My dad and I have been in Durham for two nights and about two days. It’s lovely to be back in such a picturesque and historical city, though the scholarship is causing a few hiccups. I’ve met with the reception in the college, put my ginormous suitcases and recent bedding purchases in my room, and met with one of the professors and IMRS participants who championed my acceptance and reception of the scholarship. All seems well, and the sun is shining brilliantly outside over the cathedral!
However, now that these little things are cleared up, or at least on their ways to being cleared up, I have some big decisions ahead of me. I have to choose modules (American “classes” or “courses”). After having experience at the Cambridge summer school and at the University of Washington, I have so many modules I want to take! First, there are the languages. I want to have at least some basic understanding of Old English, Middle English (1 term already), Old French, modern French, and Latin (3 years already). I want to be able to teach classes on Shakespeare, medieval literature (with a focus on later poetry, Arthur, epic, and romance), composition (hooray for my Texas TAAS standardized teaching prep actually coming in handy!), manuscript tradition, and the classical tradition’s progression from its early inception in Greece through the beginning of the Renaissance in Europe. Whew, that’s a lot! Plus, a good background in the history of the Middle Ages is something I feel I need, and I’ve gotten some excellent education on that.
The modules I’m looking at are Narrative Transformations (classical antiquity to Renaissance), Roland to Orlando (epic), Paleography (reading manuscripts), Codicology (formation of manuscripts and early print), Old English, and romance (focusing on Arthur). I know I want to take Narrative Transformations, but so much looks so good! Is it good or bad to want to know everything about literature in the later Middle Ages? For the master’s program, perhaps it is. Perhaps it isn’t and it’ll allow me to fine-tune my specialty. I want to have a specialty in epic literature and antiquity’s influence on medieval literature. For me, epic includes things like Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (a traditional romance), and folklore legends that become epic, like Robin Hood and the entire Matters of Britain and France and Rome/Vulgate Cycle/Arthurian romance.