March and April brought my first professional engagements at conferences and classes.  After the end of the term at York, during which time I had shadowed and had a fun (but at times trying) time teaching for the first time, I attended the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature’s first conversation.  The SSMLL and the Corpus Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity jointly hosted “Classicists and Medievalists in Conversation: Epic“.  Of course, this event seemed tailor-made for my interests.  I was an undergraduate classicist with a focus on epic, and I am a current medievalist focusing on epic tradition in medieval romance.  This was technically a conference, but it was organised to be a more informal forum for discussion. The short panels left plenty of time for discussion afterwards.  There were lots of big names in the room, and I was particularly starstruck by Philip Hardie whose books I’ve consulted frequently over the past several months.  I think I was a bit timid–this was my first big-girl (as in not just postgraduate) conference, and the discussion tended to be dominated by more experienced, published, and employed academics.  I felt a bit out of place, as much of the discussion was on material I’d never encountered before.  However, it was a good way to dip my toes into the conference pool.  My full conference report can be found here.

St. Hugh’s College, Oxford
Works Cited: http://www.proimmune.com/

Two weeks after the day-long Epic conversation, I went to back to Oxford for the Romance in Medieval Britain Conference at St. Hugh’s College.  This was a three-day event, and the papers were absolutely fantastic.  I got to see two of my fellow PhD workroom friends present papers, talked with academics I’ve encountered at Cambridge and Durham, and meet other new researchers and post-docs with similar interests.  I was pleased to find that there were many others working on various Troy Books and ecphrasis, there was one panel whose papers fit incredibly well with my MA dissertation on hospitality and generosity in Gawain romances.  It was tiring, but extremely rewarding and fun.  After the last panel, I got to walk around the manuscript exhibit at the Bodleian Library.  While perusing the various sections, I bumped into another PhD from the conference who was visiting from Toronto, and we had a lovely afternoon walking in the sunshine.  My goal is to present a paper at the next RMB in two years, and I hope to keep up with the contacts I made this year.

Old Main, Gustavus Adolphus College
Works Cited: http://geography.blog.gustavus.edu/

After that crazy two weeks, I went home and then up to Minnesota to speak at Gustavus.  I shared my study abroad experience at the annual “Why Classics?” event and got an overwhelmingly positive response from the faculty.  The following day, I taught a class on the Aeneid in the Middle Ages with particular attention to the text of Chaucer’s House of Fame (Book 1) and sections of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  I was a bit disappointed that the students didn’t seem to work with the Middle English, and I discovered that I should have spent more time on SGGK because the text I provided for that had a modern translation.  I was expecting a Latin class to be a bit more receptive to engaging with the language, but I understand that it was something new for them.  However, I think the class went well even if I presented many novel ideas in a short amount of time.  I spoke with the only medievalist in the English department (who, of course, had been working in admin while I was a student), and he said he struggles each year when deciding on Chaucer text.  To use or not to use the Middle English?  It’s something I don’t think we should struggle with; Chaucer’s Middle English isn’t particularly difficult, and I’ve seen many undergraduate classes who read all the literature without translations.  It’s something to consider in the future, and I’d never thought about it before.

Being back at Gustavus as a speaker was a bit surreal.  I stayed in the guest house and was driven to and from Gustavus by my old advisor.  I was privy to all sorts of gossip and opinions from the faculty about which I had no idea as a student.  It was interesting to be on the other side of the fence–the side shared by professors I highly respect and adore.

I had a fantastic time being a “grown-up” academic for the first time.  It’s scary to be there, and entering into the ivory tower is daunting.  I hope that with practice I can work up to feeling more like I belong among those academics.

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Okay, I know what you’re thinking.  But this is the only pop culture reference I could think of with “relax” in it, so get your mind out of the gutter.  This is not that kind of blog.

This blog is about my journeys in graduate school, and if I can go through a rough period and come out with advice and life experience for others, then I’ve accomplished something.  If I can articulate my triumphs, setbacks, and activities to my friends back in America, then this blog is doing its job.

