G[r]adding about.

[It took me several minutes to decide how to write that title.]

Sometimes I look at my statistics here at The Blotted Line and think “why, for the love of Ben, does anyone continue to visit this site?” Alright, I seem to have tapped into that exclusive Jonson-Middleton-Marston-Thomas Dekker demographic — and it’s nice to see that searches for Cynthia’s Revels, humours and city comedy, and The Insatiate Countess are consistently queried and sent my way.  I suspect, however, this only counts for about twelve people worldwide.  Don’t the rest of you realise that I lack proper credentials, and that I lead a singularly uninteresting life? (One can categorise many of the entries in the last two months as concerning one of three topics: the way I’ve arranged my living space, the food I’ve eaten, or the exploits of my cat.)

Apparently not.  Here are the banalities of the last month or so.

I think an effect of grad school is that one always feels terribly behind in research.  I do feel terribly behind, but these feelings are irrational. I’ve completed all but two assignments in both my courses (and completed them decently well). I’ve made my way through not only all the readings for my course work, but also all of the optional readings (even Spenser’s A View of the State of Ireland, which added over one hundred pages to my reading load that week). I’ve also completed all my TA readings (excepting that one play the week we were on strike).  I’ve collected all the texts/articles I need for my research papers in Gothic (Lady Audley’s Secret, the circulation of art objects, and the traumatic histories they carry) and Spenser (a reading of the Actaeon myth in III.v of The Faerie Queen, and Spenser’s figuring of Ovidian rape and violence).  I submitted my MA thesis proposal (a psychoanalytic-feminist consideration of the performance of female communities around marriage in Jonson’s Caroline drama), and even a proposal for a conference next spring (a psychoanalytic reading of Jonson’s The Alchemist ). [My interior editor feels I should note that these last two feats aren’t so impressive given that both proposals existed in some form six months ago.] Perhaps I feel behind in that I’m not sure I have enough time to finish all the reading I would like to do for my final papers, and to be prepared for beginning the introduction to my thesis once the proposal is approved.

Yes, but I never have time to do all the reading I’d like.  This is the sole reason I have yet to complete Gaiman’s American Gods, which I’ve been reading since the summer.  I have about 200 pages left.  When I finish the thing (I write with affection: it’s Gaiman, and so, good), I plan to get through a pile of young adult books that have been amassing on my floor: Joyce Carol Oates, Meg Rosoff (please please go read Meg Rosoff), and Ellen Hopkins are among these, and a few more texts in the vein of Hopkins (poetry for young adults seems on the rise, and I am both pleased and intrigued). Then I will settle in, one more time, with Anna Kerinina. One year, I will finish it.

I’m not a proper grad student if I don’t write about my cat. In her continued, but somewhat misguided attempts to win my affection, Celia has been practicing how to pull books off my shelves. If I can manage to teach her how to retrieve the proper titles, I’ll be thrilled.  As of now, she mostly makes a (loud) mess of things.  Also, the books, when they finally tip out onto the floor, seem to terrify her.  But she reasserts her dominance by falling asleep on them for hours, rendering them motionless and non-threatening.

Cats are all well and good, but people with whom to read, gripe, panic, eat, drink, and go to the opera are also a grad school necessity. I feel I should end this with compliments to Jesse who, even though he never reads these things, is a first-rate confederate in all these activities (he also carries our cats on trips to the vet, makes sure I go to the pub sometimes, and almost always walks me home). He reminded me the other day that he was, in fact, awesome.  A statement which is as accurate as it is narcissistic (but mostly it’s just accurate).

That about exhausts the goings-on here.

22 November 2009 ~ Hamilton

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