cygna_hime: (Default)
So I am not in France yet. The reason for this is a combination of visa fail, weather fail, and other people fail. (Protip: if you are the Office of International Studies, you should know that the French consulate will require a flight reservation. Therefore you should make it BEFORE I go get my visa. Not after, on the assumption that you don't want to have to change it again. RARGH.)

So I am going to destroy the world utterly arrr rawrrr raarrrrgh. Anyone wish to join me?

(Theoretically I will fly out Monday night. Theoretically.)
cygna_hime: (Default)
So, for a day that started off with me not getting enough sleep (my own fault and no one else's), today turned out to be pretty damn awesome.

First really quite nice thing: Thursday my Latin teacher says she's going to have us listen to Ursula K. LeGuin being interviewed about her recent book Lavinia, which is just piles of awesome because LeGuin is totally who I want to be when I grow up. She wanted to write Aeneid fanfic, so she taught herself Latin and read the whole thing because a translation just isn't as good, and then she wrote a book giving agency and words and characterization and that to the female object-of-desire who never speaks in the original. Want to be her. So. Much.

Second thing: there was someone in the campus center selling various things, including comics, and I got a smallish pile of single issues, including four Perez Wonder Woman (!!!), for $1.00 each (except for the Death of Superman issue, which, yeah, that actually *has* collectible value and everyone knows it). But! Perez! Wonder Woman! The original Cheetah issue! ONE DOLLAR! I couldn't get an issue of Wonder Woman new for a dollar, let alone an issue from the oldest and IMO best modern age run. Wonder Woman squeeee!

Third! My French professor asked me to be his research minion for a manuscript translation he's doing! This would be eeeeeeeee enough, but what it is, is a journal from 1127 and thenabouts when there were succession-scuffles over the county of Flanders (which at that time was bigger, richer, and stronger than any of its alleged liege lords [England, France, and HRE], able to field one thousand knights Jesus Christ that's a lot. What I'll be doing is going through to pick out the characters of note, and then looking them up in a nice book on the history of the Flemish nobility and writing up who's related to whom and how. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Okay, so that wouldn't be so awesome for most people, but I love that stuff with a totally inappropriate passion. Family trees and relationships and manuscripts and a book with stuff like heraldry? DO SO VERY WANT. And I can get paid for this!

*drifts off into a happy daze* I think this is proof positive that, despite the heavy--and unevenly distributed--workload, these are the right classes for me. Fuck huge amounts of homework, this is awesome!


ETA: Also, Geoffrey of Monmouth is a pseudo-Virgilian whore. Just for your edification.
cygna_hime: (Default)
YOUR ANALYSIS IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD. And by this, I mostly mean that this (Marivaux's Arlequin Poli Par L'amour) is not a piece of which I find the analysis rewarding. I like to analyze two types of things: things which I really like, in which case I enjoy exploring in more detail the world that pleases me; and things which I loathe, in which case I enjoy pulling it to pieces as punishment for its fail. This is neither. It's a mildly-amusing comedy-ette, probably much more so on stage than in text, which takes its subject matter from fairy tales, myths, and commedia dell'arte. The problem? I can just as easily play Trope Bingo with this piece, as I am already quite familiar with every last thing he appropriated. It's not like he put a new spin on it either. Supernatural being sees young man asleep, falls in love--check. Abduction of young man by fae--check. Shepherdess-check. Magic wand that must be stolen--check. *Yawn* Been here, done this, enjoyed it more then.

And also, analysis was tiresome, because it was all drearily Freudian, about the fairy queen as mother/lover and such, which annoys me and makes me cranky. Partly because it reduces the stories quite thoroughly to revolving around the male lead. Incredibly self-centered, really. And also because it's...just cranky-making. Perhaps my family is too functional to appreciate it, or maybe just too female-ridden to worship the power of the Magic Phallus. Because seriously, that's how I felt it was being presented. The fae's magic wand is representative of masculine power which the male lead steals from her in order to become a man, and obviously as soon as he has his Magic Phallus all will be well. Rrrgh.

Finally, I'm sick and tired of such shoddy characterization. It's all very well to say that the male lead is being shown going from mental/emotional/sexual infancy to puberty to adulthood, but where's the part where he becomes a person? Great, he's a fully sexual being now, but when did he acquire a personality?

RRRRRRRRGH. *gnaws scenery* (I'm turning into one of those feminists who bitch about phallocentrism all the time, aren't I? In my own defense, I wouldn't bitch so much if they didn't fail so much. I mean, a lot of *fanfic* is better, and not even very *good* fanfic. I realize this stuff was written in the olden days, but characterization was not a recent invention.)
cygna_hime: (Default)
First, a reminder of how awesome this school is: today the chapel bells were playing...the Indiana Jones theme. Yes. I laughed out loud--no, really, in real life out loud.

And now, back to our show. For French, we have to read Le Cid, and I just finished. Man, I am all over this play like white on rice. Not only is it wonderfully written, to the degree where it takes all my force of will not to start declaiming in public while reading, but it hits like all of my general-writing kinks.

For example: Our Heroine and the Infanta like each other, despite both being in love with Our Hero. (Or, well, Our Heroine may not know. But the Infanta does.) In fact, she angsts about it, because she knew she couldn't marry a mere knight and therefore set him up with Our Heroine. But she loves him anyway. But she doesn't want to. But she never acts like she dislikes or bears a grudge against Our Heroine on this account. She set them up! She wants them to be happy! Despite being the Other Woman, she's not OMGevilMcBitchy! (Two female characters, romantic rivals at that, who like each other? Never happens.)