 

The Valley

It’s now May and all of those conferences and engagements are over.  I’m back in York after a trip to the States and back to work.  I confess that it took me a really long time to get back into work mode.  You may have heard of the Thesis Whisperer.  (And if you are a student and haven’t heard of her, well, go to her page.  She’s worthy of the title “sage” when it comes to doling out advice about research writing and living.)  A few days ago, she posted on “The Valley of Shit“.  When I came back from the States, I was definitely in the Valley.  I suddenly realised that the listless, “meh” feelings I was having (and am still having to a lesser extent) came from me being intensely homesick.  I didn’t feel homesick last year.  Perhaps everything was new.  Perhaps classes and having others in my course kept me from feeling it too much.  Perhaps seeing my parents suddenly seeming older over Christmas flipped some daughterly switch.  Whatever the reason was, the fact was that I was slogging through my work–when I did work–feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere.  Feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere made me not want to work.  And on and on it went.  Yup, I was knee-deep in the Valley of Shit and didn’t know how to propel myself forward.  I was stressed and couldn’t force myself to really and truly relax.

 

The Plan

I finally just cried about it.  One big, huge, wailing ball of bawling mess.  I cleaned myself up and made a decision to make a schedule for myself in which I would make time for me.  I’m not talking necessarily about films, making tea, or writing letters; I do all that anyway.  My new mission was to work an allotted amount of hours per day and make absolutely sure that I got home before 9 pm and fit in workouts many times a week.  I would burn off the worry in the form of dedicated exercise (and free exercise thus far–YouTube has an impressive selection of full-length Tae Bo workouts that I can adapt for my bad knees).  After that exercise, I would actually sleep for 7-8 hours a night, which means not getting to bed at my nightowl-preferred 2 AM.

Since I was born, I’ve had health problems that affected my physical abilities and weight.  With all of this worry and anxiety about home, my parents, and my work, I felt like now was the time to really focus on making my mind and body healthy.  I’m still in the early weeks, but I want to make healthy living a priority.  This means waking up early, going to the workroom for at least 8 hours on a work day while munching on homemade lunches and snacks, getting home to exercise in the evenings, and then enjoying a healthy, fresh dinner.  I’ve never been one for “student” food, but I didn’t really keep fresh vegetables in the house, either.  That’s changed.  My favourite meal is now at least half a bag of greens (and by “greens,” I mean real greens that have nutritional value–not iceberg lettuce), a whole pepper or a bunch of tomatoes, a bit of smoked salmon, some goat cheese, and vinaigrette dressing I make from scratch.  Delicious!  Instead of snacking on whatever happens to look good on the day, I bring a lentil salad from M&S, some fresh fruit, yoghurt, and low fat cheese, and I make up my own mix of dried fruit and nuts for that 4 o’clock snack craving.

 

The Hard Stuff Still to Come

Of course, with improvements to my diet and workout schedule, I’ve had to make sacrifices elsewhere.  My bank account is less than happy with me.  I can’t be as flexible with my time in the evenings.  I have to, have to get to bed at a certain time.  Lack of funding and sleep always brings its own challenges, and I’m learning now how to overcome these new trials.  I have seen that perhaps my friends won’t be understanding when I can’t get cocktails or play the hostess.  This isn’t just about one night of fun.  This is a badly-needed life overhaul.  I need to make sure I have enough time to properly relax.  I need to do what many doctoral students have advised: make this thesis a job rather than a monster constantly hanging over my head.

