All entries for Sunday 30 April 2006

April 30, 2006

Sunday, 30 April

Two weeks have gone since I finished Chapter III, and preparations for IV insist on progressing at a tortoiselike rate. I should have come to expect that by now; every successful advance is followed by this disorientated vagrancy.

But surely, I am starting now to regain my bearings. What I've written of a plan is somewhere between two–thirds and three–quarters [seven–tenths?] of what it needs to be: I lack still a strong conclusion but I do believe that as I go along I will discover my expression. Have enough now to start writing as and when…

The first half of the Chapter should focus on Petrarch's theories of poetic imitation and of poetry generally, to establish how the Bucolicum Carmen relates. The objective is to try to sketch out the themes of Petrarchan pastoral — the dryness and humourlessness [relative, I should say, when you compare with Virgil's] that has kept it at the back of bookshelves for centuries.

Sounds riveting, no?

I've also had the idea of using — to really boil down the comparison between the two — the theme of loss and consolation in both the Carmen and the Eclogues as a kind of "case study". There is a big section of [I think, good] work on this topic in my preparatory essay that I haven't fitted in as yet; with some sprucing up — perhaps, more focus on Virgil's poems — it could be very illuminating. Kind of pure textual engagement that appeals to Andrew at least.

The only snag for now — and it's only a small one — is that I'm down to offer a half–hour presentation on the subject of my research for the Department's PG open day on Thursday, 25 May [Beats' Birthday]. Going to give it on Servius as an intermediary between Eclogues and Carmen. Still have to write it, anyway: 10 pages. Shouldn't take long.


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