replying ;)

M Elizabeth Parks meparks at mtholyoke.edu
Wed Feb 5 19:04:53 EST 2003


Well, I think I'm still about five hundred messages behind the rest of
you, but I wanted to reply to a few things.

On Christmas: I got this behind in email because my Christmas (and
birthday, and graduation) present was a trip to Japan.  My best friend is
studying there this year, so I went to Kyoto to see her, and had a
marvelous time bumming about.  I came home with Howl, Castle in the Air,
and the four Chrestomanci books in Japanese.  I can actually read whole
paragraphs, simply from having read them so much in English, too, which is
beyond nifty.  On a side note: while I was there I saw "Harry
Potter" dubbed in Japanese.  o_O;;

on The Fall of Kings:

quite independently from the list, I've been on a sort of slash
kick: anything fantasy with boys who like boys has been top on my list
lately, so I'd read "Swordspoint" (which was quite good, though not at all
what I expected), Tanya Huff's "The Fire's Stone" (again--put that under
the guilty pleasures category ;), a few things by Elizabeth Lynn including
her new(ish?  est?) book, "Dragon Winter," which is quite good (as long as
you don't mind a not-too-emphasized male/male pairing in the
background).  This kick was started by a trilogy one of my roommates
pushed on me by Lynn Flewelling: the first one is called Luck in the
Shadows and the trilogy is enjoyable, but her newest book (set in the same
world, only several hundred years earlier) "The Bone-Doll's Twin" is
Really Good.  It's the story of a young girl who, at birth, is disguised
as a male to protect her from her uncle the king (who has ursurped the
throne her mother should have had and killed off all the female
relatives); but she is disguised by magic, and so not even she knows that
she isn't actually a boy.  It's a really interesting look at
gender.  There's no same-sex romance in it, exactly, but. . . the gender
thing is unusual.

Thesis: mine (undergraduate) is on Religion in the Novels of Charlotte
Bronte.  I'm working on Shirley right now: I had anticipated not liking
it, but in some ways it was my favorite of Bronte's novels.

Jane Eyre: I finished The Eyre Affair in the bathtub last night.  It was
lovely, and I anticipate the next one (the Shakespeare authorship question
is always interesting) but I have to say that I'm not convinced that Jane
Eyre ever could have ended with Jane going to India (I know that within
the book that was not a popular ending) simply because it's out of
character for St.John to give in and let her accompany him, unmarried.  I
would have found it easier to believe that Jane gave in and married
him. . ..

Doing the Reading: I go to a top twenty liberal arts college (I
think. . . not up to date on this years ratings b/c they annoy me, but it
was sixteen when I enrolled here), and I can't believe how little work
(and little thought) some of
my classmates engage in.  I have the same issue, btw, at Smith and Amherst
(both
considered Very Good Schools that i take classes at as they're
close) and felt the same way when I was abroad at St.Andrews).  I have of
late, i think because of all
my work on le thesis, been thinking about the idea of sending everyone to
college, and while this is undoubtedly considered the thing to do right
now, I'm having doubts that it's as universally good as it's said to
be.  I have, after seventy pages on Jane Eyre and Villette, come to the
conclusion that I was not meant to do (at least very much, or for very
long) literary criticism.  And yet that seems to be the goal of studying
English literature, and I would place myself among the top of all my
classes and my department.  I love books, but I don't like the way that
English is studied at any of the colleges I've studied it at, and that
makes me ponder the validity of mass higher education.  (It's also an
interesting theme in The Fall of Kings, btw).

anyway, off to karate I go to kick some butt; my apologies if I've said
anything that would have been averted had I actually read alllllll the
email (and my gosh, this list is TALKATIVE lately).

lizzie ;)

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