My work itself is still trying.  I have my upgrade coming up at the beginning of July.  This is a formal meeting among my supervisor, my TAP (Thesis Advisory Panel) member, and another member of the department’s faculty to evaluate my progress and formally upgrade me to official PhD status (or technically “confirm my enrolment” as a PhD student).  From what I hear, it’s not a terrifying process on the day.  I submit 10,000 words to the three faculty members and will make sure that I prepare documents outlining my entire research project, showing a list of activities and lectures, and generally making me look good and productive.  Usually, this process isn’t until some time in the second year.  However…  Here’s the clincher: in order to teach next year, I must have upgraded.  This means I have to have upgraded before the beginning of autumn term, and this in turn means before the end of summer term.  While the meeting itself may not be stressful, the preparation is.  I have a sizeable chuck of that 10,000 words to write and a lot, a lot, a lot to read in order to write.  I have to edit the last section I submitted because not only does it need fleshing out, but it also needs all the footnotes.  I have to present good work to the upgrade committee, and that means more time in the workroom.

If I can suggest anything to others, it’s to write, cry, talk about things bothering you.  Stay connected to your friends and family; I know the support from my favourite people has helped me to continue with my programme here in the UK.  Make a budget and stick to it.  I don’t just mean a monetary budget here.  Schedule your life and budget the time you have for everything: breaks, work, television, preparation in the morning, everything.  There’s a reason my mom encouraged me to set out my clothes the night before, used an egg timer to ensure I was brushing my teeth enough, and always had a mammoth calendar on the fridge: scheduling works.  Plus, if you make a schedule, chances are you’ll remember the lectures you want to see and the lunch dates you have.  A great tool is Pomodoro, which is available as a Mac app and on Chrome.  You can set this little tomato for a set amount of work time which is followed by break time.  It also keeps track of each “Pomodoro” (set of work + break time) you complete, rewarding you with a longer break after several sets.

So what does all this scheduling, worrying, and upgrading mean for me and my road to overcoming my unintended sojourn through The Valley of Shit?  It means putting myself first, and that may mean putting socialising further down on my life list than I’d like.  Don’t worry–this should just  be until the big day in July, and my true friends should understand that I really can’t go out.  I don’t have the money, the time, or the energy to stay out until midnight.  It’s not because I don’t want to, but because I have to get over this hump and through the Valley.  I think I’ll be a better, more relaxed person when I climb out.

Now that I’m settled in York (and perhaps have too much on my plate with auditing Old French and Latin, running two discussion groups/lecture series, constructing props for the Lords of Misrule production of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and sorting out shadowing next term), I can report that I do really love my program, supervisor, and peers.  On the personal front, I love my flatmate and our similar tastes in pumpkin foods, The Big Bang Theory, Merlin, heckling bad films, wandering around York’s streets, and unwinding after a long day with one of our many, many types of tea.

Despite my success at the undergraduate and master’s levels, I still sometimes feel like I’m out of my depth.  I don’t have the background many of my peers have (I think we touched on Cimabue in my art history survey class, read Beowulf in my World Literature I class, and heard about The Canterbury Tales in my Great Books of the Greek and Roman world course).  However, a visiting student who came to deliver a paper here at the Centre for Medieval Studies last night assures me that this is normal.  She said she felt throughout the entire process that she’d be “found out” and thrown out.  It’s sometimes an unsettling feeling, but it seems like it’s a normal one.

This omnipresent feeling leads me to something that has bugged me over the years that resurfaced after speaking with this Oxford-educated woman with a DPhil already in the bag.

In my junior year of college I was in my senior seminar class on ancient epic.  I had this professor for many classes in the two years we overlapped at Gustavus and had done well in previous classes.  The seminar was designed to be graduate school-like: three hours of class time (plus film viewings) one evening a week, one big research paper at the end, and lots of small papers every week and close reading.  Among the texts were the usual suspects (the Iliad, the Odyssey, The Aeneid) plus some texts new to us (Argonautica, Lucan’s Civil War).  I stressed like everyone, but didn’t complain in front of our professor, didn’t miss a class, and got things done on time.  We had oral midterm and final exams, too, and during my feedback for my final, the professor told me I did very well, and (as word-for-word as I can remember it) said “I don’t know if you just speak quickly or speak succinctly, but you covered in 15 minutes what others take 30 to say.”  I got an A on that final and in the class.

