Apparently people enjoyed my wrap up of my first year of University, and I kind of loved talking about it just to put into perspective how goddamn awful a student I was, so I figured I would continue to talk about university.
I was recently emailed my preliminary reading lists for my two English first semester courses for second year [we don’t receive creative writing reading lists, but I’ll still talk about what we’re going to be looking at to inspire our work]. I figured writing about them here would push me to actually do the reading, not just let them sit in a box in my room until October.
Module 1: Renaissance Literature
As previously established, I go hard for Renaissance Lit, so I couldn’t resist taking this as one of my key second year modules. All the reading I do for this module will be out of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume B: The Sixteenth Century/The Early Seventeenth Century, 9th edition, which makes my life a lot easier- no buying loads of separate editions! Some people are doing this as a 15 credit module, while others are doing it for 30 credits. I couldn’t tell you which one I am, but a lot of the reading looks to be the same at this point.
Within this anthology, we were assigned five things as preliminary reading. As no further details about the course has been released yet, I have no idea what I’ll have to read alongside these things, but there’s quite a chunky list already.
- Poems of Sir Thomas Wyatt [I just did a quick search and found the word ‘fleeth’ in one of his poems, which I read as fleece, so it’s looking magnificent already]
- Utopia by Thomas Moore [my friend told me she’s read some of Moore’s work and hated it, so yet again, great]
- Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe [excited for this, I didn’t get the chance to read Marlowe in first year]
- Poems of John Donne [a lot of romance this semester, thank God, we looked predominantly at tragedies in first year and it definitely takes a toll after a while]
- Paradise Lost books 1 and 2 [15 credits]/Paradise Lost all 12 books [30 credits] by John Milton [can you see my issue having no clue which credit number I’m going for?]
I’m honestly really excited for this module. I’m a big renaissance literature fan, I think it’s so fun to look at the themes and the surrounding history of the time period, and it looks like there’s going to be a couple of retellings and romance-focused reading this time around, which is a far cry from all the tragedies of second semester in first year [i.e. Shakespearean tragedies, the entirety of the English language module, my near-failing grade for creative writing, and also my bank account and nearly every friendship I’d built throughout first year!].
Module 2: Ethnicity and Diversity in American Literature, 1950-2000
Just the name of this module is incredible. I’m already starting to think about my dissertation, so taking a module outside of the very specific modules so far seemed like the best course so I can begin understanding how to approach diversity in literature, not just the same old themes and styles of literature from 1600-1900.
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison [the Penguin edition; this seems so interesting and is definitely one I’ll have to read in advance of term starting, it’s like 500 pages and I really do want to give it a go]
- The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston [Picador edition; from what I can tell, this is an autobiographical novel where Kingston tells Chinese myths and discusses Chinese culture, and talks about being the daughter of Chinese immigrants]
- Angels in America by Tony Kushner [this includes the first and second half, and is probably the one I’m most looking forward to out of everything I’m studying first semester, honestly]
- Beloved by Toni Morrison [Vintage edition; Morrison is iconic and I really want to finally read some of her work and find out even more about her and her life]
- Drown by Junot Diaz [Faber edition; because of all the assault allegations against Diaz, I’m approaching this one a bit more hesitantly, although I’m still hoping to get around to it the same as any of the others]
- Selected Jewish American short stories [very unspecific, and none have been uploaded to my university database to start reading yet, but I’m looking forward to them nonetheless!]
I’m absolutely buzzing for this module. I had a whole list of modules to choose from, not really getting much of a choice because I have to do Creative Writing, no matter how much I want to do the other modules, but this one was a pretty easy pick for me. When I get around to second semester I can talk about how much more difficult a choice it was picking a module from the 15 credit list.
Module 3: Using Stories [Creative Writing]
Here she is! My most dreaded module making her triumphant return! You know how you watch the news during certain seasons and they are yelling about all these awful storms named after women? That’s how I feel every time I remember I have to take these modules for three years!
Luckily this year’s topics are a lot wider and give students the chance to approach things the way they want to [so basically I’m going to be writing a fuck ton of short stories and poetry this year].
There’s less information available on Creative Writing modules and we aren’t actually given any specific reading, other than what we’re expected to do before certain lectures and seminars, but I’ve done as much looking into this as I can to come out with this:
- This will be focused on research and discovering wider ideas and narratives in the world, which will help us develop our own work in different forms and genre [catch me dead writing larger pieces]
- We will begin to keep a writing journal [absolutely buzzing, I have so many unused journals and notebooks]
- There will be a focus on Science, Place and History in the research we do and in our writing journals, so I’ve really gotta start reading more in those genres
Yet again, just wait until my second semester post where I get to cry over the fact that I have to do a presentation of some of my work to my tutors and seminar group. Imagine being anxious over something that’s still a year away and won’t even last ten minutes. Creative Writing was a mistake, I hope everyone knows that.
I’d love to know what everyone else is up to, whether it be at uni or home or whatever it is you decide to do. Actually getting to choose the core modules this time around is a breath of fresh air, and I’m glad I can finally get it so my university education finally caters to my interests. No more English language! I won’t suffer anymore at its foul hands!
Thank you for reeeeeeading!