Saturday, September 12, 2009

Who the hell's Lord Jim?

Here's what I did this weekend: took the practice GRE in the English Literature subject, promptly realized that there are white-whale sized gaps in my knowledge of said subject, wondered what the heck I studied in the BAZILLION English classes I took, then looked at my bookshelf and realized that I did in fact HAVE to read Measure for Measure... I just, uh, never did. I also saw that most of the books I kept from my English classes tend to fall under a certain category, namely, British sensation novels from the 19th century. Not that I'm biased or anything. Sure, I took American Identities 212. Did I read The Souls of Black Folk? No. Should I have? Yes, I'm starting to realize I should have, along with about a dozen other titles.

Maybe I wasn't that lazy, and I did actually get around to reading Old Man Du Bois between reruns of Jon & Kate Plus 8, but on top of it all, there is some stuff on that test that I either learned briefly and only peripherally, or simply never even knew existed. Drama, for example. Ibsen, TN Williams, Albee, O'Neill, etc. Never, not even in high school have I had to read The Glass Menagerie or even freakin' Raisin in the freakin' Sun. And I was in the "good" high school (though I think that was a "fact" made up to compensate for how bad we were at most sports). Poetry, too. I could be facing a firing squad, and all I could tell you about good old Yeats was that he was Irish and seemed to be keen on daffodils. All I could tell you about dumb old Longfellow is that he was boring and lame. Not really comprehensive knowledge, though.

What do I do about this whole thing, then, if I want to get into grad school, you ask? Wikipedia. I will wikipedia the crap out of William Carlos Williams, Sapphic verse (which is probably way less sexy than I imagine), Hedda Gabler, and all the other crap I've never even heard of or read, until my brains bleed tetrameter and I mutter about fourteeners (??) in my sleep. Maybe that's not really kosher, or even very smart, but I'm under a serious time crunch here. I'm trying to LEARN ALL OF ENGLISH LIT IN UNDER THREE WEEKS. I'm sure I'll be fine, though, yeah?

1 comment:

Remus Thirty said...

I like that "freakin'" is italicized in Raisin in the freakin' Sun. Like it's a legitimate part of the title. Nice touch.