This long prelude is to illustrate the surprise I felt when he told me that he didn’t think I was suited for graduate school because I was “too anxious.”  ???  “Too anxious” still confuses me to this day.  What did that mean?  What behaviors or essays had convinced him of this?  I was too stunned and cowardly to ask at the time.

Works cited: dreamstime.com. NB: Not a picture for instruction. If you mutilate one of my writing tools, I may have to hunt you down.

I know in my heart that he was wrong.  Perhaps I was wrong for graduate school in classics, his field and passion.  It was my passion and life as an undergraduate, and I lived and breathed the subject material.  Today, I’m working on the data for my first thesis chapter on the Aeneid and material culture as a kind of proto-romance and as inspiration for medieval authors.  I won’t argue that perhaps I didn’t see then that classics wasn’t my future and that perhaps I wasn’t quite passionate enough to slog through years of Greek study.  Perhaps because I didn’t go into Gustavus knowing I wanted to study classics he thought I wasn’t devoted enough.  Perhaps I was too wrapped up in taking classes in the field that he thought I was annoying and overly-ambitious.  Perhaps my frequent migraines and illnesses came off as simply skipping class for the heck of it.  Perhaps it was supposed to be a helpful comment.  (I have often wanted to believe this is the case, but remain doubtful.)  Medieval literature is a field that gets me excited and makes me happy like classics did because of many of the same things: the magic of classical characters, the beauty of intricate poetic forms, heroes and their quests, the power of religion and devotion, and cultural ideals behind the texts.  However, instead of Latin and Greek, I focus on English with smatterings of French and Latin.  (Learning about the Norman Conquest and the evolution of the English language might be my favorite academic moment in recent memory.)

The final question this situation raises for me is how much professors should provide advice to a gung-ho student.  I’m sure you’ve seen this video.  We’ve heard that jobs for academics are thin on the ground.  I know and I’m aware.  I’m going to graduate school because I’ll always wonder, “What if?”.  I won’t be able to get a job in the field of medieval literature without my advanced degrees, so because I’ve had some funding and have the ability to go to graduate school, why not?  I made this quite clear even as an undergraduate.  I appreciate honest feedback but with one caveat: if asked.  I don’t want honest feedback from a professor or lecturer with whom I don’t feel comfortable and perhaps don’t respect in the field as much as another who knows me well on a personal level.  With all of this in mind, how honest is too honest?  Should professors just tell students what they think in the manner they deem best?  If the student has said that s/he will go if able, even with the knowledge that a career may not develop in the way one would like?  It’s a touchy subject with the economy sliding, many shrinking humanities departments, the elimination of tenure-track positions, and the competition for funding, jobs, and prestige.

So, I go back to that professor and that comment.  The situation crops into the forefront of my mind more often than I’d like, and sometimes it makes me further question whether I belong here and deserve my place.  I have to remember that people who have been in the field for years chose to accept me into all the master’s and doctoral programs to which I applied.  I won a scholarship for my MA year and worked incredibly hard for my degree with distinction at Durham.  I must remember that I do belong here.  Perhaps I don’t have as much experience, but I’m behind other first-year PhDs by a few years, not a lifetime.  I have the privilege of being able to devote my time, work, and life to the Middle Ages, if only for the few years it takes to complete my thesis and program before the Real World comes calling.

This is going to be a short post, completely composed from a stream of consciousness, as my dissertation due date is looming in the not-so-distant future.  I’m trying (sometimes successfully!) to limit my time on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, and definitely on such correspondence applications such as Facebook Chat, AIM, and Skype.  I totally get sucked in, and I apologize to those who look for me there.

I’ve learned through trial and error several things about myself when I’m working.

Not even close to the number of books on my desk...

  • Don’t use the Mac.  This seems counterintuitive, but my Mac is fast.  Yep, I’m complaining about my computer being too fast while I’m working.  Why?  Well, because websites load faster.  That one minute break to check email leads to a click here, a click there, and then I’ve spent an hour of productivity click-click-clickity-clicking.  I use my HP netbook instead, which is functional, but moves at a comparatively glacial pace.  Websites like YouTube and StumbleUpon aren’t nearly as fun.
  • Work out of my room.  Yes, this means walking up one of the painful Durham hills carrying lots and lots of books, but I need that time out of my comfortable college accommodation.  Plus, since college decided that a folding chair was a suitable replacement for my desk chair, in actuality the library is more comfortable…  And there are fewer distractions about when the purpose for a library is study.
  • Wake up early, no matter what.  Yes, as a night owl I feel like the veil of sleep doesn’t lift until mid-afternoon, but really I get so much more done when I get up at 7-8 each morning.  If I’m at work by 9, then I can work all day and actually do something at night.  I woke up three mornings in a row before 5 AM about two weeks ago while on holiday, so I bloody well can get up at 8!
  • Caffeine and music make Sarah a not-so-dull girl.  I’ve never had so much Diet Coke, coffee, and tea before in my life, and I’m convinced that a tenner for an entire movie soundtrack has to be an incorrect price on iTunes.  I mean, really, who won’t be enthused by listening to the Game of Thrones main title or “He’s a Pirate” from Pirates of the Caribbean?  Currently my favorite?  “An Historic Love” from the Tudors, season one.

Just a quick update on life: I’m going to York in October for my PhD position in English/the CMS (Centre for Medieval Studies).  My dissertation is on hospitality and the guest-host relationship in Middle English Gawain romances.  My dissertation is 12-15,000 words (or roughly 45-60 A4 pages).  I registered for Pottermore on the third day and am currently awaiting my welcome email.  I went to Yellowstone National Park for two weeks in early July, and rejoiced in wearing bug spray, pigtails, and hiking boots everyday.

With that, more Diet Coke.

TRUTH.

This term has been crazy.  No, really.  Any way you put it, since Christmas school has been

mad, insane, batty, wacky, nuts, screwy, cooky, bonkers, daft.

I got back and immediately had an essay due.  After that, I had to finish whipping my applications into shape and edit my writing samples.  Next, a 5000 word essay worth 100% of my grade in my Issues module.  Now? A research proposal for my Research Methods course, which is also the cherry on top of my applications.  I’m trying to get it up to scratch so that I get funding.  There are up to eight Durham Doctoral Scholarships and 250 applicants.  Ouch.  And it’s the only funding I can apply for here as an overseas student.  So, that means I have roughly a 3% chance of getting funding.  Ooof.  And on top of this, the regular reading and classes (though, to be fair, my Issues classes are done, and in RMR I only have the daunting Dialogue Day –presenting a paper in a pseudo-conference atmosphere).  Now, before Easter break, I have to come up with a research essay topic and meet with my essay supervisor and finish another 3000 word essay.

I don’t have time for a proper post, but I wanted to update any regular readers on what’s been going on.  On the bright side, Alicia (who has a new fashion blog!!!) has turned in her Master’s thesis of 101 pages, and my former roomie, Ryan, has passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1 (the highest level of mastery in the Japanese language)!  I’m so proud of them!!!

So, onwards and upwards.  I’ll try to update more regularly, and pictures by me will turn up after break begins, as my camera vanished while I was home for Christmas.  Keep rocking on, just keep swimming, and everything’s gonna be alright.

Above: probably what my room looks like from floor-level because I haven’t yet taken my Issues books back!  Black Death, the Pearl, and the Book of the Duchess, baby!

Media note: The Oscars are this Sunday, and I’m betting on The King’s Speech, Colin Firth, and Christian Bale.  The ceremony’s being taped at home, so it’ll be good fun during break!  Adele has a fantastic new album out, 21, which is her follow-up to the amazing 19 (“Chasing Pavements” is a well-known tune from that album).  Plus, I finished Her Fearful Symmetry and am now reading The Piano Teacher and Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue.  Fun fab fact: Bill Bryson is the chancellor at Durham!  Finally, I’m reading Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida and The Tempest for class.  Hooray for an amazing mix of good music, films, and texts!

