The second semester is underway. This semester will, hopefully, be a lot less hectic than the last as I am only taking 2 seminar courses instead of 4 (plus continuing the year-long lecture course in Jewish studies).
Despite the amazing amount of work I had last semester, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. All four courses, actually all five, if you include the Jewish studies course, complemented each other beautifully. Just to reiterate, I took two undergraduate courses — Introduction to Literature (Homer, Virgil, Plato and the like) and American Drama (Williams, Miller, etc.), and two graduate seminar courses — Literary Translation (a practical course) and Contemporary Literary Theory (a humdinger of a course! Tons to read, lots of new jargon to learn. Extremely challenging!). And even though there were a lot of new concepts for me to digest, I found myself engaged in every course, with lots (maybe too much) to contribute to the class. I kept up with the readings and assignments and truly enjoyed every class.
This semester I am taking a seminar course in Hebrew about heterolinguistic translation, which is interesting and engaging and shouldn’t be a problem.
And, I am taking a course on John Milton.
Toward the end of yesterday’s class, the third one so far, I looked around the room, and noted that almost every single one of my classmates had managed at some point or other to participate in the discussion. Everyone except me! And I realized that almost everyone in the class (everyone EXCEPT me?) probably has a BA in the humanities, if not in English lit, so that all those basic words and concepts that are tripping me up are second nature to them.
The only part of the class I really understood was exactly what the magic square in Durer’s engraving of melancholy was about!
So, I’ve dragged out an old high-school text about literature, and plan to read it from start to finish; or at least up to the part about Milton, and hope I can give myself a crash course so that by the end of this course I won’t feel that I made a dreadful mistake taking it.
Hopefully, I will learn to appreciate this man who seems to have such an extensive fan club.
To make my “crash course on English lit” more interesting, I am challenging myself to do some creative writing at each stage based on the genre under discussion. I started with Anglo-Saxon literature. (See “Walking the Curs,” as influenced by Beowulf, and more…)
Best get back to it!