On Tuesday I started my 3 week Mayterm class at UD. The title? Shakespeare’s Later Plays.
Yesterday’s class was okay. We discussed Act 1 of Othello and cautiously felt out each other’s personalities, stopping only for a 15 minute coffee break and a reading of the syllabus (6 shorter papers plus the 15 page final one! BOY do I have my work cut out for me!). The best part of the day, however, was when I ran into my professor from Medieval Lit, who said that she’d just gotten done with my paper from this last semester. Her critique: she disagreed with my thesis, but thought the paper was excellently written.
Okay, I can live with that! I’d hate to be bad at writing papers, you know, since that’s what I TEACH. It’s nice to shake off the “OMG this is my first grad school paper!!” jitters. Plus I researched and wrote it in a week.
But today’s class…….oh man. It was awesome. I was riveted for all 3 hours. It was like Torrey all over again, only better. To clarify, this class was not better than all Torrey sessions. But it was better than all of my Torrey sessions on Shakespeare. Come to think of it, it was also better than all of my English classes on Shakespeare. The reason, I believe, is that it was a class full of grad students who were English majors AND had read of UD’s core curriculum as Undergrads. They have a thorough knowledge of all the Great Works of Literature that we read in Torrey (one girl even said that she re-translated the first 6 books of the Metamorphoses for a paper she just wrote) which helps when you’re pretty sure Shakespeare was influenced by most of them.
So for 3 hours we discussed, with the professor offering very little interference. In fact, when he wasn’t acting as the moderator he was just as excited as the rest of us to be reading and discovering themes in Othello. Sure, we bounced around a little bit too much for my liking. But it’s our second day, and I could already hear that we were listening to and building upon each other’s viewpoints. Everyone was excited. In fact, I talked Jesse’s ear off for an hour when I got home. Suddenly $700 for this class seems like a bargain!
And guess what. Not once did we discuss Racism. Or Feminist Empowerment. Or Queer Theory. Despite the fact that’s OTHELLO.
It was as if we were all saying, “MODERN LITERARY CRITICISM BE DAMNED!!!WE’RE CLASSICISTS!!!”
There. Now I am going to go read King Lear. I can’t wait for tomorrow.