Wednesday, 11 March 2009 04:32 pm
taimatsu: (Default)
I am working on an assessed essay for my "Roots of Gothic" module. There's a choice of only four questions. I'm choosing between two, one on guilt, and one which is worded as follows:

Using evidence from TWO texts on the module, suggest a range of characteristics that might be appropriate to a ‘Gothic’ setting.

How can I address this question while avoiding making it a simple list of things (ruined castle - check, atmospheric weather conditions - check, secret passages - check...)? How can I make it an argument, ideally with something approaching a proper thesis-antithesis-synthesis structure? And would you include items like "distressed heroine", "illicit sexual desires" and "evil monk" in "Gothic setting", or just landscape/weather/buildings?

Fitzbacon!

Monday, 4 February 2008 11:23 pm
taimatsu: (Default)
Hey, Shakespeare buffs - tell me about Hamlet! Specifically, I have a seminar Wednesday morning focussing on soliloquies and other especially notable bits (everyone should read, I quote, "the soliloquy at the end of Act 2.2 'O what a rogue and peasant slave am I' and also the famous grave diggers scene, 5.1"). We did Hamlet two Bardcamps ago so I have a basic idea of it but VERY LITTLE MORE and I know you people have Big Thoughts on the subject.

If nothing else, tell me - what do you think is the coolest/most interesting thing about this play? A section/speech/scene, a theme, an idea or critical theory, anything. I will do some secondary reading but not much in time.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 01:15 pm
taimatsu: (Default)
Well, I went to my seminars today (the ones I missed last week). The Renaissance one was fine, unremarkable, I said a few things, no big deal. The Women's Writing one was with the infuriating lecturer who prompted my can'o'worms feminism post. She is not a lot less infuriating in a seminar situation.

In her defence I have to say that I am hungry, which never puts me in a good mood, and the layout of the room sucks - all of us are round the edges writing on our laps, and we can't all see each other, and it just doesn't encourage involvement. I am going to try to not sit behind the door next week. Then again, it is her darn room, so she could arrange it however she liked. Tables would be good. They make people feel more like they are working together.

The seminar was on Aphra Behn's The Rover. I found quite a lot of the points made were rather too simplistic. Lecturer kept making statements like 'The men in the play don't wear masks! They don't need to disguise themselves!' when actually the men *do* disguise themselves; she made a little aside comment to this end but focussed on the men Not Being In Masks when it would have been more sensible not to draw a black-and-white distinction but to explore how the sexes use disguise differently, and why the women do masquerade more than the men. (She made a similar unqualified point about a character - 'Angellica does not disguise herself! She advertises herself!' - who, again, jolly well does appear in disguise, and we ought to be asking why instead of forgetting it.)

There was a whole lot of bollocks, basically, and from my seat in the corner it was pretty hard to challenge. I will hopefully be more prepared for next week. But I don't know how this is going to work - it's all simplified, and it probably does have to be simplified given that per text we have one 50-minute lecture and one 50-minute seminar. But does it have to be simplified to this extent, to the point where it sounds to me like a load of rubbish? Her whole approach seems about a notch and a half below where I want it to be, academically. I don't know what to do about it.

I did wait behind and bring up the crap lecture of crap with the lecturer, but it was very hard not to be accusatory about it. She said, basically, that they had talked about a lot more of that stuff in the seminar I missed, and in 50 minutes you have to be simplistic, and I couldn't think how to respond, so I didn't.

I am a bit depressed about this module. I think I'm going to spend the entire term really flipping irritated.

(Oh, and for those reading along who were stunned by this woman's unprofessional language in the lecture - today she mentioned but refused to read a poem by the Earl of Rochester because it included 'a word I never say under any circumstances ever' - a student asked 'the C-word?' and she assented - and she left her mobile phone on, which beeped, because 'she's worried the nursery might ring'. Now, I have sympathy there, but that's what pockets and vibrate mode are for. I nearly offered to read the damn poem myself except I am not familiar with it, did not have a copy in front of me, and so did not know what I would be letting myself in for. But I do dislike people being namby-pamby about literature. She did not have to mention the text at all if she did not want to be asked to read it.)

Good day, oh yes.

Thursday, 8 March 2007 04:57 pm
taimatsu: (happy)
I didn't go to Typography practical this morning as they are are at a late stage in a project I have hardly started, and I felt odd about it. But I *did* go to see the tutor afterwards, to confirm what work I have missed and a plan for catching up, and that was very positive. Then I went to see one of my English tutors, and had a fantastic meeting with him checking through this term's work; I managed to accidentally enthuse about his specialism (his thing is Victorian sensation novels, which I absolutely adore and read lots of) which was great. He told me his seminar this afternoon was on A Clockwork Orange which is the one set text I don't own, so I went off to the library, found it and read it (all of it!) before the class at 3. And then I came home, via the shops, as my father has (under protest) given me more money. I am eating food with, like, vitamins in, and drinking fruit juice. It's very good.

