Monday, October 13, 2008

Episode 21: Enfin, J'ai Décidé!

I realised yesterday that I lost a sock at some point between doing my laundry and bringing it back to my room. Sigh. At least it was one of the white socks, which are pretty old anyway. Still kind of hoping it'll turn up though! Right now, I'm sitting in front of my laptop, alternating between Facebook and trying to get started on my short presentation on 'Howl' for tomorrow's seminar. I shouldn't have a problem finishing, since I think I have enough material for three minutes. It's just a matter of forcing myself to put the metaphorical pen to paper and getting the words onto the screen. I don't think I have anything very profound to say that wouldn't (almost) immediately occur to the average person reading 'Howl', but I'm giving it my best shot. Best being defined as finish-it-now instead of start-on-it-one-hour-before-the-seminar! If I could just clear this tonight, then maybe I could use the slots of time between my classes tomorrow to clear the first half of my LL208 homework. Might not work, since I'm a bit rusty and probably need a dictionary to help me translate, but it's worth a shot. Must seriously look into buying good French dictionary once financial health improves...

I spent the first part of the afternoon working on my translations for Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, revising last week's verse translation into a prose one, as well as hammering out this week's prescribed lines. The whole experience has amply illustrated how translation is often an inexact process, e.g. how two translations that I looked at gave 'colde borne' as 'cold burn', which is an interesting juxtaposition of concepts, but really makes little sense in the context of the passage. Fortunately, I've found a Middle English dictionary that does a reasonable job of helping me to clarify things in instances where I disagree with what I read in translation, and in this case, I'm afraid I have to agree with Tolkien in rendering the phrase as 'cold brook'. Met up with the group from my language class to work on this week's lines, and I'm a little puzzled by how they appeared to have used little more to aid them than the glosses and translations provided in our primary text itself, when I looked at two different translations (one verse, one prose) to help me get a sense of what the original text was saying. I'm still hoping to get my hands on other reputable translations for comparison. As much as I hate EN121 right now, I must admit the intellectual challenge it presents in terms of translation is quite fascinating. I have to consciously force myself to reword my own translations, so that I don't end up sounding like I'm versifying, which is what would happen if I did a word-for-word translation and just strung it up into sentences.

In other news, I've decided to forget about trying to transfer to Heronbank, hence the title of this post. It wouldn't solve the problem of having to walk to Central Campus everyday, and I'd be moving far, far away from Tesco. Oh, and did I mention living in Westwood instead of Heronbank saves me more than £100 each month? In retrospect, perhaps it's a good thing that I didn't get what I wanted. Think of all the extra books and clothes the money'll buy! I've also seen how the ensuite toilet actually eats up a lot of living space, and I kind of like how my room in Westwood is big and, well, roomy. Just to give you an idea, I could definitely fit my bookcase from back home into this room, and still have empty space left over. Come to think of it, my room here is probably bigger than my room in Singapore! I rearranged the furniture a little, so now the bedside table isn't obstructing the radiator, which may have accounted for the chillier nature of the room in previous weeks. So now that I've made up my mind to stay here, it's probably time to start buying cooking implements and make my tentative foray into the culinary realm. Next stop: Ikea in Coventry!

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