Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is it too late to add to my conference paper, James?

After devouring thousands of pages every year for the sake of class the next morning while at Sarah Lawrence, I've been a little lax in my reading in the past few months in comparison. I do like reading. Always have. I'm sure at some point I'll write a more in-depth post about that. But right now, I have something more specific to tell you.

In an effort to get on to all those books I'd still like to get under my belt and in my brain before I die, I started reading one of two Jane Austen books I haven't read yet: Sense & Sensibility. Bit by bit, I'm got through it. Not at any great speed, but with great pleasure. I also continued the reading roll with a few more books, and I'm keeping the habit going with a book always in my purse for 15-minute stints of reading before work. One day at a time...

There was one sensation which irked me as I read it, though. It's uniquely Sarah Lawrence of me, I'm sure. You see, my final conference paper was about comparing two authors: the perennially re-adapted Jane Austen and the perennially under-appreciated Barbara Pym. Both authors wrote about women living in England, novels filled with social commentary and quiet romance, except Austen wrote in the 18th and 19th centuries, while Pym wrote in the mid-20th. I compared how reading appeared in their stories; how and what their characters read and what the authors were saying about it. I couldn't read all six (well, seven) Austen novels in one semester as well as an ample supply of Pym. Well, I could, but I couldn't write a paper about it all as well. Well, I could, but not before the end of the semester. So I focused on Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, hoping these would be the best for insights into Austen's views on reading.

Of course, now that I have read Sense & Sensibility (and two more Pym novels), I can't help but notice all the quotes which would have fit perfectly into my thesis. Marianne is not so unlike Catherine Morland in her voracious love of books, with her passion for them going as far as becoming a requirement for compatibility with a possible husband. Oh, the paragraphs I could have written analyzing these instances, and how her love of books is reflective of her personality and her evolution in the novel.

Yeah, nerd alert, I know. But I am this close to actually opening up the Word document that was/is my conference paper and re-reading it, possibly adding to it. To what point and purpose I have no idea. Perhaps just to quell my inane obsession. I could send it to my professor, but I think he'll probably have enough papers to grade as it is. Just goes to show, you can take the student out of college....

.......But you can't take the nerd out of me!

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