TOMORROW is a deadline for a Linguistics project, and for that I need YOUR HELP. I need to analyse a multi-modal text - ie. something with a message in mediums other than just text/speech. I have some fallbacks if I can't find anything suitable, but I would like your suggestions for a television-type advert which is available online. Preferably something a bit interesting/memorable - like, you know that ad with the dancing car? That's the one they describe in the seminar notes, so something equally memorable would be cool. Got any suggestions?
taimatsu: (typeface)
My most recent essay, for a module entitled 'The History of Graphic Communication'. This is in auto-HTML so apologies if it sucks. Highlighted words are my own reminders of the document outline - essentially section headings. Questions welcome.

Choose one contemporary printed document and discuss how it might have been produced in the fifteenth century. )

taimatsu: (typeface)
Am trying to understand image resolution in Photoshop.

I am producing a book cover at a specific print size - 18.1 cm x 11.1 cm. The resolution should be 300dpi if at all possible, with an absolute minimum of 150dpi.

I have created a canvas in Photoshop with the right cm dimensions and resolution, and I have pasted my photo into it. The photo fits, which is fine, but really I want to resize the photo to focus on a section of it. If I select an area and make it bigger won't I make it look pixellated when it prints?

Can anyone help me get my head round this?
taimatsu: (typeface)
I am, as you may know, producing a book cover for my Typography class. It is an erotic work written in the 1940s, but not published till the late 60s.

I am considering the vexed question of what typeface to use for the cover lettering. I cannot find any images of erotic book covers published in the period. (This may be because there were none.) I am even having trouble tracking down any typefaces definitely used in the forties, or any book covers definitely produced then. Can anyone give me any hints?

Edit: Tijuana Bibles were produced in the period but are comic format, not books proper, and as such have a very different typographical style.

Aha! The 1934 cover image for Miller's explicit 'Tropic of Cancer'! (work-safe). Although it seems he hated the cover.
taimatsu: (thinking)
Apologies to those who have seen this already in Another Place.
Assistance needed from people who have studied a modular degree course!

I'm starting university in just over a fortnight, doing English at Reading. I've been to university before, but that was an ill-fated attempt at doing theology at Oxford, and it didn't work out. Oxford does not have a modular system - you do the subject you signed up for, in essence, and that's about it. There was no real option to do papers in other areas.

At Reading, of course, things are very different. I have to do 120 credits in my first year. 60 of those come from three compulsory English modules, and then I've got to choose papers in other things to make up the numbers. There's a huge list of stuff I could do, and I don't know how to start choosing.

I have made a list of the areas which interest me. Some of those areas I have studied before - French, for example, which I have at A-level, or Japanese, or a metaphysics/philosophy module. But there are areas I've never studied, or not since GCSE, which I am interested in - sociology, history, typography...

What's worrying me is how I'm supposed to construct this. I mean, I could do a unit of Japanese, one of Philosophy and one of Sociology, and choose papers which complement my English studies, and I'd enjoy that. But I *could* choose to study all the compulsory modules for another subject (Typography, say) and have the chance to transfer to a joint degree in year 2.

Are you supposed to make sure your subsidiary modules 'add up' to something? Or is it all right to just study things you're interested in? I have done a lot of evening classes over the last five years, and I am worried I am treating this like those, not seriously enough. This is part of my degree, not some optional thing I can abandon if it doesn't work out. The only other subject I have ever seriously considered studying at degree level is theology, which is not offered at Reading, never mind that I didn't manage it so well last time I tried! It feels very strange to be selecting modules in subjects I have not seriously studied in years and did not apply for.

(The whole situation is made more complicated by the fact that I may be able to get credit for passing my first-year exams at Oxford, and also credit for doing two English modules through Reading's Continuing Education programme last year; I haven't decided whether I'm going to use this credit, and will wait to talk to a member of staff before I finalise it.)

How did you plan your studies? What modules did you take in your first year? How did they support your later studies? Any other tips or ideas? Thank you!
taimatsu: (booksbooksbooks)
Re. William Meredith's poem 'The Illiterate', is there a technical term for the use of repeated words instead of rhymes? I can't think of it and can't find the right terms with which to hunt for it. I'm writing an analysis of the poem for this evening, so please don't make any other detailed comments on the poem till after, erm, 7.30pm, so I'm not tempted to copy your brilliant ideas - if you do know the term I'm after, though, please let me know ASAP. :)

Update: [livejournal.com profile] undyingking came up trumps - it's identity rhyme (and a touch of ambiguous rhyme, too) as explained on this page. Ah, I do like it when LJ does my homework... :)

Wednesday, 23 January 2002 06:20 pm
taimatsu: (Default)
note to self : never use in an essay words one cannot pronounce.

'corporeal', for example.

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