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May 21, 2007

Classics PG Colloquium, 22 May 2007

Ah, my old blog… I should have done this weeks ago, but- what can I say?

The 2nd annual Classics PG Colloquium will be held from 10am tomorrow (22 May). You may have noticed already the posters that I furtively pinned to Humanities noticeboards in the dead of night. Basically, this is an opportunity for Postgraduate research students within the Classics Dept to showcase their work to peers and members of the Faculty. If you’re an undergraduate thinking about doing research in the Classics, or a postgrad from another Dept simply wanting to find out whether we’re more or less clever than you, I think you may find it interesting.

We will be meeting in H344. The programme looks a bit like this:

09:30 Welcome

10:00 ‘Maximian and the Old Age of the World’
Ian Fielding

10:45 ‘The role of the biblical Patriarchs in Philo of Alexandria’
Eva Mussio

11:30 Coffee

11:45 ‘Subjugation, appropriation, emulation? Or, how Egypt captured Rome’
Vanessa MacKenzie

12:30 Lunch

13:15 ‘Goatherds in Idylls’
Naoko Komiyama

14:00 ‘Modernist Visions of Piety: the Fate of Thoas in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride’
Joe Platnauer

It’d be lovely to see you there.


October 31, 2006

Tuesday, 31 October

At the stage now of making the final cosmetic changes to thesis draft.

Final draft

The process of finishing my Master’s over the past month has been painfully slow: held up by having to produce and submit a PhD application, having to take a full-time job in order to get by until said PhD gets going, and having to work around Andrew’s unfortunately hectic schedule: we concluded last night’s review of the draft on the Unibus outside Zizzi’s. But nearly done.

Working the next six days in a row, so I should submit next week now.

Have really been letting the Junkyard gather dust over the past month or so, but I hope it won’t be closing for good in the near future. If I don’t put up any odds and ends between now and Christmas, I’ll haul off the tarpaulin early in 2007 and start scraping together bits for PhD project…


August 14, 2006

Monday, August 14

Fulfilment of obligation to not shirk writing something worthwhile on finishing chapter

No, I didn't honestly think I could get away with slithering through the chain–link gates without producing a fuller report on my efforts yesterday. It's just that I'd finished the chapter, wanted to immerse myself in my few hours of guiltless freedom, had used up almost all my quota of written expression power et cetera

Worth noting that the chapter was dangling about 400 words away from being finished for almost all of last week. All that I actually added yesterday lunchtime — although clearly, it was so taxing as to leave me too enfeebled to blog properly — was a concluding paragraph that questioned the wisdom of reading Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen as overwhelmed by the personal presence of Petrarch.

Try saying that with a mouthful of dry Weetabix…

My feelings on the chapter are that — although it is maybe a little top–heavy, with the power of analysis rather dwindling in the second half — it is fundamentally sound and definitely illuminates Petrarch's Bucolicum Carmen in a way that Chapters II–IV do not and cannot. If I can't get it to Andrew before the start of term I hope to supply him with an email attachment for feedback.

Also pleased with having finished in less — alright, only one day less — than three weeks, which I suspect makes it my least sluggish chapter to date. I make it that there are about six weeks until my present library card expires and with almost 29,000 words in the bank, it may not be folly to think I can at least have the components of a Master's thesis together by that time. Mightn't be all corrected, revised, polished and refined but the body of the words themselves could be there.

What I have to smear the remaining 7,000–10,000 words between are; some kind of concluding section [a Conclusion], and my Introduction — both currently embryonic in my thinking; and my final — ironically enough, what will be the first in the final study — chapter, on the Latin eclogues of Dante.

I'm thinking Chapter I will be only half the length at best of the others, as there are only two poems and I may not be able to gather the resources on other medieval ecloguists to really bulk it out. At the moment, I envisage that the chapter will take as its epigraph Boccaccio's comment on all the bucolic writers between Virgil and Petrarch being "obscure and not worth considering" and use Dante's poems to ask whether Petrarch deserves to be thought of as a reviver of the Eclogue.

I have a few days this week where I can bury my nose in the books and set myself thinking about how the chapter will take shape. I'm away this weekend for a wedding and probably moving house next week so I could do with taking advantage of what time I have now, while I still have it.

So anyway. That seems fairly thorough. Can I go now?


August 13, 2006

Sunday, August 13

It appears two weeks have gone by since I last blogged. Very sorry about that.

Finished my chapter this afternoon, anyway. I am reasonably pleased with it.

Anyone wandering types who'd like to read, please email I.D.Fielding@warwick.ac.uk.

Only about 7,000 words left to write on the project. Plan to launch into my Dante chapter as soon as possible.


July 30, 2006

Sunday, July 30

Chapter continues to progress, with 1000 words added this weekend. I'm only half–way through discussing the sixteen eclogues of the Buccolicum Carmen and I've already ploughed through almost half of my chapter's length. Things are getting very dense in the middle and I can tell already there will be a lot of fat to cut away once this thing is cooked through. Better to have too much than too little.

