Apr. 9th, 2008

woolymonkey: (wtf?)
Dear wonderful, erudite friendslist, especially Eng. Lit. graduates, artists and musicians,  And [profile] artaxastra,

I think I'm going to apply to tutor a course which could be summed up as Everything About All of the Arts Ever.  The job spec requires me to know about: (take a deep breath)  "history, art history, philosophy, classical studies, history of science, religious studies, music and English".  Also, "to teach ... a wide range of arts and humanities subjects, some of which may be outside your own specialism".  Phew!

It's possible that ALL these areas are outside my specialism, but I'm hoping no-one else is going to offer more than patchy knowledge and bluff, just like me.  Feel free to suggest on any of them, but there are three where I could especially use some help:

1. English lit - especially The Great Novels.  I'm OK (for bluffing purposes) on lit theory, analysis, that crap - it's just that most of the "literary" texts I know are in French or German.   Great excuse to catch up on serious reading, but where do I start? (Not Shakespeare or Chaucer - I've actually studied them!)  Also, is there a really basic bluffer's-guide-style overview of English lit that would help me slot what I read into a neat sequence of movements and periods?  To recap: I can do the fancy stuff and the Big Questions (tragedy, irony, deconstruction, that jazz) but I'm embarrassingly lacking in basic knowledge.

2. Art history.  On this one, I confess total ignorance and lack of ability.  Unable to process pictures without lots of words.  Please help!

3. Shostakovich.  His string quartets are a set work.  I think I hate Shostakovich.  He's the reason I keep having to switch off Radio Three.  Please persuade me he's wonderful!

And a bonus question for
[profile] artaxastra:
What's a good, factual book for learning about Cleopatra - not just her life but how she's been understood and portrayed since she lived?

All suggestions welcome.  I have good library access, so old and obscure books or journals aren't a problem - in fact they're a plus because I can read them for free.

Thanks in advance!



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