Second Year: Semester One

By Issy Goode - 21:28

So here I am, almost at the end of 2013, half way through my time at Keele. I've made it to (almost) the end of my first semester of second year having met my deadlines and so far achieved mostly 2:1's and a cheeky little first.

I just thought I'd talk a little bit more about my degree - particularly my modules. This isn't something I do often on my blog, so let me know if you'd like to hear more about my studies!

If you don't know, I study English and American Literature, and I have quite a wide range of modules to choose from, so this year I did my compulsory modules, called Victorian Performances (English Lit) and Romance of Fiction (American Lit) and decided to go for a film module, French Cinema, a media and communications module, Teenage Dreams and finally another American Lit module based around religion called Burning Crosses.

This semester has by far been my favourite lot of modules, I enjoyed Burning Crosses and Teenage Dreams so much that I barely even noticed I was doing 5 modules instead of the usual 4 this semester. 

So onto what I thought of them:

Victorian Performances pained me to say the least. I'm not a fan of the Victorian era of writers. The plays and sonnets seemed to just drag on. I was interested by the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and that's about as far as it goes for my enjoyment in this module! I've still got a seen exam ahead of me in January and only recently did my other 2 assessments for the module; an individual presentation and an adaptation exercise. My presentation was terrifying, they're terrifying enough in a group but this individual one saw me shaking away. I had to do it on Arthur Hugh Clough's Amours de Voyage, and it's written in such a complicated way (for someone who isn't a fan of Victorian writing anyway) that I really struggled to know what to analyse. I managed to whip up 3 minutes (out of a possible 5 minute time slot) worth of rambling and am awaiting my grade...I don't have exceptionally high hopes but my fingers are crossed for at least a 2:2! 

For the adaptation exercise we had to use one of the texts we'd studied and turn it into what ever we wanted. We could change genre, we could write it into a modern day piece, or keep it Victorian and make it into a play, novel, dramatic monologue, sonnet...basically, the possibilities were endless. I decided to take Sonnet 43 from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets From the Portuguese and adapt it into the final chapter of a drama novel about a woman in love with brother gave me the idea to do this and honestly, it's pretty weird. 

Sonnet 43
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can read, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light
I love thee freely, as men strive for right
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lose saints. I love thee with the breadth,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

If you'd like a read of my 1000 word adaptation do let me know!

Romance of Fiction was mainly made brilliant by my lecturer, Ian Bell, who is such a great lecturer. All the texts were quite interesting and I particularly liked the Edgar Allen Poe texts we studied. I chose to do my short paper on the theme of mortality within Masque of the Red Death managing a satisfying 2:1. I've got an unseen exam to tackle in January, so that should be fun!

Burning Crosses was one of my favourite modules, once again made more enjoyable by my lecturer, James Peacock. We studied many texts themed around religion, and I really liked most of the authors on this modules. The section on 'The Beats' was brilliant studying Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and their Buddhist beliefs. We had to do an annotated bibliography as a group in preparation for a group presentation in week 11, both of which we got a 2:1 in. We also studied an image called 'Piss Christ' which was a really interesting and controversial topic which I hope to focus on in the unseen exam next year!

My other favourite module was Teenage Dreams. I'd highly recommend this module to anyone. It's all about subcultures and is so interesting and enjoyable to study. Even my essays were enjoyable to write, talking about Trainspotting, The Who, mods and rockers. I got a first in my short paper and recently handed in my 2,500 essay which I hope to do just as well in!

Finally, French Cinema. I love studying films as I was a big fan of media at A level and always excelled in it (humble brag). Going for French Cinema was definitely a little different but we got to study all sorts of films, such as Romance, Amelie and Entre Les Murs. Romance was pretty racey whilst Amelie is just a brilliant film, definitely worth watching if you haven't already! I got 2:1's in my presentation and sequence analysis and have an essay to do for next year.

It's been a pretty whirlwind semester, starting off with far too much drinking, ending with the desire to sleep for days at a time. My brother came up for a visit in my final week and we both arrived home on Sunday. I've had the lovely treat of returning to work desperate to earn some money during the nice and busy Christmas period.

There ain't no rest for the wicked I suppose.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas!

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