Showing posts from March, 2013

The 7 Secrets of Effective Study and Successful Revision

1. ATTITUDE Be interested in everything. If you know and experience lots of different things there is a point when they start to join up, or to link in some strange and delightful way. With a broad-based knowledge it is also more likely that you will be able to make informed and inspired guesses. These mindmoves are both enjoyable and stimulating. Give the topic/subject the benefit of the doubt. If you assume that you will be having a tedious experience while studying, your initial thoughts tend to be self-fulfilling. At first many topics are complex and they present initial barriers to entry. Similarly, anything unfamiliar may involve the shock of the new. Rather than turning away, take a leap of faith and keep going until you discover those satisfying moments of lucidity - these are the dawning lights of the understanding at work. Positive mental attitude - this means not basing your current work or your future expectation on past failures. Channel your antagonism effectiv

103 key words - writing about speech

A revision list of 103 key words to describe kinds of speech - please add other suggestions below. absurdity aestheticism affectation agility alertness antagonistic aptness archaic artificiality badinage banter belligerent. combative censure civility clarity clowning colloquy conceits courtier / courtly courtship decadence delicacy discourse dramatic effortless elegance epigrammatic erudition esoteric exchanges extravagance felicity fencing fluidity fooling frivolity funny gallantry

Thinking about Speech in Shakespeare and Jane Austen

The witty banter and rivalry that we encounter in the plays of William Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde, or the novels of Jane Austen, often presents difficulties for students who are unsure how to write about it. It's not enough just to say that a speech is funny or humorous. Even 'witty' is at times quite vague given the complexity of rhetoric and style that characters had available to them. First, there are the professed attitudes to love and relationships. Typical roles taken up by characters include the scorner of love, and the woman who rejects her suitors. Whether the underlying motivation is authentic, realistic, or psychologically coherent and credible often matters less than the sheer pleasure to be had from the verbal battles that ensue. Second, audiences are expected to enjoy the 'badinage' of witty courtiers. This is an opportunity for malicious sentiments to be expressed with wit. Communication shifts in mood and tone from shrewdness and wisdom to ext

America and the Great Tradition

Faith in the Western Tradition "The trials of the citizen now surpass anything that previous generations ever knew. Private and public propaganda beats upon him from morning till night all his life long. If independent judgment is the sine qua non of effective citizenship in a democracy, then it must be admitted that such judgment is harder to maintain now than it ever has been before." (Preface) Readers may be familiar with the 54-volume set called Great Books of the Western World. Women are entirely absent from this history, which was published in 1952. The choice of texts is based primarily on the ancient Latin and Greek classics; renaissance and enlightenment philosophy and literature, and some of the key texts on politics, history and science from the nineteenth century. Despite its American roots and sponsorship, only Herman Melville, William James, the "American State Papers" and "The Federalist" are featured from the native seats of lear

The Art of Description: 25 Tips

'Scott has spent pages and pages upon describing a country scene, this is very uninteresting, but it is intensely good literature.' ( T he Newbolt Report: “The Teaching of English in England” (1921)) In popular literature description appears to have been devalued in favour of character and plot. Description can be enjoyable in itself, but often it relates to, and helps to build the plot, mood, character, or atmosphere.  In our busy modern world perhaps we feel that we don’t have time to wallow in description. I have heard some writers saying that they don't bother doing the scene setting any more. This is sad. In fact, our age is one of immense (simulated) visual and sonic richness and variety. Never have we had such an immense range of sensory stimuli. Nonetheless, we are often so caught up in the flow that we lack either the creative engagement or the critical detachment that would enable the production of delightful or striking descriptive prose. Desc

Othello. 20 Recommended Resources on Shakespeare's Tragedy

Part 1: Introductions for younger readers and viewers Video SparkNotes: Shakespeare's Othello summary. 9 mins 14 sec Cliffs Notes. 7 mins 45 sec This Short Animated Version of the Play is an excellent taster if you have but a small appetite Part 2: If you consider that reciting or performing Shakespeare requires a stiff, posh, upper class, drama-school  British accent, think again.  Prof David Crystal demonstrates 'authentic' Original Pronunciation Part 3: Essential viewing for advanced students is a classic production from the BBC, directed by Jonathan Miller. This is a Claustrophobic and Complete version which is highly recommended. This made-for-TV production features Anthony Hopkins as Othello, with Bob Hoskins as the treacherous, jealousy-ridden soldier Iago. 3 hrs 23 mins. Available here . Classic film (1952). Orson Welles' daring and visually adventurous production of William Shakespeare's classic play. Welles, one of th