Monday 15 August 2022


Pass/fail(getting by)
"Hamlet, Prince of Denmark"
"La Belle Dame Sans Merci"
"The Raven"
"Diary of Samuel Pepys"
"A Connecticut Yankee"
"Paradise Lost"

Authors' Note:  During the author's stint as a university science major, a modicum of knowledge of the liberal arts was putatively assured by subjecting students to pass/fail survey courses. "Getting by", as in the above described English class, seemed to be the modus operandi of students, and occasionally of teaching staff.

Authors' Note: 

bard: archaic term for a Celtic poet or wandering minstrel, currently applied primarily to the ‘Bard of Avon’, i.e. William Shakespeare

bodkin: a pointed instrument or pin, with archaic use to indicate a stiletto or other dagger

A question asked in Hamlet's most famous soliloquy is … 
 "Who would fardels bear?" 

Fardel is derived from fardeau, the French word for “burden”.

Authors' Note: 

rĂªverie (rehv-uh-REE): French for ‘dream, daydream’

grotesque: term adopted from French for an ancient Roman decorative artform rediscovered in Rome in the 15th century. Grotesques depict fantastical scenes and figures; the related adjective highlights the bizarre and even frightening nature of the images

grot: poetic variant of ‘grotto’ 

merci (mehr-SEE): French for mercy, forgiveness

   The usual critical view is that the protagonist of the poem, transfixed by the 'faery's child', has been trapped and victimized. However, Keats' description in his poem written in 1819 (but taking place in a mythical medieval past), leaves little doubt that the 'Belle Dame' is underage. The societal view of what constitutes child molestation / statutory rape seems to have changed over time.

Authors' Note:   Edgar Allan Poe wrote his best-known poem, "The Raven", in 1845. "The lost Lenore", and “quoth the Raven, ‘nevermore’ ” are famous phrases repeated in the poem. 

   An established classic, the poem will likely remain in the pantheon of poems ad infinitum (evermore).


Authors' Note:  The concept for a classic literary satire began in 1884 when author Mark Twain (real name Samuel Clemens) read Le Morte d'Arthur (the Death of Arthur) by Sir Thomas Mallory, a classic romance about the knights of the Round Table. 

  In Twain’s fictional account, published 1889, action unfolds when Hank, a 19th century munitions-factory mechanic, awakens from a head injury to find himself amidst the sorcerers and knights at Camelot. As he rises to high rank in medieval society through manipulation of modern technology, he becomes known simply as "Boss".

Authors' Note: The noun-form of the adjective essential, used almost exclusively in the plural, exemplifies pluralia tantum, and indicates what is truly needed (Credentials, similarly, is an example of that grammatical curiosity).

Paradise Lost, the epic poem about the Fall of Man and the Garden of Eden, by 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674). is contained in twelve books. Its review by young literature students is aided by student guides such as Cliff's Notes.

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