Wednesday, October 24, 2007
cos it's so pretty when it's not raining! i rode home last night in normal clothes instead of my snowman outfit - all very relaxing. i was also able to teach in my new tshirt:
new tshirt from grotty and bbb - thankyou! stylish and political! also new card from my vortex. furry card from my vortex! you guys rock.
i realised that i'm never blogging about my teaching, though i am surely doing a lot of it. we're at _the faerie queen_ at the moment, which i'm enjoying. who knew that it's actually a good read? so _ the faerie queen_ is this huge epic poem written in 1590-1596 by edmund spenser. he made up his own stanza form for it and also kinda made up his own language, which is a cruel mixture of contemporary english and middle english (like chaucer, who he was fond of). cruel to the students, i mean. i've read enough of both sorts of english to get by, but they haven't, so we spend a lot of time in class figuring out what the hell is going on. last week we went through the first 20 or so stanzas of it reading out loud and figuring out a translation (and if there's one thing that'll really made you familiar with a piece, it's hearing it read aloud five times in one day). this was my favourite bit:
Therewith she spewd out of her filthy maw
A floud of poyson horrible and blacke,
Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw,
Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him slacke
His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe:
Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,
With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke,
And creeping sought way in the weedy gras:
Her filthy parbreake all the place defiled has.
that's after the Red Cross Knight, the hero, has semi-strangled Error, the filthy monster, and she pukes everywhere. the whole poem is a complicated allegory for queen elizabeth and the court, and the contemporary struggles between catholicism and protestantism. if you look closely you'll see that it is highly symbolic vomit. brownie points for any reader who can pick the indications that Error is actually a foul catholic!
so we spent a lot of time pulling out the various allegories after we got a plot outline, and i think the students enjoyed that. it's always nice to help someone realise that what seems horrible boring mush is actually an action-packed story which is open to being deconstructed in a very satisfactory way.
i'm still studying for the stupid GRE, but feeling much more confident about it. i did a whole practise exam on cdrom the other night (all three hours of it) and did very well on the verbal section and very badly on the maths section, which is fine. i'm still revising the verbal stuff (still more flashcards and practise questions) and scrabbling for what little maths i can pick up in the next two days. i learnt how to solve simultaneous equations last night, which was very satisfying. my maths has improved in leaps and bounds. and after friday i can forget it all again!
but right now i should go practise circle geometry and revise the words in the "stubborn" category.
at 9:22 am