You’ll notice that Stuck In A Book (aka me) is dressed a little differently today. Indeed, he is in full academic regalia. Tomorrow my Finals begin, and will continue until the 23rd May, so I wanted to warn my regular readers – entries will be a little sporadic. In fact, if the perculiarities of the Oxford English Language and Literature Examinations hold little interest for you, it would be better to avoid this page for a week or so. Don’t worry, I shan’t mind.
And now let’s play a little game, with the sketch. Can you spot the mistake? Other than that I appear to have become left-handed (oops). Or that there are only two pieces of paper. Or various inaccuracies of perspective. Or… Ok, the ‘mistake’ I’m talking about is the mortar board (or ‘cap’ if you’re feeling in the mood for a bit of vernacular) – in Oxford, it is STRICTLY PROHIBITED to wear these items before graduation. Indeed, there is a fine of £35 to be paid, if a student is seen committing such a heinous offence. But here’s the catch – we HAVE to have them in the exam hall – indeed, we are not permitted entry unless we clutch it in our nervous little hands. I daresay it would be an enormous distraction, should I glance up from my papers and notice the lack of a mortar board around me, so it all makes sense.
And the gown. Yes, not a Scholar’s gown, I’m afraid (I didn’t get a distinction in first year… if only I hadn’t referred to Kristeva as a man) but those funny dangly bits are indeed there. Various rumours exist as to their original purpose – my favourite is that they are to hold shillings, for busking students. Seems unlikely, as they couldn’t possibly perform that task. The dangly bits, not the students – I’m sure the students could busk.
Anyway, enough about the uniform (which, to disobey that injunction immediately, we voted last year to keep). I’ll give a quick mention of the exams I have, and when I have them, so that you can have a vague idea of what it is an English student does – and return for those days you find particularly interesting.
Monday – Shakespeare
Tuesday – Middle English
Wednesday – 1740-1832 (which we call ‘Romantic’, but shouldn’t)
Thursday – 1509-1642 (Renaissance)
Friday – 1642-1740 (Restoration)
the following Wednesday – Middle English commentary
And that’s your lot. They’ve sneakily turned Middle English into two papers, so that the optional thesis I did last September can’t eradicate both of them. I.e. my final grade will be influenced by Middle English, whether I like it or not…
So, yes, I shall keep posting – but I’m afraid it’ll only be updates on the topics I wrote about, and so forth. Luckily that’s still quite bookish.