or look at the continental Catholic Church in other Victorian novels. But that’s where I am starting!

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update on research, life, latin.

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been so busy with research and Latin conventions. The crazy college life is what I am living.

Research in Victorian Literature is going really well, I’m looking at how Catholicism and Theater are related in Villette as catalysts for Lucy Snowe, the heroine going from a passive audience member in her own life to the lead character. In Modern Poetry I switched back to Auden after too much research that resulted in nothing for Mina Loy. Now I am looking at the combination of Christian vs. Pagan images in “In Sickness and In Health” by Auden and how it relates to Marriage v. Carnal Love argument.

Also, I literally just got back from the Eta Sigma Phi (National Latin Honor Society) Convention. Mostly it was a lot of annoying, seemingly pointless, bureaucratic meetings, but I did go to a really cool seminar about looking at modern Poetry in the context of Classical works.

Well, I’m off to go write my research proposals.

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instability as a positive/a gateway

The Steeple-Jack by Marianne Moore

Dürer would have seen a reason for living
in a town like this, with eight stranded whales
to look at; with the sweet sea air coming into your house
on a fine day, from water etched
with waves as formal as the scales
on a fish.

One by one in two’s and three’s, the seagulls keep
flying back and forth over the town clock,
or sailing around the lighthouse without moving their wings —
rising steadily with a slight
quiver of the body — or flock
mewing where

a sea the purple of the peacock’s neck is
paled to greenish azure as Dürer changed
the pine green of the Tyrol to peacock blue and guinea
gray. You can see a twenty-five-
pound lobster; and fish nets arranged
to dry. The

whirlwind fife-and-drum of the storm bends the salt
marsh grass, disturbs stars in the sky and the
star on the steeple; it is a privilege to see so
much confusion. Disguised by what
might seem the opposite, the sea-
side flowers and

trees are favored by the fog so that you have
the tropics first hand: the trumpet-vine,
fox-glove, giant snap-dragon, a salpiglossis that has
spots and stripes; morning-glories, gourds,
or moon-vines trained on fishing-twine
at the back door;

cat-tails, flags, blueberries and spiderwort,
striped grass, lichens, sunflowers, asters, daisies —
yellow and crab-claw ragged sailors with green bracts — toad-plant,
petunias, ferns; pink lilies, blue
ones, tigers; poppies; black sweet-peas.
The climate

is not right for the banyan, frangipani, or
jack-fruit trees; or for exotic serpent
life. Ring lizard and snake-skin for the foot, if you see fit;
but here they’ve cats, not cobras, to
keep down the rats. The diffident
little newt

with white pin-dots on black horizontal spaced-
out bands lives here; yet there is nothing that
ambition can buy or take away. The college student
named Ambrose sits on the hillside
with his not-native
books and hat
and sees boats

at sea progress white and rigid as if in
a groove. Liking an elegance of which
the sourch is not bravado, he knows by heart the antique
sugar-bowl shaped summer-house of
interlacing slats, and the pitch
of the church

spire, not true, from which a man in scarlet lets
down a rope as a spider spins a thread;
he might be part of a novel, but on the sidewalk a
sign says C. J. Poole, Steeple Jack,
in black and white; and one in red
and white says

Danger. The church portico has four fluted
columns, each a single piece of stone, made
modester by white-wash. Theis would be a fit haven for
waifs, children, animals, prisoners,
and presidents who have repaid
sin-driven

senators by not thinking about them. The
place has a school-house, a post-office in a
store, fish-houses, hen-houses, a three-masted schooner on
the stocks. The hero, the student,
the steeple-jack, each in his way,
is at home.

It could not be dangerous to be living
in a town like this, of simple people,
who have a steeple-jack placing danger signs by the church
while he is gilding the solid-
pointed star, which on a steeple
stands for hope.

We just read this poem about a New England town with a church that has a crooked steeple in Modern Poetry. I usually link to the poem if I am blogging about it, but I loved this poem so much that I wanted the whole text on here. I would recommend getting a published version though because I believe the indentations are a different, and that’s important! Because Prof. Trousdale brought up the Durer allusion in the poem; and the concept of crookedness as a postive/gateway to human truth because the danger sign put up because of the unstable steeple both removes danger and points it out, I thought about art and architecture that actually has crookedness designed into it, purposefully or not.

Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse-Albrecht Durer

Salome-Aubrey Beardsley Art Nouveau and Contrapposto!

Leaning Tower of Pisa-an oops crookedness

Fred and Ginger House-Post Modern Contrapposto

Fred and Ginger, Postmodern Contrapposto

^^^In Prague! Which is my leading candidate for replacing Barcelona as my study abroad location for junior year! It really does have the coolest architecture, art nouveau/art deco/and this stuff! Everyone I know who has gone has said it is their favorite city ever. and I am always looking for a favorite city!

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april 1. come she will 2. is the cruelest month

“April Showers bring May flowers”

tulips!

