An Apology for English Studies

December 2, 2014

Shakespeare booksI love books. I mean I really love books. I admit to being perfectly happy losing myself in a bookstore or library. And I am happy as a kitten whenever I get the chance to curl up with a book on Saturday afternoons. I love the feel of a book in my hands but I can also comfortably carry them with me on my tablet or listen to one in the car. All these stories and adventures give me the chance to explore life through the eyes of fellow human beings, share in their knowledge and feel their emotions all from my comfy chair. I guess you could say I am passionate about literature.

So much so that I decided to get a degree in English. At times however (and I have seen this in comments on the VLE and conversations with fellow students) it can be difficult, even for the most passionate among us, to explain exactly why we chose to study what we study. Others might even question the wisdom of doing an English degree in a technological world.

Read the rest of this entry »

“With a little help from my friends…….”

November 7, 2014

A misty morningThe days are getting shorter here in the Midlands. And somehow it feels like the nights are getting darker too. Summer is gone and buried…. that much is clear now. And it has taken the light with it. There is this eerie silence in the village as I stare out the window. Clouds have descended on the green and it is hard to make out any shapes through the mist. The one tree I can still discern looks like a mere shadow of its former self. Winter is coming. The damp and cold are sneaking their way in and taking hold. I decide to turn on the heating but still can’t shake the sensation of impending doom and ‘all the happiness’ being drained out of me……

Hang on! That sounds suspiciously familiar. I am getting carried away, it seems, by my current module ‘The Novel’, as I sit a comfortable chair reading up on its history and narrative technique.

Read the rest of this entry »

The two words that completely changed my life

October 30, 2014

wordsWords are ever present in our lives. From the first successful ‘mama’ that rewarded us with ‘oohs‘ and ‘aaws’, even applause, they follow us wherever we go. And words have power. They earn us smiles and hugs, create expectations or reap tears.

Then there are those words that shake our very foundation. They bring us insight, turn our worlds upside down and sometimes touch our very soul. At times they have such an impact on our lives that we are changed forever. They can come from parents, spouses, siblings or friends. We cross paths with them in the books we read. Sometimes they are from a teacher or mentor. And at other times, as it was in my case, from an almost complete stranger.

Read the rest of this entry »

Arachne v. Minerva and a case of study nerves

February 1, 2013

My annual, first attempts at essay writing usually feel more frustrating than productive. Despite having read 79 primary texts for my courses, my first real essay efforts can leave me feeling considerably under-read, a little vulnerable and maybe even a little desperate. To paraphrase a talented colleague, the bottom lip can start to quiver about this time of the study year. The emotion puzzles me because I am doing three things I love best, reading, writing, and picking over a complex problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feng shui for your word processor

November 23, 2012

I have a desk. Sometimes it’s tidy, sometimes it’s messy. But undoubtably I study better when it’s tidy. Some people can revel in chaotic surroundings, others need to Feng shui their working space. I fall somewhere in the middle. I can certainly cope with messy surroundings, but it’s easier to organise my thoughts into a tidy logic if my surroundings are similar.

In front of a computer something similar happens. I’ve never been one to tweak my computer’s wallpaper and colours, although I might just adjust the default setting to something a bit more me. I prefer simple themes rather than glaring, flourescent setups.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Singular Sensation

August 9, 2012

It is not often that watching the Olympics and contemplating musical theater combine to produce insights into English studies. Watching the Olympics is inspiring to me, as you know from my last post. Over the past year I have been developing an unexpected soft spot for pop culture and American musical theater, all thanks to Marvin Hamlisch. You might recognize his work: scores from ‘A Chorus Line,’ ‘The Sting,’ and ‘The Way We Were’ are a few. Marvin Hamlisch died this week, which thrust his work and my contemplation of his contributions to our community to the front of my imagination.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Whole Cosmos Of Experience

May 29, 2012

This week someone called me highly logical. It felt almost pejorative, and came as a bit of a jolt. It is a term that would not be among my first choices to self-describe, at least not until I began to study English and Comparative Literature.  A good argument is a wonderful, enjoyable indulgence.  Our tutors lament the tendency of students to describe rather than argue; my friend’s comment helped me to realize that comfort that comes with being a describer, rather than the thrill of a good argument. In past efforts I have enjoyed describing, and did quite well at it personally and professionally. Her comment helped me to realize how glad I am to be studying English and Comparative Literature. It turns out to be the perfect discipline for me, though I did not necessarily feel so confident about my decision in my first year of study.

Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34,557 other followers

%d bloggers like this: