Hi everyone. I hope the dog days of summer aren’t getting you down. I wanted to call attention to the second installment of the podcast episodes that came out of this class. In the latest episode of Et in Arcadia Ego, Nneka Udechukwu talks about mountaintop removal and the pastoral. You can click here to download/listen to an episode, or you can find it over on iTunes.
Give it a listen, leave some feedback, and keep on thinking about pastoral!
ENG 230 folks: I hope everyone’s first week of freedom is going well. I’m still in the process of filling out final grades. More to follow soon. In the meantime, enjoy the first new episode of Et in Arcadia Ego. Tim Hanner from our class talks with me about Asian carp and the problem of invasive species.
Click on the link to listen to and download an episode. There you can also download in iTunes and any other podcast software or smartphone platform. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. The other episodes are soon to follow. Spread the word! Let’s see how many people can listen to this podcast.
Also, major kudos to Lauren Tincher, who not only came up with a great post on the closing of the school in Detroit, but also wrote “The New Rage – Chicken Hair,” a post that’s gone viral in the last week! It’s received over 800 page views.
Remember everyone that the real course evaluation is to be completed online. The University of Kentucky should have sent a link to your e mail box. Be sure to complete this, but in addition, I’m interested in hearing from you guys about your experience with researching, blogging, writing online, gathering information with social media, etc. A recent article in the Seattle Times talks about the new generation of college students who are perhaps not “slackers” or “dumb” as we might suspect, but instead simply overwhelmed with information. Is this your experience?
Feel free to leave some comments below regarding your stance on this and your interactions with information in the class.
Better late than never, here are your weekend announcements.
1. First essays. I have finally finished grading the first formal essay. You should have received an e mail with a copy attached with grade and comments. Please let me know if you have any questions about the essays. However, the goal is that you can take some of the principles learned from the first essay and apply them to the second. Things like close reading, establishing a microcosmic-macrocosmic relationship, and integrating a They Say, I Say structure are important maneuvers.
2. Final essays. Remember that I have extended the deadline for the final essay. It will be due to me via e mail by the end of the day on Wednesday, June 8 (11:59 PM). Let me know if you have any questions before that deadline arrives.
3. Final exam. I’ve posted the study guide to the final exam on the website. Be sure to take note of it, and as always, raise questions before the exam. We’ll spend some time in class tomorrow talking about the structure of the exam if needed.
4. Final free-form article checkpoint. Remember that tomorrow is the final deadline for free-form articles. At the end of the day, all contributed free form articles will not “count” toward the grade average.
5. Podcast for extra credit. It’s still not too late to propose a podcast episode and schedule a recording with me. The option is still there, if anyone wants to take advantage.
6. “Midterm” grade report. Tomorrow I will finally hand out an assessment of where your grade is. Again, better late than never. I will say more about it in class.
This post is just a friendly reminder that we’ll be having our final exam in class on June 7 (the last day of the semester). Fortunately, I’m providing a study guide to help us along the way. The exam format will resemble that of your midterm, with several exceptions. In addition to free-standing quotation identification sections, you’ll be asked to briefly sketch out the interpretative consequences of critical perspectives on the texts we’ve read by answering multiple choice questions. If you’d like, we can go over a sample in class. Continue reading →
On Friday, we’re going to be watching parts of the Robert Zemeckis film, Back to the Future (1985). Lately, the 1980s have been on a lot of people’s minds for a lot of reasons. Think about what was happening in our country, the world, and in our culture that could have caused anxieties about the distance between the past and the hope for a future. In order to prepare for Friday’s class, you may want to read about Reaganomics, the savings and loan crisis, the Cold War, and the films of John Hughes.
We are heading down the stretch run of this course time wise, but we still have a lot of work to do. Please keep in mind the following information as we approach the last full (almost) week of our class.
No class on Monday: It’s an academic holiday (Memorial Day), so we will take the day off!
Conferences: Everyone signed up for conferences while taking the exam on Friday. In case you forgot, here’s the schedule:
Tuesday, May 31 – 3:30 PM Lauren Tincher
Wednesday, June 1 – 2:00 PM Rachel Ballard, 2:30 PM, Margaret Carey, 3:00 PM Chris Barlow, 3:30 PM Nneka Udechukua, 4:00 PM Tim Hanner
In past years and semesters I have launched and produced a podcast called Et in Arcaida Ego. This podcast is available on iTunes and can be subscribed to through any number of sources and platforms across the web. The goal is to have interesting, intellectually stimulating conversation about any issue of culture that in some ways alludes to pastoral themes, tensions, or motifs. It’s been a long time since I’ve recorded an episode, and past topics have included attitudes toward the death of the printed newspaper, organic food, and attitudes toward the Clinton administration. We talk about books, films, music, and any other topics of interest. Continue reading →
Here are some questions to keep in mind when reading Walden.
Thoreau’s Walden marks our transition from British literature to the American literary tradition. We have finally arrived at Leo Marx’s assertion that pastoral works in English literature, like The Tempest, are precursors to the same concerns, desires, tensions, and challenges that typify the American experience. Continue reading →
William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience is a series of poems that dramatizes the fundamental pastoral movement we have seen in many of our texts: the journey from a world of innocence to a reality of experience. Each “song of innocence” has a companion “song of experience.” Blake is a poet who believed that “without contraries there is no progression,” and these poems, according to Blake, show contrary states of the human soul.
How do these poems show progress? What tensions to they hold against each other? What is the difference between one of Blake’s songs of innocence and his songs of experience? Continue reading →
Tomorrow, we’ll be making yet another transition into a Renaissance function for pastoral: expressing vocational authority. Before (or maybe after) reading Milton, take a look at the first stanza of Spenser’s epic poem, The Faerie Queene. (Read Wikipedia if you’ve never heard of this epic).
Spenser’s 1st stanza in The Faerie Queene
Lo I the man, whose Muse whylome did maske,
As time her taught, in lowly Shephards weeds,
Am not enforst a farre vnfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds:
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds,
Whose praises hauing slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broade emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song. Continue reading →