Friday, 23 June 2006

Syllabus Bleg: Poetry & Social Crisis [X-posted.] As her name suggests, The Little Womedievalist lives in the sparsely populated academic “ghetto” known as “medieval studies.” (A wonderful place to visit, but I didn’t want to live there.) Thing is, when medievalists tip-toe into the 15th Century, they’re often paralyzed by the unfamiliar literary landscape. “Whither my rigid poetic forms? And feudalism! What have you people done with feudalism?” Medievalists are confused, nay, mortified by the shiny baubles and the steam which periodically issues from them. So sometimes they need us soon-to-be-unemployed/forever-unemployable modern-types after all, like when they want to write a syllabus on “The Poetry of Crisis.” Below the fold you’ll find The Little Womedievalist’s skeletal syllibi. Lots of war, lots of plague. The word “pandemic” appears no less than seventeen times. She’d appreciate any advice that’ll help her “flesh it out.” (O how quickly our dead metaphors are enlivened!) Here (in no particular order) are the topics she wants to address: Irish potato famine WWII Vietnam War Influenza pandemic of 1918 Revolutionary War French Revolution (poems written in English) AIDS pandemic Cold War/ Communist Scare/ McCarthy States of anarchy/ regime changes Great Depression (I only have Agee and Evans so far…) Current “war on terror”/ Iraq/ Afghanistan/ post-9/11 Any other major political/social/religous crises Here is what she has so far: Weeks 1 – 3 (Social and political crises) William Blake - “The Tyger,” ; Selections from Prophet Against Empire (David Erdman) Middle English Plowman poems Agee and Evans, selections from “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”; background reading on the Great Depression “Tax Hath Tenet Us Alle” (Short ME macaronic poem) “Introduction” from The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, ed. and intro by Jon Silkin (on reserve). [Though we won’t be covering all of the poets discussed in Silkin’s intro, this will outline a number of the critical questions and issues we want to ask about the poems we will be reading during weeks 4 and 5.] Weeks 4 & 5 (War, Rebellion, Unrest, Protest) Michael Drayton, “The Battle of Agincourt” (ERP 261) Milton, “On the Late Massacre in Piedmont” (Background Reading.) Yeats – “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” Melville – “The Portent,” “Shiloh” Walt Whitman – “Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night,” “Twenty-eight Young Men Bathed By the Shore,” selections from “Drum Taps” Thomas Hardy – “Drummer Hodge,” Wilfred Owen – “Dulce et Decorum Est,” Siegfried Sassoon – Charles Hamilton Sorley – “When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead” Edward Thomas – “A Private” Weeks 6 & 7 (Pandemics, Poverty and Famine; mortality & carpe diem poems) Lydgate Thomas Nashe – “In time of plague,” “Autumn Hath all the Summer’s Fruitful Treasure” Robert Herrick, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” The AIDS pandemic – the poetic response The 1918 Influenza pandemic, and poetic response The Irish Potato Famine, and poetic response Weeks 8 & 9 (Crises of conscience) Fulke Greville John Donne (esp. the Holy Sonnets) Emily Dickinson – From “Time and Eternity,” “TO know...
Finish Silas Weir Mitchell chapter. (July 14th) Finish Jack London chapter. (August 31st) Compose a 3-4 page summary of the project. (July 1st) Whittle 3-4 page summary into 1-2 page summary of the project. (July 14th) Update and revise my C.V. (July 1st) Write minnesota review article on academic blogging. (September 1st) Draft MLA conference paper on academic blogging. (September 14th) Contact MLA about adding Scott McLemee to the panel as a respondent. (immediately) Order new printer cartridge. Write commissioned review of Frederick Crews' Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays. (August 1st) Solicit more regular reviewing gigs. Acquire reading knowledge of Spanish. Discover previously untranslated Spanish-language primary sources and begin writing most impressive chapter ever. Locate poems which deal with turn-of-the-century evolutionary theory. (July 1st) Track down some plays that do too. (July 7th) Create Abstractalous. (Motto: "Because sometimes you don't wanna re-read the whole damn book.") Write mission statement and establish categories. Re-read the whole damn book if it's important enough to warrant a post on Abstractalous. (Summaries and responses both acceptable.) Read, annotate and write an abstract of one academic essay not germane to the dissertation every weekday. Revise old posts and collate them into The Best of Acephalous: Year 1. Put out a call for candidates for another collection–The Best Academic Humor: 2004-2006–and beg people to pass the word around. Read an advanced logic textbook at the pace of one chapter every three days. Learn to set reasonable goals. Return all irrelevant library books. Do something stunning with four reclaimed rooms. Purchase tickets to and hotel accomodations at MLA 2006. Watch Mets march to postseason glory. Cherish impression that all is Wright in the world. Do one unexpected, unmentioned favor for The Little Womedievalist every day. ("Unmentioned" so as to not allow it entry into the household "guilt economy" and thus compel LW to reciprocate.) Read essay about the history of the book and/or medieval manuscripts once every third day. (Start with the recent PMLA.) Work out 3 days per week; engage The Little Womedievalist in long, pointless walk 3 others; rest on ass/laurels the remainder. Think about dinner after breakfast to avoid having breakfast for dinner. Avoid being evicted. (immediately) Avoid being dropped from graduate health insurance. (immediaterly) Purchase unobtrusive, modern fish tank for lonely, cannibal cichild, Charlie Brown. Reconnect with old friends. Via email. Encourage The Little Womedievalist to follow her dreams and "do something" with our moleskin bedroom. Plan and execute vacation to Northern California. Visit the Redwoods while there and be in decent enough shape (#26) to appreciate their immensity fully. Order new printer cartridge. Wake up early, down must-wait-hour-before-eating thyroid replacement hormone, do dishes then prepare and eat breakfast. Move prescription collection somewhere the heat of the stove won't murder its potency. Dispose of all expired and/or unnecessary medications. Donate anything not worn for more than 2 years to the Salvation Army. Chunk hundreds of old New Yorkers and NYRBs. Adopt efficient, non-haphazardly-stacked-on-floor-and-subwoofer DVD-organization philosophy. Evict useless crap from the filing cabinet...

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