Brief Moments of Excitement

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.


I'm a doctoral student in English Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My interests lie in the field known very broadly as the Digital Humanities and I focus on reading digital books (what happens to books as they become not merely digitized, but digital) and reading books digitally (how can we use computers to learn new things about literature). In what spare time I have, I read speculative fiction, transform long strings of yarn into apparel and decor and play with my friends' dogs while eagerly awaiting the day when we move to an apartment complex that will allow us to have one.

Posted in Personal Blog, Uncategorized
4 comments on “Brief Moments of Excitement
  1. Yael says:

    That’s all? No details of lesson? I am left wanting more.

  2. Abba says:

    (Like the tautology.)*

    • Liz S. says:

      My mind, and I imagine most other people’s minds, works thusly: When other people read things, it is because they are interested in them. When I read things, it is because those things are objectively interesting.
      Opinions are always things that other people have.

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