Friday, July 25, 2008

What I'm learning

It's hard to know exactly where you're place is and not be able to be there. I excel at learning: acquiring, analyzing and synthesizing information into significant and useful (sometimes) axioms for life. (Holy cow I just blew my point.) Anyway I'm studying for the Literature in English GRE subject test by listening to a series of lectures on Major Works of Classic British Literature. Here's a sampling of what I've learn:
  • Suriname is in South America.
  • Suriname is also the place where the first significant and respected female British author, Aphra Behn, set her major work of fiction Oroonoko.
  • Aphra Behn was buried in Westminster Abbey. The first author to be buried in Westminster was Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, as much as I would really like to believe, did not spend 6 months travelling with a knight who changed his stars like Heath Ledger did in A Knight's Tale, but he did of course write A Knight's Tale in The Canterbury Tales and is considered the father of English Literature.
  • Shakespeare was also considered a major player in English literature (no surprise), but things might have turned out differently if Kit Marlowe hadn't been killed in a tavern brawl for being a spy. (A: Who said writers were boring? and B: Actually I knew most of that from Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.)
  • Kit Marlowe wrote Dr. Faustus who's last words were "Burn all the books!" (Aak! How scandlous!)
  • After Marlowe and Shakespeare reigned (oh did you know Kit Marlow died in 1593?), drama was pretty much squashed by religion until the Restoration (how Aphra Behn became popular) and the Restoration had a lot of bawdy, bawdy plays including a satirical work--novel, not a play--called, I kid you not, Shamela written by Henry Fielding (yes the author of Tom Jones). It was a parody of Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson.
  • Pamela was a novel, the first novel is Gulliver's Travels which is also political satire and allegory (being a Yahoo or a Hooligan is not a good thing).
I have more. I'm full of random Brit Lit trivia right now which is actually right where I'm supposed to be according to the Princeton Review. I quote: "The GRE Literature in English Subject Test is like a horrible cocktail party full of insufferable poseurs intent on name-dropping while grilling you on trivial gibberish." (I'd do full MLA/APA citation, but I don't really care, google it.) However, that doesn't sounds like a horrible cocktail party as much as a fun challenge so I guess it's good that I have to take this exam.

Though it is slightly ironic that I learned all this by listening and not reading...

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