Reading for the Dratted Exam

Now that I no longer have the Dratted Diss to worry about, it has become necessary to find something else to worry about: the Dratted Exam (though this doesn’t have the nice, alliterative sound of the DD word) (speaking of alliterations, Germanic people seem to have been particular fond of them, hence all those lovely alliterations in Old English and Old High German literature; the German language has retained quite a number of alliterative phrases – e.g. “mit Maus & Mann” as in “the ship sinks with mouse and man”, or perhaps even better, “with mice and men” – and within these alliterative phrases there are several words which are no longer used in other context, e.g. “mit Kind und Kegel”, meaning “everybody”. The “Kegel” in this phrase does not refer to one or more skittle pins; instead it is an old-fashioned word meaning “illegitimate children”.)

Despite the missing alliteration, the Dratted Exam is a wonderful thing to worry about. I even had nightmares about it already! (Yay me!) (*snort*)

Apparently, for the most part the DE will deal with the dissertation (no worries there), and after that there will be another two topics (one for each examiner) to muddle through. I’ve chosen early English drama and the nineteenth-century novel. Last Tuesday I talked with examiner No. 2 about the latter topic, and we already settled on some texts:

  • Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH
  • Elizabeth Gaskell’s CRANFORD
  • W.M. Thackeray’s VANITY FAIR

Now I only need one last novel. Prof. Erlebach suggested JANE EYRE, but I later remembered that Charlotte B. and Emily B.’s novels are a bit too melodramatic for my taste. Anne’s THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL would be much more to my liking. But then I thought, How about some Jane Austen? After all, the topic is the nineteenth-century novel, not the Victorian novel! NORTHANGER ABBEY would be nice because it would allow us … eh … me, mostly, to talk about the gothic novel.

Oh my. Talk about difficult decisions! 🙂

At the moment I’m re-reading CRANFORD, and I’m once again marvelling at the wealth of detail in these stories. For somebody who’s about to buy her first sewing machine, it’s quite lovely to read about the Cranford ladies swapping knitting patterns and forming friendships over tartan wool from Edinburgh. And who could ever forget the cat & lace incident? (Well, apart from my students, most of whom weren’t able to answer the test question relating to that particular scene from the book. *sigh*) For those of you who’ve never read CRANFORD, here’s the cat & lace scene from the BBC mini-series. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Reading for the Dratted Exam

  1. Sandra Schwab

    Sewing is just wonderful (no computer!!! Everything just comes nicely together under your hands)! And with a sewing machine it won’t take ages to put together a little something for baby Rebecca. 🙂 The flowery bunny was very well received, btw. Not the least because of the bunny’s long ears which can be used in lieu of a pacifier.

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