Saturday, December 6, 2008

canon fodder

It's true that we're in New York, but it's less true that we have other things to do, so I will take a few minutes to outline the goal of the Literary Iditarod:

I graduated from college in 2007, and now I have a job that I enjoy, but at some point I want to go to grad school so that I can feel like a more accomplished human being. I'd like to get a Ph.D in English, but right now I don't think that I have read widely enough either to do well on the lit GRE or to be sure of what I would like to study. Since I wrote my thesis on Troilus and Cressida, I tend to think I'd focus on the Renaissance, but I don't want to make any big decisions until I have a more thorough background in Western lit (Fiona wants to make me a t-shirt that says "CANON FODDER").

If I'd spent four years at Reed, I could've taken Humanities 210 and 220 and I would feel a lot better about all of this. But having transferred there as a junior, I had to narrow my focus pretty much immediately, and I never got what I would consider a solid foundation.

My former thesis advisor suggested that I spend some time catching up before I apply to graduate school, so Fiona and I put together a rough list of what I should read, and now we are starting with Beowulf. I read the first half of it on the bus coming up here. More on Beowulf shortly.

If you have suggestions about works that might prove useful for taking the literature GRE, or if you just have ideas about What Every English Major Should Have Read, please do contribute to our list. Or just talk to us about books. We're pretty nerdy that way.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I just took the lit GRE. I haven't gotten my scores yet, but I'd still strongly recommend the Princeton Review Study guide. It gives you a list of works guaranteed to be on the test and those that are very likely. I crammed for a week and could definitely identify a lot of works I'd never read before preping for the test.