While I'm busy doing frantic last minute writing and editing and cutting and re-writing and deleting and footnoting and formatting and re-rewriting to my thesis, and therefore CLEARLY will not be on livejournal tomorrow, I would like to direct my readers' attention to this rather wonderful little snippet:
commonplacebook (during a discussion about zany NaNoWriMo tactics):
Maybe I'll adapt Chretien in the style of DeLillo:
The knight rode to the castle. It was nice, this, this riding to the castle. Inside the castle smelled of what? He could smell the immutable mysteries, old socks, women's Haines undergarments, all the frangible incense of huge vastnesses beyond him, this castle, this kingdom. Like castles held the religious impulse, held the clatter and echo of blood-rusted swords unavailable now.
He heard King Arthur and the Queen.
What? Arthur said.
I feel so I don't know, she said.
Sir Kay, he's so, you know, brittle.
She said, I feel like I need something else.
I say one thing and he pops off.
I feel like the castle isn't enough, like all the stones can't hold the caroming of this immense desire, this need to feel the blood, you know, the fucking pulse.
I don't know, Arthur said. Are you all right, Guin?
You should be more, what's the word I want, more accommodating to Sir Kay, she said.
Perhaps adapting myth into post-modern Western novelistic prose is my way forward, since I seem to be able to string sentences together with moderate facility (although I'm not a patch on commonplacebook, whom you should all read, incidentally) but can't tell a good story for the life of me. After all, if your sources are Classical, then it's not plagiarism, it's intellectual literary reference.
I didn't manage to sleep until 5am last night, and after yvesilena's 8.30am wake-up call I fell asleep again for an hour. However, other than that today has been reasonably productive: I had a useful conversation this morning, spent some time doing emotion-sorting visualisation techniques in the shower to try to help me focus on work this week, and I finally overcame my fear of the UL enough to actually go inside, find some books and read them. It was much harder than it sounds, trust me. I've had a two-sided reading list for my thesis sitting in my bag for the last three weeks, and every time I've tried to go to the UL I've been waylaid by anxiety, and ended up in the Classics faculty library, Divinity, or even Sainsburys, or just walking past rather than up the steps, and going home again. I'm terrified of it. Today was the first time in three years at Cambridge I've actually gone inside. I filled out the form for computer access, ascertained that I can withdraw books with my university card, and realised I didn't have £1 for a (compulsory) locker - but the library staff let me leave my bag at the desk, so that was alright. And I made notes on three books, got out five more including two I've been trying to get hold of for ages, and generally felt industrious and scholarly.
It's beautiful inside. It reminds me of museums, all marble and high ceilings, but with an essential Britishness to it; all the books hardbacked and dust-jacketless (occasionally including the glossy paperback cover a few pages in), men in shapeless green cardigans and dog collars (I was in the Religion section), the dim sunlight in the South Wing making the spines harder and harder to read the deeper you go. I found vast quantities of books that would have been tremendously helpful to my thesis if only I'd discovered them a fortnight ago, but it's entirely my own fault for not getting up the nerve to explore earlier. After three hours, however, the lack of caffeine (or, in fact, any liquid at all, as they don't let you have even closed bottles of water) was beginning to tell on me, so I went over the road to Clare, where my friend Aleks fed me about five cups of strong black coffee in rapid succession, and we talked about Venice.
After another hours' work to finish the book I was on, I came home to collect the library books that were due back at the Classics faculty, and pick up some money so I could photocopy some articles, but the lack of sleep and caffeine overdose have caught up with me and I didn't end up going back. I've effectively taken the last two hours' off, answering emails, doing a final edit on my entry for the college writing competition (and huge thanks to the_lady_lily, smhwpf, ixwin and romauld for your comments; if I win, I'll buy you each a drink) and spending time on Useful Things like this interview meme from thedivineoliver:
( work:masturbation? )
( classics? pretention? surely not! )
( relative-escaping )
( REAL MEN DRINK REAL BEER )
( philosophical bollocks )
If you really want questions, shout. But only if you're going to answer them. Post them in your own journal, etc; you know the drill.
- You know you're
working too harda ClassicistGEEK when you catch yourself reading londonpolybis as "London Polybius". I dread to think.
- I am required by the laws of humour to pimp secretly_pope, the Very Secret LJ of Pope Benedict XVI.
libellum: Am Pope! Yay! However, still not Emperor.
amberspyglass: Arinze will kill me if I try anything ...
baranoouji: ... Pervy poor-fancier that he is.
11 600 words. Approximately 8 500 of them actually almost useable. I'm averaging 14 hours' work a day, and it's not going fast enough but considering my deadline that's unsurprising, and although I won't be able to go to the UL as I'd planned tomorrow (I wouldn't have time to write up any of my reading, and am better off editing what I've got) I will actually be able to email something to my supervisor before going to the_lady_lily's celebrations in the evening.
- Also there will be a yiskah, for which much Yay.
- As well as no belongings, I have no food in this house. I'm currently living on: sandwiches made from white bread and salt 'n' vinegar crisps, bananas, and tea.
- Mainly this entry is an excuse to show off my new icon. What's the matter lagerboy, scared you might TASTE SOMETHING?
- Man, when this thing is handed in, I'm having a really big drink.
Pervo, Richard I. 1987. Profit with Delight: The Literary Genre of the Acts of the Apostles, Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
I was intending to skim this for the relevant references and move on, but the guy has me completely hooked with his writing style. No doubt his dark sarcasm arises from the fact that Mr and Mrs Pervo saw fit to christen him "Dick". I'm only on chapter 2 and it's brilliant. It's not "popular scholarship" - as far as I can tell it's a rigorous academic discussion - but it is peppered with energetic re-tellings and cynical asides. A few choice morsels:
On "Luke the Historian": "Crisply put, Luke was well intentioned but dumb."
On historiography in Acts to account for the apparent divergences from Luke's gospel: "This solution is perhaps logical enough, but the basis for it is a bit more fragile than the quavering crust of learned consensus might indicate." (Quavering crust of learned consensus . Ooh, how much would I love to call my supervisors that.)
On Acts 19: "Who caused the riot at Ephesus? Pagan trash, agitated by aggrieved pagan craftsmen. Where was Paul? Sipping sherry with the high priests of the imperial cult." (Ha HA. So true.)
On the persecution of Paul and the apostles: "Popular literature often reflects the self-understanding of immature people, people of any age who see themselves as constant victims, who assign their problems to the machinations of others. This is the essential world view of the adolescent, but there are many unwilling to forsake it in later years." (Not that you were bullied in high school, Mr Pervo - oh no, not at all.)
There will no doubt be more :)