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A brief history of English literature.

August 28, 2007

Theoretically I have another soul who is about to take some rigorous exams.  Well, semi-rigorous, but still stiff work for an idler like he.

Before he can go ahead and assemble a world-startling thesis, he has to prove his worth in a couple of exams, based on a reading list that represents a very stupid person’s idea of the history of English literature. His summer’s preparation for these exams has taught him how to read badly, but that’s not anything that can’t be unlearned quickly.

My other soul might just scrape through this process, but I know full well that I myself couldn’t do it.  What would really prevent me, you see, is the chronological division of literature into pre-1700 (covered in the first exam) and post-1700 (covered in the second).

I rarely, if ever, structure my thoughts according to that kind of chronological arrangement. It doesn’t make any sense to do so. I like history too much for that kind of business. For example, it makes a lot of sense to compare the Anglo-Saxon period to the twentieth century; however, it makes no sense at all to compare the Anglo-Saxon period to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It’s to do with colour and atmosphere and imagining things that might have happened… In which case, we’re both well and truly done for.

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