Is it really already February 19th? Where on earth has Hilary Term gone? Today begins the 6th week of term, which is a bit stressful. At the end of this week, I have to submit essay titles for my B and C courses, in addition to a 200 word abstract of my dissertation. For my B Course (Paleography), I’m planning to look at the rewriting of Old English in the 12th Century, specifically at one particular manuscript in Oxford (MS Wadham 11) and see hwo this manuscript preserves and alters the Old English tradition through Middle English glosses. For my C Course…well, I don’t have a clear idea yet. My C Course is on Middle English Literary Language, so I’ve been studying Chaucer through a linguistic lens (fascinating stuff, really). There are so many topics that I’d love to explore – the use of dialect as a character, the play of enigmatic language when discussing authority in texts, the alliterative poetry revival, etc. I’m leaning more towards exploring the alliterative poetry revival, specifically Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Watch this space, though. I’m so excited to begin writing my dissertation, though. The idea is really coming together now – I’m exploring the tension between word and image in the Junius manuscript, specifically in demon illustrations. I don’t want to give away my argument right now, but I’m very, very, very excited to start. Basically, this dissertation will be a cross between art history and literature, and both disciplines will feature as respective chapters in the dissertation before I bring them together in the final one. It should be interesting. I’m scheduled to consult various manuscripts at Cambridge, the British Library, and a few other places. I’m also preparing for my Paleography exam that is scheduled to take place in two weeks. Ack.
In addition to academics, life continues to go well, despite the busy schedule. Dean and I competed with OUDC at the Sheffield Social on February 4th.
Frankly, it wasn’t the best that we’ve ever competed. We were out quite quickly out of the Latin rounds. We came back with a strong performance in the Team Match (basically a dance relay – four couples will dance one of four dances), but overall, it wasn’t a good day for Oxford. We lost for the first time in 25 years to Cambridge and Imperial. Ouch. Despite our low spirits, we managed to play in the snow on the six hour long coach ride back.
We also competed at SUDC, which is the South University Dancesport Championship. The competition was yesterday, and I think I still have gel in my hair. Oxford rallied back with a strong performance on all accounts. Personally, it was the best that Dean and I have ever danced in ballroom. We made it to the semis with a brand new waltz routine, and we were delighted with those results. Our Latin was also much stronger than it was two weeks ago, which is encouraging on all accounts for the nationals in two weeks. Oxford also had a very strong day. Despite some weird placing in the Intermediate Latin event (seriously, it was a tad odd), Oxford managed to place second to Cambridge…BY ONE POINT. We weren’t too dismayed since it was just by a point, but still. Also, Neil Jones and Ekaterina (who are the current World and International Amateur Latin Champions) were the demo couple, so it really was a fantastic day.
Looking ahead, this week is quite busy. In addition to all of the school work, I have another dance competition this weekend. I also have a dinner with PD James, who is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s. And, as a bonus, one of my very good friends from Holy Cross, Tom McGlynn, is visiting me on Wednesday. Tom is currently a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, and he’s visiting his cousin in London for his winter break. I’m excited to see him and show him around my new home.
Until next time!
Colleen Curran '11