Hope to update again tomorrow.


July 28, 2006

Friday, 27 July

Added some 700 words today — not quite as fluidly as an Alastair Cook century innings — to push my week's work on Chapter V up to almost 2,000. What I did today was mainly concerned with the first and earliest poems of Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen — composed when the influence of Petrarch's bucolics was not yet prevalant — as a kind of pastiche of Virgil's three 'amorous' eclogues. Though it's heavy on the footnotes I'm fairly pleased with what I've put together.

Working two jobs tomorrow, so I'll look to pick up again on Sunday and Monday.


July 24, 2006

Monday, 24 July

Having spent the last couple of weeks reading and noting from Janet Smarr's edition of Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen, I have returned to the Learning Grid to type up the pan scribbled out in my trusty notebook and begin writing.

And this is the worst part of doing my thesis, without a doubt; such dread that flashing cursor inspires, waiting ahead of the Introduction I've to write. I feel as if I can't find any of the threads I let go of when I finished Chapter IV.

I reckon I can give myself until the weekend of the 19–20 August to have this done. After that I'll be too embroiled with moving house and committment to visiting Kate's [and mine] to get anything done until early September at least.

That leaves me one whole chapter still to write — plus introduction, conclusion, corrections and other adjustments — in just one month before my deadline. I have always been aiming for more like Christmas, but trying to balance too much of this project with full–time work in the Autumn won't be easy or fun.

I could do with finishing this chapter in three weeks rather than four, like I did the last one…


July 10, 2006

Monday, 10 July

Productive day spent in PGR Room today.

Completed my eclogue–by–eclogue profile of Boccaccio's bucolic collection [that is, the one I was putting together without actually having gone through the poems first] and promptly got to work assimilating the scholarship of Janet Smarr from the edition of her translation. Did I not mention? The book finally arrived last Thursday — after four weeks of waiting on Inter–Library Loan — right in time for me to go away for the weekend.

Nevertheless, what's encouraging is that the prospective chapter is already taking shape before I've had chance to really map my own reading of Boccaccio's pastorals. At this stage, the "essay question" of Chapter V is from the writings of Boccaccio, how can we appraise Petrarch's position within the "pastoral tradition"? And for good measure, how does Boccaccio locate himself within that tradition? Will progress with that until I see fit to alter it — full planning stage can't be far away.

From what I've read so far, it appears that although Petrarch's influence upon his fellow poet was not inconsiderable — the subject–matter of Boccaccio's pastorals progresses from the worldy–political to the spiritual–philosophical as he read more of his mentor's Bucolicum Carmen, over a period of years — Boccaccio still talks of Petrarchan pastoral in terms of a redefinition of the form; a redefinition that he retreats from — or, at least, is not sufficiently confident in his poetic standing to adopt — towards a more modest model that is closer to Virgil's [or, indeed, to Dante's].

So I have an idea of what to look out for before I begin my own scrutiny of the Buccolicum Carmen [two Cs for Boccaccio]. Will be getting down and dirty with some unabashed textual analysis over the next week or two — and, of course, keeping the world informed of any significant discoveries that I make in the course of that time.


July 05, 2006

Wednesday, 05 July

Brief update.

Have waited four weeks now for Janet Smarr's English translation of Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen to arrive from British Library on inter-library loan. Concede that I might have done more to work with the Latin text on its own -- which is available online [thanks Carlo] and also in the Warwick library — but at over two–and–a–half thousand verses I've kept putting it off in expectation that the Smarr will soon arrive.

Still, have scraped together enough bibliography — mainly from Bergin's Boccaccio, Grant's Neo-Latin Literature and the Pastoral, and Hubbard's Pipes of Pan -- to start gathering information eclogue-by-eclogue and to prepare for when I finally do get to read them. I feel like I've already located enough threads [intertextuality between the two Bucolica Carmina; the balance of influence on Boccaccio between Petrarch and Virgil] to make for a strong chapter.

Also filled my time with a little research into the Latin eclogue[s] of Dante, written in the form of letters to Giovanni del Virgilio; withdrawn from the Store the definitive edition of the correspondence between the two by Wicksteed and Gardner. As these obviously predate both Petrarch's and Boccaccio's my intention is to include my discussion of them in the first chapter of my study, which will basically chart the history of Virgilian pastoral through the Middle Ages. The thesis now is based on the pastoral tendency of these three great writers of the trecento — as a phenomenon, I suppose — and Andrew has given his approval.

My three previous chapters have now been proof–read and obviously require a little rewriting — generally for the sake of clarity, where I've managed to get a bit tangled up in myself, or where minor inconsistencies exist from one chapter to the next. Will aim to have them all updated before I start any writing on the Boccaccio section.


June 07, 2006

Wednesday, 07 June

Finished my chapter today. Have done more than half of my 40,000 words now.

Can't really be bothered to say much more other than I think it's good. Hopefully Andrew will confirm this suspicion Friday.

Will return to study after week or so's break, to plan chapter on pastoral after Petrarch — Boccaccio and beyond.


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