All 10 entries tagged Eclogues

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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

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 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.

February 20, 2006

Monday, 20 February

Just finished the script for my seminar presentation — such an alien feeling to actually conclude a piece of work. It may require a few alterations and I still have to compile the handout but on the whole I think it should go off a treat.

That's next Tuesday, the 28th, at 12pm in H204.

Under The Beech: Representations of the Poet's Existence in the Bucolics of Virgil and Petrarch

Do come.

February 10, 2006

You are cordially invited…

Tuesday 28 February, 12pm. H204.

A lunchtime seminar with the following on the menu, prepared lovingly by yours truly:

Under the Beech: Representations of the Poet's Existence in the Bucolics of Virgil and Petrarch.

Promises to be delicious, I'm sure you'll all agree.

February 06, 2006

Monday, 06 February

Today marks three weeks of uneasy coexistence between myself and my Blog. I know that my occasional inactivity has drawn more than a couple of scornful glances [mainly from Gav, the conscience of Warwick Blogs] but I make this my tenth entry in that time: that's one every two-and-a-bit days. Considering I only actually do any work about once every two-and-a-bit days, I would regard that a fairly virtuous average.

What was totally reprehensible, however, was my "premeditated absence" from Greek today. After Friday's lecture left me grumbling I opted not to spend my time travelling to campus and back for the sake of another. Used the last half-hour to catch up on what I guess I have missed; it gets done in half the time without Margaret's interjections. Grateful as I am to her to take me on as a hitchhiker in the class, you understand.

No, I spent the day instead sat in my room with the convection heater blurring the air around my desk, occasionally slipping out the door to answer another wrong number. Not that I intend to give the impression my day was wasted: I added 700 words to my total and made a serious dent in the task of surveying Petrarch's allegorical reading of the Eclogues via Servius. It has been all introduction, really: to Petrarch's esteem for Virgilian allegory and to the slippery issue of allegory in the ancient world, which is where I left it.

Tomorrow, I should throw myself headlong at the topic of autobiographical allegory in the Eclogues. My sister is coming to visit about two 'o' clock in the afternoon but if I aspire to give that the old heave-ho before then, that will be the first half of my chapter concluded. Current word-count is about two-and-half thousand, so I'm definitely on-schedule for a fiveish-k chapter.

Watched Masterchef and subsequently spent an hour making dinner. Much as I enjoy their critiqueing, Gregg Wallace and John Torode have made me hideously self-conscious in the kitchen — even when I'm just throwing together a quickfire vegetable chilli [like this evening] I can imagine them tut-tutting and renouncing my flavour combinations.

Saw Munich at the Leamington Apollo last night. I thought it was a very powerful and courageous film, even if it was at least a half an hour too long and a little clumsy in places. When I bought my ticket I enquired politely when Johnny Cash would be coming to Leam; was told that there has been a spot of bother getting hold of the reel, but that he might be here next week. Keeping my fingers crossed.

January 17, 2006

Tuesday, 17 January

Haven’t left the house yet today.

Spent most of the morning and afternoon reading and compiling my ideas on Servius. Having read everything I have [and have yet to read, or haven’t recently looked at] in parts of books and photocopies, I trawled through a few articles on JSTOR—notably a useful piece on biographical allegory in the Eclogues by Raymond Starr.

With that done, I scribbled down a summary of what I could skim off all that on paper before deciding to try to commit a plan to Microsoft Word. I have divided my chapter into a two-part essay with the “hidden question”: For what reasons and in what ways did the Servian commentary shape Petrarch’s reading of the Eclogues? It will focus initially on Servius’ importance and appeal to Petrarch before looking specifically at what of his influence can be deduced in the Carmen. I think I could probably make a decent job of the first half right now but the second will require more reading and pondering.

After that, I read about half of the Petrarch chapter in Kallendorf’s In Praise Of Aeneas - will pick it up again tomorrow. Had to leave it halfway through because of this Greek translation that needed doing - turned out to be lengthier than I remembered, but now finished.

Trundling over to the Leamington Apollo this evening to collect my metrosexual stripes before seeing Buttcrack Mountain. I fear that all I’ve read today of pius Aeneas and his fortitude will do nothing to prevent me from whimpering like a scolded dog before the end credits roll.

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