My meteorological question of the day. Where does it rain the most in April? I guess England and the Northeast? Because things bloom in April here, and it rains a lot in March. I guess because Georgia’s winter ends in late February/early March and by the end of March it is full on spring. Well, key to this proverb is that April is a time for new beginnings! and I am completely craving spring time.

I wanted to looked at how April was portrayed in one of my favorite and poems and one of my favorite songs because in Modern Poetry when we were looking at “The Wasteland” I kept wanting to sing this song by Simon and Garfunkel, which of course turned out horribly because I usually try to do both harmonies at the same time and of course fail.

In “April Come She Will” Simon and Garfunkel sing about a girl who, after she comes in April when streams are swelled with rain, and by September, she has up and left him and he is nostalgic about her. It is telling that the love starts in April, opposed to January the “start” of the year because it returns to a pagan concept of the calendar based on fertility opposed to science, that the man and woman are able to be together in fertile times, but the man is unable to harvest his love and keep it through the winter and thus is only left with his memories. Supposedly this song was based an English nursery rhyme that Paul Simon’s femme du jour would sing absentmindedly.

In “The Wasteland,” T.S. Eliot opens with his now-oft quoted like “April is the cruelest month” referring to the renewal of life coming from ground [lilacs] disturbing the dead who are buried and don’t want to wake up. I’m pretty sure this is just about the saddest thing ever.

Though both works suggest and are open to a cyclical nature in life and renewal, they both also start in April, the time of fertility and renewal and end in images of winter/dead/absence without an explicit point towards renewal, the April works are rather depressing.

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independent research brainstorming

This is the last thing I need to be doing! I should be polishing my Villette paper, outlining my Mina Loy paper or reacting to Richard Gere is my Hero, the film we just watched in Tibet and Film Studies.

But reading “The Wasteland” by T.S. Eliot today really piqued my interest in the depiction of shell shocked victims in Modernist literature. There is a World War I veteran who could be interpreted as shell-shocked in the first part of the poem “1. The Burial of the Dead” which is the closest in proximity to the introduction in Ancient Greek and Latin, as well contains the quote that brings up questions of nationality during a time of war “Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.” which is “I am not Russian at all; I come from Lithuania, a true German” in German. Also there is a quote from Wagner’s opera in German “Tristan und Isolde” and allusions to the poetry of Charles Baudelaire.

Well this reminded me severely of Septimus Warren Smith from my favorite Modernist novel, Mrs. Dalloway, who hallucinates that the birds are speaking to him in Greek. While this hallucination comes from Virginia Woolf’s own, I think there may be a connection between this break down of language and the break down of cultural identity that comes from such a disillusioning war like World War I for the British.

So I think I’ll be doing some independent research over my spring break concerning whether this comes up again in other Modernist works concerning World War I’s disillusionment with cultural identity or other works concerning other wars.

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mini-connection

Today in Modern Poetry, we were discussing “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.

I could probably write an insane amount this poem. All of it not making much sense. But I had an adorable, non-sequitur epiphany in relation to the poem.

J. Alfred Prufrock implores:

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do

We discussed how sad it was that in his own Shakespearian fantasy, Prufrock isn’t even Hamlet, he’s Polonius [attendant lord] who is an intellectual fool and dies on accident!

But this made me think of [Scrubs], where in J.D.’s Batman fantasy, he is Robin, while his best friend, Turk, is Batman.

Batman Turk and Robin J.D.

These are the kind of observations I would usually say in class in high school. But with my new goal to be less annoying in class, at least with my ramblings, I’m putting them on my blog instead!

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Mina Loy eats Auden[‘s place in my brainstorming process]

So I haven’t written in awhile, probably a result of my Victorian Lit paper being due on Wednesday, my brainstorming for 2 10 page/1 20 page paper for Modern Poetry, and the three articles I decided to sign up for for the next Profile edition.

Also, I rediscovered Netflix insta-watch.

But guess which of my writing goals for this week would be helped  by my blogging?!?

If you know anything about feminist, Modernist poets, you probably guessed right. Or if you read the title of this blog post. My brainstorming for Modern Poetry class.

Originally I wanted to write a 20 page paper about Auden because I adore Auden and he is pretty awesome at poetry. And I still plan to write a 10 page paper about him.

But I then discovered Mina Loy, by means of Rachel Trousdale, the wonderful prof for Modern Poetry. And Mina is wonderful as well. It is pretty cool how she was a heterosexual feminist when those ideas were running mostly in circles of homosexual women. Plus Mina was hanging out with all these super misogynistic men. Yet she just rocked it out and wrote these poems with a unique perspective.

We were discussing in class the other day her spin on the ideas of the Imagist poets, like H.D, with the addition of the “I’  in the poem and how the reaction of a speaker changes the philosophy and interpretation of the poem. I think for my paper I’d like to write about this in the context of her poem “Sketch of a Man on a Platform.” But I’m not sure if this is breaking the rules of the paper that we are only supposed to write about one poet. I won’t be writing about H.D or other Imagist poets specifically, but it would be helpful if I could allude to them as secondary sources for the main idea. I think this will be okay for the paper, but I’m planning on meeting with Prof. Trousdale soon to discuss it.

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