The exam went fine, thanks for asking. I suppose I could have written more, but it was late, and I was tired. Quinlan was cool about the paper, so I think I'm all right in that regard. Of course, it's too short, but he's said before that he'd rather people go under rather than over, or too few sources rather than too many. Seriously, can I have all my classes with him?
I have to write a 3-5 page paper for Crunk--a critical review of my own writing style. I'll post that here when I'm done (under a cut--good God) just in case you're curious to see what that entails. Put it this way: I've had to do it before, as an undergrad, and the second semester I wrote one, I titled it "Portfolio 2: Electric Boogaloo." It's not as dry as it sounds.
Couldn't sleep for shit last night, as previously stated. Ended up reading Heaney's Beowulf at 4 in the morning. I bought it my first semester as a grad--I have a bad habit of buying books on other classes' reading lists--but I never got around to reading it. I remember how it came out when I was in undergrad, and how we'd read some really crusty translation in the Brit lit survey. Heaney's translation--and remember, I just took an exam on his original poetry--is curious, in that it's at once really smooth to read, really easy to understand, and yet... somehow... lacking in places. I read a few lines of Tolkien's translation that Vladimir sent to me and--I like it better. I like the flavor better. I feel like Heaney's is good to read first, so you understand what's going on, and maybe good to have at your side while you read the crustier version, but...
Wait, here we go--I still have Vladimir's comparison in my Yahoo email:
Time passed away. On the tide floated
under bank their boat. In her bows mounted
brave men blithely. Breakers turning
spurned the shingle. Splendid armour
they bore aboard, in her bosom piling
well-forged weapons, then away thrust her
to voyage gladly valiant-timbered.
She went then over wave-tops, wind pursued her,
fleet, foam-throated like a flying bird;
and her curving prow on its course waded,
till in due season on the day after
those seafarers saw before them
shore-cliffs shimmering and sheer mountains
wide capes by the waves: to water's end
the ship had journeyed. Then ashore swiftly
they leaped to land, lords of Gothland,
bound fast their boat. Their byrnies rattled,
grim gear of war. God thanked they then
that their sea-passage safe had proven.
Time went by, the boat was on water,
in close under the cliffs.
Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank,
sand churned in surf, warriors loaded
a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear
in the vessel's hold, then heaved out,
away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
Over the waves, with the wind behind her
and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird
until her curved prow had covered the distance
and on the following day, at the due hour,
those seafarers sighted land,
sunlit cliffs, sheer crags
and looming headlands, the landfall they sought.
It was the end of their voyage and the Geats vaulted
over the side, out on the sand,
and moored their ship. There was a clash of mail
and a thresh of gear. They thanked God
for that easy crossing on a calm sea.
Okay, I admit that some of the syntax in the Tolkien version seems needlessly tortuous ("On the tide floated under bank their boat"). On the other hand, compare "sunlit cliffs" to "shore-cliffs shimmering." Still, I like how Heaney begins the poem ("Hwaet!") with "So." "So," period. That's awesome in a strange kind of way.
Christmas vacation, as it tends to be, is Bookapalooza over here--I finally get to catch up on my reading, because not only do I have the time, but I actually get new things to read. (You'd be surprised how many things a library doesn't have.) Last year I tore through the entire Lemony Snicket and His Dark Materials series, a couple of Harry Potters (rereads), Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and (I think?) a few Alison Weir bios. (If you love reading about history and/or old-school English royalty, I cannot recommend Weir highly enough. She's written tons about Henry VIII and/or Elizabeth, and her Eleanor of Aquitaine is a little man-centered, but also excellent. I basically wrote on my Christmas list, "Anything by Alison Weir that I do not already have.") Oh, and a ton of picture books--I love illustrated fairytales, and last year I got a boatload of Kinuko Crafts and Trina Schart Hymans. Lovely. Oh, and now that I think about it, I got the Alan Lee/Brian Froud rerelease of Faeries, the new Annotated Hobbit... you see where I'm going with this. Also, it ought to tell you a lot that I'm really stoked about the LOTR Weapons and Warfare book. (If it makes you think better of me, I used to be really into true crime. Lots of John Douglas and serial-killer type stuff. Isn't it better for society, really, that I've now got the reading list of an SCA refugee?) So I'll be providing a few quick book reports this year, now that I've got the journal/SAST. This year looks like it's going to bring a lot of Neil Gaiman, some more Weir if I'm lucky, some more Philip Pullman, some more Alan Moore, and that Griffin and Sabine series I've wanted to read for so long. Fun stuff.
Over at SAST, because I am a link whore: new Johnny Depp pics; "Tom Cruise" invites me to go see "The Last Samauri"; tasty Peter Pan pics; cameo ideas for The Hobbit; what you get for the Lovecraft fan who has everything; get your "Legolas Dies" and "Frodo Is My Babydaddy" t-shirts while there's still time.
Icon of the Day: This is not the soda you are looking for...