Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I forgot to mention yesterday that we got our Portrait quizzes back in twentieth. I hadn't thought that I would do well on it because I missed a few of the questions (or thought that I did); in particular the one regarding the mythological origins of Stephen's name. Unfortunately, my certainty in knowing that Dedalus was Greek in origin did not really extend to knowing any particular on the myth, and I had a feeling that "Villain on old school Hercules cartoon that used to be on at six in the morning" was not what Professor Phillips had in mind. I ended up writing about the origins of the name Stephen: He was the first Christian (Catholic) martyr, and he was stoned to death--something I found ironic considering that he is now the patron saint of stonecutters. Phillips gave me a few bonus marks for knowing this, which brought my mark up quite a bit. Once again, my extensive [snort] knowledge of useless information pays off.

The rest of this week is probably going to be somewhat crazy, between play rehearsals, Star Wars Halloween and turning twenty-one, so I want to post the poem of the month for November today. It's by (yet another) Canadian author, Archibald Lampman, who went to Trinity College in Toronto and is considered to be one of the most important Canadian authors of the 19th century. Along with a few other guys (Charles G.D. Roberts among them), he helps make up the "Confederation poets"; some of whom were good, and some of whom wrote drivel about Canada's confederation. [Historical Note: Canada ceased to be a colony of Britain and became a country on July 1st 1867; however, only 4 of the 10 provinces and 3 territories that Canada consists of today were part of the country at this point: Ontario, Québec, Noca Scotia and New Brunswick. The other nine were added over the course of the next 130+ years, the most recent being Nunavut, which was created in 1999.]

In November
The leafless forests slowly yield
To the thick-driving snow. A little while
And night shall darken down. In shouting file
The woodmen's carts go by me homeward-wheeled,
Past the thin fading stubbles, half concealed,
Now golden-gray, sowed softly through with snow,
Where the last ploughman follows still his row,
Turning black furrows through the whitening field.
Far off the village lamps begin to gleam,
Fast drives the snow, and no man comes this way;
The hills grow wintry white, and bleak winds moan
About the naked uplands. I alone
Am neither sad, nor shelterless, nor gray,
Wrapped round with thought, content to watch and dream.

--Archibald Lampman

We also got our essay assignments in twentieth, and one of the topics involves taking one of the modernist works we've studied this term and comparing it to a cultural text produced after 1960 that either references it directly or is influenced by it...I'm thinking either 'Prufrock' (compared to the Crash Test Dummies' "Afternoons and Coffeespoons") or 'The Wasteland' compared to something else (maybe my play I wrote last year, if I could swing that). In essence, this is the part where I hit other people up for suggestions on finding a cultural text influenced by the Wasteland, be it music, art, film, literature, comic books, whatever. I have a few ideas, but other perspectives are always appreciated.

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