Tag Archives: Dratted Exam

More Pictshoores

This was another gift from my colleagues: while I was being examined as to my PhD-worthiness, they installed a new door plate:


And here’s the box with the toy theatre I brought to uni for the exam (on the right, you can just see the last three of the six Champions of Christendom):


The Remains of the Day … eh … the party:

Horse Day!

May I present: Dr. des. Schwab (which basically means that you may call me Dr. Schwab, but I can’t call myself Dr. yet):


(The robe is an old, moth-bitten one that one of my colleagues brought home from St. Andrew’s; now all new doctors of our section have to wear it for the big procession through the humanities building to the big bronze horse in front of said building. The hat is a gift from my colleagues.)

Oh lookz, zere R dragonz on ze hat!

More dragonz (another gift):


(Can you tell I felt much loved yesterday afternoon?)

‘Tis me, climbing onto the aforementioned horsie:


Sitting on the horsie while St. Peter threw snowflakes at us.


Group picture with horsie (I look a bit like St. Martin, don’t I?).


And that was that. I still can’t quite believe that it’s all over now. No more Horribelz Dragonz to slay. No more headless chicken runs. How will I stand it?!?!?!

‘Tis the Day

… the day to slay the dragons once and for all! 🙂 Please keep your fingers crossed for me this afternoon, 3 p.m. Berlin time or 9 a.m. EST. If you live near Mainz, come and see me fall off the horse in front of the Humanities building just in time for five o’clock tea.

And then please send me some good vibes that I’ll conquer the mess in my flat and vanquish the dust wombats:

books in the library-cum-music-room:

pile of books and papers with a desk buried underneath:


things to look forward to in the exam: Beowulf, Thackeray, pantomime, the seven deadly sins:

And this evening I’ll finally be free!

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!