Sunday, November 8, 2009

Other Reading

I was much comforted to have some responses to my last post! I agree that it is important to re-evaluate why I chose to be an English major, even if I had negative feelings associated with it.

I have not been able to do any reading outside of class in the past few weeks, but I decided to list some of my in-class readings, though none of them are novels. That is about to change actually, I'm on schedule to start reading Gargantua and Pantagruel for Sixteenth Century tomorrow.

In Sixteenth Century, we've covered:

The Defence of Poesie by Sir Philip Sidney, which I greatly enjoyed, even though poetry isn't always my cup of tea. Sidney, one of Elizabeth I's best known courtiers (also Leicester's nephew), wrote this essay defending the occupation of poetry that he has fallen into, first, because, obviously, his occupation must be the best, and then a host of other reasons including that all learning (philosophy, math, science), originally stemmed from the writing of poetry, which stemmed from written language, which stemmed from language itself.

Sidney's Astrophel and Stella sonnet sequence, in the grand Petrarchan tradition. Some of them are pretty funny, I did an analysis paper on Sonnet IX where Astrophel compares his beloved Stella's face to "Queen Virtue's Court," basically saying, "Hey, your face is a building, but I'm
your straw anyway."

Edmund Spenser's sonnet sequence, Epithalamion, also in the Petrarchan tradition. In this one though, the lover actually gets the girl. Ooo subversion! Spenser, also an Elizabethan courtier (sort of, I think he wrote for one of her courtiers, but he was associated with the court), is my old friend from The Faerie Queene, which I haven't yet read in its entirety. I appreciate it, but...it is dense, and very metaphorically confusing.

Shakespeare's sonnets to the Golden Boy and the Dark Mistress. I've read them all before. A lot. But I do think they're better than Sidney's or Spenser's.

Christopher Marlowe's epyllion Hero and Leander. I sort of just read it without thinking about it, and then my teacher made us re-read the descriptions of Hero and Leander, and it's ridiculous. Hero has little mechanical birds chirping on her boots that her maidservant fills with water, a veil of artifical flowers, and bees constantly swarming around her. What a beauty.

In Theatre, we read parts of Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed.His writing style is very clear and well-organized, but that doesn't make his ideas that traditional theatre is oppressive much easier to understand.

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