Tag Archives: academic

The cruellest month?

Chaucer and his Tales (photos.com/ThinkStock)

Thus T. S. Eliot in the opening to his seminal poem The Waste Land. I’ve just realised that sadly I didn’t manage to get an entry to this blog in during April, the object of T. S. Eliot’s totally modernist foray into Chaucerian tradition, possibly because I’ve been so busy with other things, not least in gaining my laurea magistrale from university in Rome, which I am very pleased about and for which I shall proceed to blow my own trumpet!

It’s been the result of over two years of study in various subjects pertaining to English and German language (translation and literature), linguistics and language theory as well as the workings and history of international organisations such as the UN, the EU and so on. It hasn’t been easy ride, given my no longer tender age and other life commitments such as work, family and even moving house! To be honest the studying has been on the whole enjoyable, although I have found the exam situation to be rather stressful and extremely taxing on the nerves. Education is wasted on the young, they say and to some extent that may be true, but while memory cells are still very much alive in the young, in older folk (read over-40s) they are not. But no matter, I got through it all with generally satisfactory results, and my final dissertation in contemporary utopian/dystopian literature gave me a good sprint finish and I came out with a more than pleasing result.

At least for this year, after my own personal pilgrimage in education, appropriately ending up in Rome, I prefer Chaucer’s view of the month of April, and its lusty, fertile rebirth. In 2015 the month also appropriately began with Easter, or rather the pagan festival of fertility and abundancy, and of all things which will eventually bear fruit! Here’s hoping…

What that April with his showres soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed ever viene in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendered is the flowr;
What Zephyrus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
the tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath the Ram his halve cour yronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye
That sleepen al the night with open ye-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgramages…

Geoffrey Chaucer, General prologue to The Canterbury Tales 

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Big Brother is following you

1984>2014>1984…

Hurt / Smith, 1984.

Spent the evening listening to Anthony Burgess podcasts, writing ’til late on Orwell, checking on end of year tax payments etc. and then to bed in a bit of a turmoil. Should’ve had more cheese… woke up about 3 a.m. felt like I was Winston Smith .. cold, scared and even hungry .. wanted to get up for a quick shot of gin and a dry biscuit perhaps but was afraid the telescreen might bark at me, and get me to do my morning jerks (sic.) or even order me back to bed…

Somehow got back to sleep..dreaming of electric sheep in a desolate Airstrip One landscape .. woke again before the alarm call . .kept the lights and the telescreen off..but I knew Big Brother was still watching me. Crawled out for a pee .. thought of the day ahead..it’s cold outside. The Ministry awaits.
Never felt more grateful for running hot water, although razor blade a little blunt, Ingsoc style. Shavespeak. Tuned into the wireless. Radio App.. “Here is the BBC“, Listen, they said: some woman was talking about birds, then a man talked about doubleplusbad schools in Airstrip One and torturecrime in other parts of Oceania. Needed cornflakes and warm milk: easy on the Victory gin, don’t spare the coffee.
In other news….. I don’t remember. Change channels. Classical music…no! Too Clockwork Orangey!
Out into the cold morning air. Morning sun on thin veil of frost. Automobile. My turn to drive, Clemmy-cast to hand.
Reached my destination .. had to get something off my chest and out of my head. The thing I’d been gestating all night while Big Brother wasn’t watching. Scribbled in my secret notebook. Here it is.
I’m going to need a bigger piece of paper.

Brave New Worlds

reminder to self….

Brave New Worlds: The Dystopia in Modern and Contemporary Fiction

Welcome to the official site for ‘Brave New Worlds: The Dystopia in Modern and Contemporary Literature’, an interdisciplinary conference which will take place at Newcastle University on Wednesday 29th April 2015. Please keep checking the site regularly for further updates and information including the Call for Papers which will be published this weekend.

We look forward to seeing you all at the conference!

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