After a relaxing three weeks in America, I’m back in England. I arrived about a week and a half ago, and there was luckily no snow (please compare this advantageous effect to my last arrival in England in January 2010. Not a pretty sight). Classes and lectures began on Monday, but prior to that, I had a Crusader visitor:
One of my best friends from Holy Cross, Bill, arrived last Friday. Bill is currently living in Turkey as a Fullbright English Teaching Assistant at Canakkale University. This was the first time that Bill and I had seen each other since Graduation in May, nearly eight months ago.
I showed Bill around London – Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, the British Museum, Buckingham Palace, etc.
Of course, his five day visit included visiting some of Oxford’s finest pubs for dinner. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think I want to eat bangers and mash ever again in my life. His five day visit flew by, unfortunately.
Since I no longer have a visitor, I’m back to my studying, dancing, and tea-consuming intensive life-style. This term is going to be the most busy – my workload has literally quadrupled, and I have a dance competition every weekend starting February 4th through March 5th. One entire month of fake tan = a very unnaturally orange Colleen. Although there’s a lot of work ahead, I’m really excited about what I’m studying this term. My Paleography class continues to be my favorite, and I’m working with a new manuscript every single week (as in, actually touching said manuscript). In 8th week, I have a Paleography exam, in which I have to identify a manuscript’s hand (script) and date based upon either linguistic features or just the handwriting. I also have to write a Paleography essay – right now, I just cannot decide on a topic. I’m currently leaning toward the re-writing of Old English in the early Middle English period, but we’ll see how long it takes me to change my mind…five times. For my elective course, I’m taking Middle English Literary Language, which is fascinating. I’m personally interested in the transitional period between Old and Middle English, particularly as displayed in post-Conquest Old English manuscripts. This course has been an immersion into dialects, vocabulary, lexicon, etc., but it’s also been intriguing. And, of course, the dissertation is always on the back burner. I’m working on the interrelationship between word and image in the Junius manuscript, particularly if there’s any Carolingian influence. That’s not due until June 11th, but my advisor told me that I should be finished with my first draft by the start of Trinity term. Erm. Hello, libraries.
In other really exciting news, I’m spending Easter in Vercelli, Italy, as a funded researcher at the Archivo Capitalore. I’m really excited since I’ll be able to work with their collection of Old English manuscripts. One of my primary interests is the transmission and reception of Old English manuscripts (secular or religious) on the Continent, so this is really the starting point of my dissertation research for next year (yes, I have to write two dissertations). So, in addition to brushing up on my Old English and Norse, it looks like I’ll have to learn a bit of Italian.