It’s a bit late to come out with my resolutions for the new year, but I’ve found that being back in Durham has encouraged me to make some.  I feel most myself when I’m with peers, and I’ve been able to see myself clearly in the past week or so.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2011.  Some are silly, some are serious, and some are things I need to put into writing to cement them in my life.

  • More color!  Whether it’s nail polish, lipstick, or a bit of teal eyeliner, I want to incorporate more color into my daily life.  No fuss, but more fun.  Like Chanel Mademoiselle lipstick.  I had been coveting it for months before finally purchasing it in Dallas right before I came back to the UK.  You may recognize it from the amazing adverts with Vanessa Paradis.  It’s a gorgeous pinky beige, and it’s definitely an improvement over my usual lip balm.  Nail polish is another type of color I would like to use more.  I recently got Nails Inc. polish in Denim as a gift, and so I will use it along with my typical and sporadic use of Chanel Particuliere, a perfect taupey grey.  (Yes, I know.  I seem to have a Chanel fetish going by this post, but these two cosmetics I languished over for months before budgeting and purchasing.  I’m a sucker for a really good quality neautralish and everyday wearable product!)
  • Get out of the house at least five times per week to study somewhere else.  I get way too distracted in my room, and so studying in the library or at a friend’s house is much better for me and for my work.  There is also usually the added perk of being near a printer, which is super handy for getting articles which otherwise may float to the back of my mind and never surface in my research again.
  • Get enough sleep every night.  I have the talent?  Ability?  Work ethic?  Misfortune? of getting into “the zone” when I’m working on an assignment and not noticing the time.  One evening I worked steadily after dinner (about 7:00ish) until 3:30 AM.  AM!!!  I didn’t stop to look at the clock, and completely lost track of the time.  I am hoping the resolve to work out of my room will lead to more productivity during the day, and therefore, less pressure at night.
  • Finish my essays on time without stress AND with enough time to revise with a peer or, if possible, a professor.  Unfortunately, I only have a handful of essays, and some of them are the one shot I have at my grade.  It’s added pressure I think the MA programs in the States usually avoids because of the longer duration of program and greater variety of classes for one’s degree.  The one year time crunch means I need to be vigilant.
  • Be more easygoing about going out.  I’m in England, for gosh sakes!  I should enjoy what the country and the city have to offer.  Pubs, conferences, nightclubs…  I need to take advantage of it all.  Even though I am not looking forward to going to Klute next week, which has been dubbed “the worst nightclub in Europe” and is known for “quaddy-voddies” (quadruple vodka shots, which, from what I hear, is as bad as it sounds), I should go.  When else will I get the opportunity?
  • Be more stringent with my gym schedule, and on days when I can’t fit anything else in, do yoga in my room.  At least a sun salutation.  The college food is heavy on all the things I dislike: potatoes, carrots, gravy, red meat, salt.  Therefore, I have to take care of my diet as best I can outside college dining and in my activity.  (Though my legs are getting super toned due to the freaking hills around town!  After being back in Durham for a week, my butt feels it!)
  • Correspond more.  Skype, letters, emails, Facebook.  I need to do more of it all.  AIM, I think, tends to take up too much time, so I need to relax by writing more thoughtful correspondences to those I truly miss and care about: my friends and pseudo-family in Minnesota and Seattle.
  • And as always, I need to remind myself how grateful I am for my family, friends, education, and life.  I need to learn all I can both in the classroom and from my friends.  I need to stop worrying about time, which goes all too quickly, and carpe diem.

All experiences of life seems to prove that the impediments thrown in the way of the human advancement may for the most part be overcome by steady good conduct, honest zeal, activity, perseverance and above all, by a determined resolution to surmount.  –Samuel Smiles

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.