Saturday, August 19, 2006

Uni work

The first hump of assignments is over and the next lot (all worth around 50% each) are due in October. If i count it in days rather than weeks maybe they'll seem longer away... The History assignment is being handed back on Monday which should give an indication of what I'll need to do for the essay. It's never a warming sign though when they announce the hand-back date and at the same time say that they are so far generally disatisified with the quality of work they've read. Ah well.... So, in the meantime, I've spent the past week trying to catch up on some of my reading. I've read all my Arthurian Lit. bar Mallory (which I can leave for a while as the assignment is on the French texts only and the exam is on Mallory and the English perspective). I always find it interesting reading related texts and being able to draw conclusions at the end of it all. Like Chretien's Knight of the Cart feels strange because Lancelot is so emasculated for the sake of love. I mean this guy is stark raving bonkers and utterly pussy-whipped. You can't help but wonder if Chretien intended it that way... Like there's a scene where Lancelot bends back the iron bars from Guinevere's windows with his bare hands - slicing his fingers, to the bone on one, and then knows 'great bliss' in her embrace. The next morning he escapes, bends the bars back and returns to his room. It's only then he notices that he's dripping blood and his hands are fairly munted (a big thing when you're supposed to be a sword wielding champion). But he hasn't felt the pain until now because passionate love has been burning in his heart. What crap! He might have a massive case of the hornies (which I think was a line from My Super Ex-Girlfriend which we saw last night) but bone-exposing flesh wounds are just not worth it!!

It is interesting the way Chretien incorporates the standard emphasis on tournaments and fighting but in this case twists the perspective so that love both ennobles Lancelot and distracts him; also, upon Guinevere's whim he acts like a coward and fights badly because she desires it. [She does come across as something of a bitch]. One can't help but wonder if Chretien intended it as a serious romance or as satire or if he simply got fed up with the whole thing and decided that it just didn't work. He did after all abandon the work with Lancelot locked away in a secret tower (writer's revenge?) and someone else brought the work to its happy conclusion (from which Guinevere seems oddly missing...).

Anyway, I have a couple of articles to read on Women in Nazi Germany and then four books for Adolescent Fiction to attempt to read cover to cover this weekend. [I know, I know, I'm being oddly hopeful.... still, I'll try and get them all read by mid-week and then I can start researching my history essay.]


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