Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pericles and a re-cap of the MCSQ

I ventured back into the world today, after three days of the MCSQ--massive cold sore quarantine--during which my sole outing was a furtive milk run to Fairway at 9pm on Sunday night (as you will undoubtedly see, a large number of my posts will at some point mention Fairway. Such is the case when one lives within five blocks of that narcotic-disguised-as-store. Why not Westside Market, you might say? Or for that matter, a bodega? Because, dear reader, none of them sell Organic Valley nonfat milk). In any case, I decided to draw up a list of ten of the things I did while trapped in my apartment, and have posted it, as follows, for your reading pleasure:

1) Stuffed 160 plastic Easter eggs.
2) Played real solitaire, not computer solitaire.
3) Watched three movies.
4) Finished The Name of the Rose, which I highly recommend.
5) Made croutons.
6) Did work (unfortunately).
7) Prepped for tutoring.
8) Wrote a real letter to an old friend.
9) Slept.
10) Started this blog.

As you can tell, things were pretty wild in my brownstone! I think my left foot--and by extension, my orthopedist--was happy, however, because I mostly stayed off of it for three whole days. But I'd like to draw your attention to item number 7, which states that I prepped for tutoring. A friend and I are going to be working with the teenage son of another friend for the next few months; we'll be reviewing some of Western Civ's greatest texts in light of the theme "the New World". Since my friend is a classicist-in-training and I'm a newly minted medievalist, we'll be able to complement one another quite nicely, and I'm looking forward to learning the Greek alphabet. I realize that this all sounds a bit grandiose, and who knows what will happen once we get started later this week, but at the moment I'm excited at the prospect of using this part of my brain again. My tutees (or tutorees?) were some of the best people I met last year when I was back in San Francisco, and I miss knowing and working with them, as well as some of the totally insane things they used to do during our sessions*.

Anyway, the text with which I'm starting is Shakespeare's Pericles, which, in addition to Henry V and The Winter's Tale, is my favorite Shakespeare play (and yes, I realize that he probably didn't write the first two Acts). On Sunday afternoon I stretched out in the sun next to my living room window--since I couldn't enjoy one of NYC's nicest days this year, I tried to get as close to the outside as possible--and re-read through the play. I thought about the varieties of "new worlds" that exist throughout the text, ranging from the new world of language, e.g. Shakespeare writing in English when earlier versions of the Apollonius story were written in Latin and Gower's was written in Middle English, to the new worlds of adulthood, marriage, and death that the characters experience, and then the literal new worlds that Pericles encounters as he sails throughout the Mediterranean. But mostly I just enjoyed the story, which I still find as beautiful and poignant as when I first read it in England seven years ago, especially the scene in which Pericles reunites with Marina. Maybe it's because of that first encounter that the play still resonates with me--I remember reading it on the bed in my room, which was on the very top floor of Stanford House. My window was open and even though it was still early in Trinity term, the day was warm and I could hear Clint, B.A., Josie, and Tom playing soccer in the garden. When I looked up from my book I saw the same view that I awoke to every morning, that of Christchuch Meadow stretching towards the Thames, with Pat's parked electric green Vespa in the foreground. Le sigh. That period in Oxford has frequently been on my mind in the last month, and not only because of the mini-reunion Clint, B.A., Diana, a different Josie (baby Josie Peterson) and I had in New York a few weeks ago. I think it's because it was right at that point that I was starting to find myself as a medievalist, but I was still unsure as to what I wanted to be doing, and I knew that once I was back in California I'd need to start figuring things out with a little more urgency. And while many of those things have been "figured" in the past seven years, there are still plenty of new mysteries to untangle.

So, in summary, read Pericles!

*I'd be happy to relate these off-line.

1 comment:

  1. While I don't share the sentimental connection to Pericles (technically an impossibility, I suppose, never having read it), I share your penchant (if not sentimental connection, again) for Organic Valley nonfat milk -- if not only because it lasts a curious month longer than normal milk, at least primarily for that reason. And, on that topic, why does milk in NYC expire two days before milk in New Jersey? Why the lable "Exp Apr 5 -- Arp 3 in NYC"?