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merry night wanderer

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About merry night wanderer

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  • Location
    New Orleans
  • Program
    English Lit: British Romanticism

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  1. To be honest, I am skeptical - as a professor, you will very likely be required to teach things like survey courses, to say nothing of things like comp exams and Ph.D foreign language requirements. Your devotion to your interests is laudable, and mental health can be a problem for the best of us, but the requirements of a Ph.D are the requirements you'll have to contend with. I don't see any way out of needing to do very well in areas that are not the specific range of things you are most interested in.
  2. I am in a particularly weird bind since my work history includes jobs that aren't academic at all, but still relevant to teaching experience (instructional design). They help explain part of what I've being doing this whole time I've been out of school, so I've decided to include them.
  3. You're both probably right - I think the word 'suggested' is just tripping me up a little. I think I will summarize parts, and then possibly cut out the review of scholarship section, hmm. That just makes me nervous because - well, I need to demonstrate I know how it's being discussed!
  4. This is a very pressing question for me as well. I have a hunch about where my ultimate interests will land, but I'm not sure if articulating it is wise - in part because I feel it is presumptuous, knowing how far I have to go to really be well-read in these fields. What I do have is a defined time period (Romanticism), a set of theoretical and methodological approaches (aesthetics, philosophy, and cognitive studies/affect theory), and a life experience trajectory - essentially, I'm a fiction writer, and my interest in how symbols/universals/reference points are "constructed" within texts relates to my interest in analogies and metaphor/metonymy - and in the allegorical genre, though the major Romantics ostensibly swore it off for the most part. Where I'm struggling is with the last part - again, it feels so tentative knowing that I have many shelves' worth of dense theory to read before I'm fully up to date and can really join the conversation. My solution right now - though I'm certainly open to advice - is that I will frame my interests as questions, and sketch out a diss/project in an open-ended manner. Regarding time periods, I have a lot of sympathy for the thematic approach but the advice I receive is relentlessly to choose a time period. It's just how things are categorized within departments, and later you can expand your work to include other time periods. I know I plan to do so.
  5. So I'm applying to UCSB, and it's honestly one of the schools I'm most excited about - I love cognitive literary studies and philosophy of mind, and they're stellar in that regard. But their writing sample is "suggested 10 pages." Could someone speak to how they're approaching this, or how they did approach it, if they made it in? It just seems as though it's hardly any time to get to the heart of things - I have a 12 page version of my paper that makes my core argument based on the text, which I'm using as a basis, but it doesn't showcase my theoretical and methodological position within today's scholarship at all. In this form it's just another argument about evil in Christabel - it doesn't get to the cognitive science/phil of mind/affect theory twist, which is why I'm into UCSB in the first place. I'm wondering if I shouldn't just drop the 20 page version on them anyway.
  6. Is anyone else struggling with how specific to be on the SoP? I have pretty defined interests at this point, I hope, but it's just difficult to indicate which subfields I want to enter when I feel like I've got so much more reading to do in them. How narrowly are you defining your interests?
  7. This is all great information for applicants with an MFA and we should definitely keep trading notes. The programs I've spoken to have said "it depends." The thing is, in MFA-world, studio-centric programs are often highly prestigious and sought-after. Many creative writers have no interest in scholarly work; a lot of them downright resent lit classes, and some MFAs are structured accordingly. I loved lit classes, but I still took, at most, one a semester. That's nowhere near enough for an MA, to say nothing of the rigor required for an exam or a thesis.
  8. I get the impression they do not think MFA = MA, and rightly so, because MFAs 1) don't write Master's theses (and as such have not had the time to seriously hone their interests) and 2) have wildly varying requirements for literature classes. I think if you have taken lit classes and done well in them, it will count, and as such the expectation would be that your sample is better than an undergrad's, but an MFA is a creative degree at the end of the day and not a scholarly one. Some MFAs are all studio classes. It is also not rare for MFAs to have funding, or some degree of funding. Full funding is just highly competitive.
  9. Based on my limited knowledge, you should definitely make a choice - however arbitrary - between Romanticism and Victoriana, or else double down on something firm and thematic like Gothic Literature. Romanticism and Victorianism are classified differently from what I understand. You can always cheat when you're in the program and dabble in the other field. That's what I plan on doing as a Romanticist I think it is perhaps a little different if your thematic interests (empire, genre studies like Gothic, etc) cross the entire time period.
  10. Related, but tangential question: is it okay to email profs to ask for pdfs of their work? I know it tends to be in the science.
  11. How does one go about determining a program's strengths? Just by faculty and faculty interest?
  12. @DanArndtWrites I'm in the same boat. Based on the advice I've received, if you did well in the graduate lit classes, it's a great asset - it shows you can do graduate work, but also doesn't put you in the "already has a Master's" admissions category.
  13. I discovered the Restoration in, of all things, my GRE Subject Test studies, and I loved it! So raunchy. Regarding your question: this is something I'm also concerned about, and have seen a comment or two to the effect of "scholars want someone who can be molded" on these boards. However, I also saw a much more specific anecdote that UC Boulder rejected a candidate for "not being specific enough," and a number of people who wrote in their SoPs that they already had a notion of their dissertation topic. I'd love to hear from previous applicants on what worked and what didn't.
  14. It's a little late with the test on Saturday, but I got an Acceptable Score (90th percentile), and I do want to say that my strategy was basically slowly working through the practice test and making flashcards of the terminology, researching authors/works I didn't know, and generally getting a sense for the kinds of questions that the test tends to ask. And honestly, a ton of that material showed up on the exam. I should have done more with the Nortons (the hit to my score was probably 90% my abysmal 20th century lit understanding) but the practice test was honestly very helpful.
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