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Hello all!
This is to confirm the details about the exam that I outlined in the last two classes:
You may bring one letter-sized piece of paper (8 ½ x 11 inches), written on one or both sides, as you wish, into the exam with you. Any font size, colours, margins, etc. Printed or handwritten.
I suggest that at the least you include the titles of our writers and texts and the years in which they were written, and anything else you think you might find useful.
See you all soon!
Dr. J


I misspoke!

[This duplicates an email sent out to your UNB addresses]

In class this past Thursday, I blithely said that you were welcome to listen to music or ambient sound apps if that would help your concentration. One of you just queried me about whether that would be consistent with UNB regulations, so I checked. This is what the regs say:

UNB does not permit the use of personal communication devices during test or exam periods, in particular, devices that could potentially be used to communicate with others while writing an exam, or play back pre-recorded video, sound or text during an exam. Such devices include, but are not limited to, cell phones, pagers, text messaging devices, personal recording devices, PDA’s, personal computers including laptops, certain types of calculators and electronic translators. Using such devices during exams will be considered an academic offense as per Section VII of the University Regulations.

So, I am going to have to amend and/or clarify what I said in class: you are welcome to block out sound with ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones, and you may also listen to music or other sound files on non-Bluetooth, non-wifi-enabled devices (if any of you even have any!) such as older iPods, etc., which use plug-in head-phones. If you want to go this route, try to come a few minutes early and talk to me so that i) we can make sure we are doing our best to be in compliance, and ii) you are covered because you have got my okay. This may be stretching the regulations, but given that you already are allowed a “cheat sheet,” a pre-recorded sound file would hardly be a temptation. But to be safe, have me okay your device and, thus, take on the responsibility should there be any question.

Sorry if this is adding to your stress when I was trying to do the opposite! I guess I got carried away with a vision of you all sitting in a row in the gym, each wrapped in a warm blanket, wearing fuzzy ear-muffs, with steam rising from a thermos in front of you.

Back to the salt mines.


the Samuel Pepys site I showed you, where one entry was posted every day until the whole nine years of the diaries had been published online? Someone did the same for Samuel Johnson’s periodical essays, and here is their rationale:

Samuel Johnson would have a written a great blog.

You can still read Johnson’s essays in book forms – there are countless collections available for your pleasure, and they’re available at any local library that still carries, you know, books. But sitting down to read his essays straight through in book form is really sub-optimal – he jumps from literary criticism of Milton to a fictional story about a landowner to a political rant about Parliament – but it’s perfect for occasional blog reading. It worked as a semi-frequent newspaper column, but it’s terrible as a book.

So: this site posts Samuel Johnson’s essays in the same way his original readers found him – in a semi-frequent way, posted 260 years after Johnson wrote them.

2nd assignment

Marks are posted to D2L and papers will be handed back in class tomorrow (Tuesday).

Here are some points you might have made in your answers on the second assignment. I would not have expected anyone to make all of these points, and there is no “right” answer. Indeed, many of you did well even though you were arguing from a misreading of your chosen poem, because of the quality of your arguments.

Some general points on the Petrarchan sonnet: it was a bit of a trick question, as most English writers did not write Petrarchan sonnets but developed an English tradition based on, but divergent from, the Petrarchan original. So a strict editor, as some of you turned out to be, would have a very slim book. Readers at the time would more than likely have understood the term “Petrarchan sonnet” to mean a traditional love sonnet which followed the convention of the suffering lover and the distant beloved. All of which is to say, there is no right or wrong answer here as to whether or not to include either of the poems.

Shakespeare’s sonnet: This one caused considerable confusion to many of you. Somewhere, the Bard is twirling his moustache and smiling. In a nutshell, the poet/narrator compares his beloved to a housewife who puts down her child to chase after an escaped chicken, ignoring the child’s tears in her effort to catch the bird. We are not told what the beloved is seeking, only that she is interested in something or someone other than the poet and he can only hope that she will return to comfort him once she has found it. The lover is cast in the unflattering role of the crying child, stumbling after its mother. Such a homey, domestic, labouring-class scenario is at odds with the usual tone and imagery of love poetry, and probably strikes many readers as comic, even slapstick, until the anxiety of the desperate child becomes more clear. In this way Shakespeare undercuts the conventions of the genre and gives us something ultimately more moving.

Wroth’s sonnet: This sonnet is the first in her sequence, which one of you elegantly labeled the “origin story.” In it, she sets up her persona as the poet/narrator. Her imagery is more conventional than Shakespeare’s, and she invokes the classical figures of Venus, goddess of love, and her son, Cupid. But her poem is as much of a departure as Shakespeares, though in a different way: by claiming to be “a lover,” as a female subject, and as a female poet. The story is simple: the poet/narrator falls asleep and dreams she sees Venus and Cupid. Venus holds many burning hearts, one of which is largest. This one she holds to the poet’s chest and orders her son to shoot his dart, which he does. The poet wakes, hoping it was all a dream, but discovers she is “a lover.” Until this point, this had been a largely masculine role, so here lies the disruption of the poem. Notable is the way in which being in love is depicted: it is violent and painful, and the poet/narrator does not welcome it. This is part of the Petrarchan tradition: love as an affliction.

Below find scans of each poem:

Any questions, you could leave a comment here, or bring it up in class.


Okay you lot, here is the essay question (and here as a PDF). I have put the due date back two days, until the 6th (the last day of class) rather than the 4th, as I know it’s a busy time. But this isn’t a long essay, and it’s the same format as you are used to with our tests, so you should find yourselves on familiar ground.

Also, I updated the schedule, both the due date and the readings.