For the first time today, I taught a section dealing with texts that could actually be construed as belonging to one of my fields!
We had read six poems by John Keats for this week and, as the class jumped straight from Robinson Crusoe to Keats’s poetry, I wanted to provide my students with a bit more background regarding the literary developments of the Long 18th Century…otherwise the sudden jump from one to the other seems very weird.
Conveniently, I am smack in the middle of reading the Romantic poets for my qualifying exams, so most of the reference works I was reading served the double purpose of refreshing my memory in order to talk about Romanticism in class and bolstering my background knowledge for the exam. (This has the unfortunate side effect of convincing me that I was far more productive today than I had actually been. Two hours of section reading and two hours of Quals reading does not add up to four hours if they were, in fact, the same two hours. Which, in turn, explains why I’m blogging instead of reading about the history of law and media technology…)
But one of the things I noticed was that I did not need to research all that much about either the Romantics or about the Rise of the Novel (yes, it’s an imposing thing and therefore will be capitalized) because I already knew it. Granted, this was a quick overview rather than an in depth seminar (and the latter would certainly have required far more preparation), but still. This is stuff I actually care about. It’s part of the lead-up to my interest in the novel as the 19th century art form. It’s legitimately interesting in its own right. (Everything I am interested in is.)*
I enjoyed teaching detective fiction last quarter and I thought the books were great fun to read. But I had not realized how much more I enjoy teaching when its within my field of interest and dealing with texts or ideas that matter to me.
Next week, then, should be amazing. We’re reading Jane Eyre.
I just noticed how many parenthetical remarks I made in this post. I wonder if there’s a correlation between how tired I am and my use of parentheses. I’m just grateful I haven’t started with nested parentheses yet. Those are always tricky to keep track of.