For further example: I love so hard stories where the source of the conflict is in the characters' virtues. What keeps the lovers apart is that they're too honorable! I loooooove that! It also makes them look like much more cohesive characters, since traits they love in each other and that are considered virtues get in the way. (As opposed to the all-too-frequent Mary Sue style where they seem to have no flaws, or only informed flaws.)

And also: the main issue comes from honor vs. love, which can be a dicey affair when I'm reading fiction written in/about a different time period, because sometimes it seems like they're making mountains out of molehills. And honor depends on society so much, it's tricky to convince me that (whatever) will reduce their honor. But here, it works, mostly because all the other characters know the trap the lovers are in and agree that yeah, that's a no-win situation there. It's a much clearer picture of societal values. (Note that everyone else, including the king, still thinks the heroine goes a bit too far, but, again, character trait.)

While I'm on the subject, there's no misunderstanding between the lovers. Each understands the position the other's in and sympathizes with their mutual plight. This makes it much easier for me to believe that they're in love, because it's not one of those plots that'd be solved in an instant if the lovers just *talked* to each other. They *do* talk, they *do* understand each other's problems, and the problems are *still there*.

So, yeah. A rollicking good read, if you read French (or if you don't, I guess, although I doubt there's a translation nearly as good as the original), and one of the few things I've read for this class in which I honestly believe that the heroes are sympathetic, in love, and not stupid.
cygna_hime: (Default)
Voltaire, je vous aime. Vraiment. Honnetement. Mais quand vous ecrivez une piece qui a tort tort TORT, je ne suis pas desolee d'avoir dit en classe que vous a tort. Et Zaire? A tort.

Si je ne savais pas autant des Croisades, peut-etre je pourrais etre en accord avec vous. Mais je sais que le chretiens etaient unlawful, bloodthirsty invaders, donc je m'en fiche quand L. decrit la mort de ses fils. Je suis, en fait, sur qu'ils l'ont merite. C'est leur faute, la terre n'appartient a eux, et si O. les tue, mes sympathies sont entierement avec lui.

(Cher L.: Tais-toi, tu xenophobic old windbag, et va-t-en, quitte ce pays qui n'est pas a toi.)

Zaire: si tu veux epouser un homme, et tout d'un coup tu decouvres qu'il a tue des freres pendant la guerre, t'es vraiment nee chretienne, blah blah blah, PARLE-LUI, imbecile! Et, bon Dieu, ne fait pas des promesses qu tu ne comprends pas! Si t'as de l'honneur, parle forthrightment avec ton fiance, avec ton pere, avec ton frere, et essayer de trouver un compromise. Si tu n'en as pas, fais-toi baptisee, rend content votre pere, et apres sa mort, epouse l'homme qui tu aimes, et vivre happily-ever-after. J'ai pas de patience avec toi. Enfin, je suis contente que tu soit morte, parce-que tu n'auras pas d'enfants. C'est bien pour l'humanite. J'espere que ton frere meurt aussi tot que possible. J'ai fini avec ces femmes sans spine!

Oui, Professeur, je comprends ce que Voltaire veut dire avec tout cela. J'ai un tete de moi-meme (pas comme la "heroine" de cette piece). Mais je ne l'aime pas, je pense que c'est imbecile, et je le dirai si je veux! I know, but I do not approve, and I am not fucking resigned.

Voici ce qui se passe quand j'ecrit en francais quand je suis fachee: je ne bother pas de chercher des mots, donc je melange mes langues.

C'est une piece tres bien ecrite, c'est la raison pour laquelle elle me fache tant. Bien ecrite, mais wrong wrong WRONG you FAIL sir.


Mar. 31st, 2008 04:53 pm
cygna_hime: (Default)
Oral presentations = do not want.
Ten-minute oral presentations = hate.
Ten-minute oral presentations IN FRENCH = HAET SO MUCH.

I've regressed. It took me so much work to get over the tendency to shift from foot to foot, and what do I do today? Start shifting back and forth again. And my usual tendency to blather and start every sentence with "and" is even more noticeable in a foreign language, when I'm likely to completely blank on what I meant to say.

At least it's over.

Also, A- on first draft of paper for this class = of the good. This can be worked with.
cygna_hime: (Default)
Je lisais "Un sac de billes", par Joseph Joffo, pour ma classe de francais. C'est l'histoire de petit garcon qui doit fuir des nazis en France occupée. Bien deprimant, non? Je pense que l'histoire me rend plus triste en francais, parceque je dois le lire lentement, pensant de chaque mot. En general, je lis vite, mais seulement en anglais. C'est un experience different, devoir lire si lentement.

Alors, je suis deprimée, et mes accents sont ...est-ce que "erratique" est un mot? Tout le meme, je pense etre comprehensible, plus ou moins.

Je allais ecriver une chapitre de plus de ma NaNovel, mais maintenant, j'ai perdu l'humeur.

(Corrigez mon francais, si vous voulez. La pratique, c'est bonne.)
cygna_hime: (Default)
Well, okay, it wasn't that evil. Mostly just ridiculously long and grueling, except for the speaking portion, which...SAFKLGDHGJ I fail at speaking French. Srsly.

I don't think I did so terribly, though. It could have been worse.

Plus, my uncle came for a mini-visit today, and so we had strawberries and cream for dessert. So today was pretty okay.

And I'm taking most of tomorrow off to study for Calc. So it could be worse.


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