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    Having met my conditional Oxford offer, I will be Oxford bound in October to study English and French. I was idly looking at the course outline this afternoon and got athinking about potential papers.

    As a Joint Honours student, I do not have to do as many papers; specifically, ILS is compulsory, but it is up to me to choose between Middle English, Old English, Modernism or Victorianism for my second paper (as I only do two.) I have no real interest in either Old English or Victorianism, but am oscillating between Modernism and Middle English. (I will not have to do Middle English in my second year, though the Shakespeare paper is compulsory.)

    I wondered then, in exchange for my paltry reputation, whether anyone could give me a little more information about either of these two courses and consequently swing my favour in a more permanent manner. I have seen one college's (not my own) reading list for the Modernist paper but know very little about Middle English.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
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    (Original post by kuntimagee)
    Having met my conditional Oxford offer, I will be going to Jesus in October to study English and French. I was idly looking at the course outline this afternoon and got athinking about potential papers.

    As a Joint Honours student, I do not have to do as many papers; specifically, ILS is compulsory, but it is up to me to choose between Middle English, Old English, Modernism or Victorianism for my second paper (as I only do two.) I have no real interest in either Old English or Victorianism, but am oscillating between Modernism and Middle English. (I will not have to do Middle English in my second year, though the Shakespeare paper is compulsory.)

    I wondered then, in exchange for my paltry reputation, whether anyone could give me a little more information about either of these two courses and consequently swing my favour in a more permanent manner. I have seen one college's (not my own) reading list for the Modernist paper but know very little about Middle English.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
    Hmm, from what I remember, the Middle English texts you get to do in first year aren't terribly exciting, because pretty much all the good stuff is reserved for Paper 3. You do things like the Book of Gareth, i.e. probably the least interesting bit of Malory and a couple of other 'minor' texts, I believe. If you have any interest at all in Middle English and you can only take one or the other, Paper 3 is almost certainly the better choice.
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    yeah, i don't think the first year middle english paper is really worth it, especially out of all the papers you can do. and you can choose to do the second year paper when it comes to it - i've got a friend doing english & french who took modernism in his first year and is doing middle english and renaissance in his second year. seems to work ok for him.
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    Modern Lit. is a fun paper, so I would definitely do that.

    First year ME, on the other hand, isn't quite so exciting, as has been said. ME isn't really amazing in second year, and at least then you get a wider range of texts. I didn't do it first year, but the course handbook for Middle English as Mods Paper 3 gives the "recommended" texts as a disappointingly narrow. I suppose taking on ME in your first year is going to be harder, anyway (especially if you don't have OE behind you to help illuminate some of the unfamiliar words, etc). It really is better to hold it back for FHS P3, where you have much more range to work with.

    Why don't you want to do Victorian Lit.? Obviously, if you don't like it then you don't like it, but Victorian and Modern is the 'nice' work to be doing for first year, giving you 1830-now, and getting you into the degree through lots of familiar, accessible, interesting texts.
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    I can't comment on Middle English or give any useful advice, but as MSB says, the Victorian course is good. Unless you really hate the vast majority of 19th century writers (which seems unlikely), it would be a shame to miss out.
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    (Original post by MSB)
    Why don't you want to do Victorian Lit.?
    There isn't really a reason why, I just don't really like it. Well, there is a reason - I find it overblown, pompous, overwritten, self-indulgent, florid, boring etc etc etc. I mean, this is just me and my personal preferences probably do err a little more on the Puritanical side of things. As I probably won't ever have to do Victorian lit (and have thus far managed to completely avoid it, other than an unfortunate brush with Dickens and a few misadventures with Hardy), I'm keen to keep it at arm's length for ever, or failing that, as long as physically possible.
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    (Original post by kuntimagee)
    There isn't really a reason why, I just don't really like it. Well, there is a reason - I find it overblown, pompous, overwritten, self-indulgent, florid, boring etc etc etc. I mean, this is just me and my personal preferences probably do err a little more on the Puritanical side of things. As I probably won't ever have to do Victorian lit (and have thus far managed to completely avoid it, other than an unfortunate brush with Dickens and a few misadventures with Hardy), I'm keen to keep it at arm's length for ever, or failing that, as long as physically possible.
    There is a lot of literature in the period, and it is all quite different, but if you really don't like any of it then I suppose ME becomes a better choice. I'm not going to recommend a paper that you don't like.
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    (Original post by MSB)
    There is a lot of literature in the period, and it is all quite different, but if you really don't like any of it then I suppose ME becomes a better choice. I'm not going to recommend a paper that you don't like.
    Sorry, 'a brush with Dickens and a few misadventures with Hardy' sounds a little insubstantial - to be more specific, I have disliked Stoker, Eliot, the Brontes, Conan Doyle, Whitman, Tennyson, Robert Browning and the aforementioned Hardy and Dickens. (In fairness, I do quite like Christina Rossetti, Wilde and Henry James.) The question was never really between Middle English and Victorianism, but more to try and gauge the enjoyment potential for the Modernist paper vs. ME.

