Why yes, that IS Simon de Montfort, John of Gaunt, and Robert de Vere. Just bumbling through Circa and happened upon three of my favs from English history and they followed me home. Imagine that! Cheeky bastards. (Taken with Instagram)
What exactly do you mean when you say, “Oxford was no longer worth the money”? Do you think that it isn’t worth doing a PhD in Medieval Studies at Oxford? I’m asking because I’ve been planning on applying for it.
Answering here b/c I get more formatting options…
Good question. Its actually several questions. A few points.
Also, NB, these are just my opinions based on my specific circumstances, some are addressed below, some I will not address ever on tumblr. It is no way a criticism of the Oxford DPhil model in principle but rather a discussion of a choice between two excellent options based on what I wanted for my life at a specific, individual, moment.
1. Oxford is a DPhil, not a PhD. I am not being pedantic. This is a difference.
2. Medieval Studies or English Literature 650-1550 or Medieval History. This determines your departmental housing, which is crucial. I was Eng. Lit.
3. Money question: ‘worth it.’ I will presuppose that you are not independently wealthy and will in fact need/want an academic job to pay bills.
So our first question: do you want to work in the US or in the UK? A Dphil is a research degree. You come over, you do your thesis, you graduate. A PhD is both a research degree and a professional internship of a sort.
(Mary Garth and Fred Vincy)
“No, indeed, father. I don’t love him because he is a fine match.”
“What for, then?”
“Oh, dear, because I have always loved him. I should never like scolding any one else so well; and that is a point to be thought of in a husband.”
-George Eliot, Middlemarch, ch. LXXXVI
Mary and Caleb Garth discussing Fred Vincy. George Eliot you are the best. The very best.
Frequently I am asked what the academic life is like. First, I have no idea what this is or when it starts. For me I would say it really started in a basement hallway of Reasoner Hall at Asbury College when I skipped a class to talk to a prof about Beowulf. As to the nature of this life, all jokes aside, it is a good life for those who can live it. Anyhow, I have been unreasonably blessed with good friends and mentors in my field. Below is a bit of advice from one of my best friends. Will keep his identity covert save to say he has made his own way, now occupies a major continental chair, and previously held prestigious posts at Princeton, Oxford, and in London. He is also an even better person than scholar.
— Tony Judt w/r/t the varying reactions of English and French motorists to the emergence of parking meters in the 50’s. How cliche. Post-War, (London: Vintage, 2010) p. 340, n. 16.
— George Eliot, Middlemarch, ch. VI (p. 57-8 in the Oxford World Classic paperback). In all seriousness, I may disagree with Eliot to some degree but this is still basically true for Brits. At least the upper middle class type that one encounters in the Oxford-West London-Home Counties-Cotswold-Lake District orbit. Perhaps because that type of Brit still reads George Eliot.
So I finished Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad tonight, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Literature winner. I am still processing it, and I can’t help but read it against two other much feted 2011 books, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and Jeffery Eugenides The Marriage Plot. Like the latter two, Egan’s book charts the last thirty odd years of American life. Where Franzen uses the environmental movement and Eugenides employs university life, Egan couches here narrative in the music industry, specifically punk rock. It is billed as a story about two people, Sasha and Bennie, but really, it is about the ‘Goon’- Father Time. The book, to me, is about the passage of time and how generations understand that passage. Each chapter could be a short story in it’s own, and a good one. This is both a strength and a weakness of Egan’s novel. At it’s best, the picaresque narrative that shifts rapidly between time, place, and perspective facilitates a cyclical view of the same basic event: Bennie/Sasha growing up. And yet the very independence of each unit militates against their wholistic function. If Egan’s basic conceit is that everything is connected, then the separability of each chapter suggests an autonomy opposed to her basic premise. Egan’s debt to other novelists, specifically DFW- on whose journalism the Jules Jones chapter may be predicated- is apparent, but her own status as a short story writer par excellance prevents her from tying the book up in the way I want a novel to tie-up. I don’t expect every novel to resolve every issue it raises, but I do hope they bring the characters to some conclusion. I felt like Goon Squad just ended, and perhaps a little tritely with Alex and Bennie ‘growing up.’ Let’s face it, a lot of sh*t goes down to the characters, the type of sh*t one does not just grow out of by walking past the apartment of an old flame. The cyclical narrative structure does begin to close, to link lives, but it halts too abruptly for me and, I think, a bit unrealistically. That said, it was a good book, I was glad I read it, and I may- after further consideration- revise my view on it. As it’s merits with regard to the Pulitzer, who knows. Did I think it was better than Freedom or The Marriage Plot? I don’t know. It had a bit of Eugenides fun mixed with Franzen’s technical force and was probably a more significant novel than either, what ever that means (and neither were even finalists FYI), but really, only time tells on the prizes. Like the Oscars, the list of not-Pulitzer prize winners is pretty impressive in hindsight.
For those studying for the GRE Subject exam in English Literature, this is an amazing resource.
Anonymous asked: You are the reason people have fantasies about librarians while spending inordinate amounts of time in the stacks.
If a person is stuck in the stacks fantasizing about librarians, I’m assuming it’s because they can’t find their book and need help real...
It takes an ocean not to break.
“Poetry must resemble prose, and both must accept the vocabulary of their time.”— William Butler Yeats on modern poetry in a rare 1936 BBC recording.