    Thanks for advice one and all, will rep over the next few days.
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    Well, Modern Lit. is, unless you are a stalwart medievalist, immeasurably more fun than ME.
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    I hate Whitman.
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    do modernism
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    There's nothing I hate more than someone who is supposedly interested in literature mindlessly criticising great writers and/or entire periods of literary history. Nevertheless, I will offer some advise. Take the modernism paper. I didn't study the ME paper myself, but I really enjoyed the moderism paper. I read Yeats, Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Conrad, Beckett and Larkin whilst studying that paper, it was great and we were given more freedom to choose our own authors than on any other paper. Although the authors you study might depend on your own tutors preference, I think it's hard to fail in finding something that you will be interested in. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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    (Original post by UberCool)
    There's nothing I hate more than someone who is supposedly interested in literature mindlessly criticising great writers and/or entire periods of literary history.
    I think this is potentially a bit harsh and a slightly strange statement to make, but thank you for your feedback.
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    (Original post by UberCool)
    There's nothing I hate more than someone who is supposedly interested in literature mindlessly criticising great writers and/or entire periods of literary history.
    Oh get over yourself... It's perfectly possible to be interested in literature without necessarily loving every single author or period that you study. As long as you don't let your personal dislike interfere with your critical response, there's absolutely nothing wrong with 'hating' certain writers.
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    I shouldn't really be posting here as I've never had anything to do with Oxford . . . But out of interest, why do they make first-year Middle English so boring, selecting the dullest texts for study? When I was fresh out of school, I hardly had any knowledge of medieval lit: Why put students off before they've even started? I ask because I'm a little worried about the future of medieval studies, what with the world's only established chair of paleography under threat.
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    (Original post by Wyrd14)
    I shouldn't really be posting here as I've never had anything to do with Oxford . . . But out of interest, why do they make first-year Middle English so boring, selecting the dullest texts for study? When I was fresh out of school, I hardly had any knowledge of medieval lit: Why put students off before they've even started? I ask because I'm a little worried about the future of medieval studies, what with the world's only established chair of paleography under threat.
    My guess would be that it's mainly to prevent possible overlaps. Middle English is a compulsory finals paper and people aren't allowed to write on topics in finals if they already wrote about them in their mods. So if you did all the good stuff in first year, you then wouldn't be allowed to write on those texts in finals.
    And of course it's also a convenient way of manipulating more people into having at least a brush with Old English, which never did anyone any harm.:p:
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    My guess would be that it's mainly to prevent possible overlaps. Middle English is a compulsory finals paper and people aren't allowed to write on topics in finals if they already wrote about them in their mods. So if you did all the good stuff in first year, you then wouldn't be allowed to write on those texts in finals.
    And of course it's also a convenient way of manipulating more people into having at least a brush with Old English, which never did anyone any harm.:p:
    I see. That makes sense, and a brush with OE is always good! I was just used to a course where everything in the first year was compulsory, with more and more flexibilty in the second and third years - so if you were put off of a period/topic early on, you could dump it as you went on.
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    If you steer the normal tack through the course, second year Middle English is as interesting as it could be, with a large range of texts. The student taking ME in their second year will have a)worked on the relatively familiar period of 1830-now to get themselves used to the workload and to the subject and b)done Old English to give them a better grasp of ME. The first year ME paper isn't really much in comparison with this - and with the obvious way that it can only work on the table-scraps of the later compulsory paper - so few people do it. It is not so much that they have made the paper boring, than it is stuck in an unfortunate back-water out of the way of the main progression through the course. It doesn't really make sense to take it unless one is really, really, really keen on ME.
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    Currently in the middle of said Modern paper - you will do four core authors (Joyce, Woolf, Eliot & Beckett), and the other four will be up to you. I wouldn't hedge your bets on Middle English, simply because we had absolutely no choice on the matter and got stuck with OE. If you do choose to do Modern I can send you the relevant reading lists (but if you're anything like me, the sight of a reading list in my inbox makes me want to weep)!
 
 
 
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