Since I have many cat-loving friends and readers, I thought I’d share this poem I read for today’s 18th Century Women Writers class.
Anne Francis, “An Elegy on a Favourite Cat” (1790)
When cats like him submit to fate,
And seek the Stygian strand,
In silent woe and mimic state
Should mourn the feline band.
For me–full oft at eventide,
Enrapt in thought profound,
I hear his solemn footsteps glide,
And startle at the sound!
Oft as the murmuring gale draws near
(To fancy’s rule consigned),
His tuneful purr salutes my ear,
Soft-floating on the wind.
Among the aerial train, perchance,
My Bully now resides,
Or with the nymphs leads up the dance–
Or skims the argent tides.
Ye rapid Muses, haste away,
His wandering shade attend,
Hunt him through bush and fallow grey,
And up the hill ascend;
O’er russet heath extend your view,
And through th’ embrowning wood;
On the brisk gale his form pursue,
Or trace him o’er the flood:
If he a lucid Sylph should fly,
With various hues bedight,
The Muse’s keen pervading eye
Shall catch the streaming light…
So, three years after graduating with an undergrad degree in English and political science, I’m finally back in the classroom and loving it. I fear that my one “non-degree student” class may indeed lead to a degree, though I can’t make any decisions on such things until after December, when I find out where we’ll be spending the next 3 years of our lives. Anyway, the class is ENGL517: Sex, Power, and Science in 18th Century Women’s Writing. With Sex and Power in the title, I went into the class pumped to talk about feminist and gender theory, among other things. I may have even geeked out a bit and pulled out my old Crit Theory text from undergrad to brush up a bit. What can I say, I’m a nerd! Anyway, apparently not everyone in my class expected to spend much time talking about gender, sex, and power.
Yesterday at The Pursuit of Harpyness, a blog I frequent, my friend Sarah.of.a.lesser.god did a post called “You Don’t Need to be a Woman to Study (Women’s) History,” about the dearth of men taking women’s studies classes. On the first day of my class, I noticed that the room was filled with women, with one lone male student. I hoped that he would be intelligent and willing to contribute a well-reasoned male perspective to our discussions, as I enjoy some good pushback in an academic discussion. Ok, more accurately, I enjoy a good debate or argument. However, after the second class, I’m pretty sure my high hopes for this guy were in vain. Not only is he too timid to really share (which, really, is understandable, it’s intimidating to be the ONLY ONE), but when he does share, he pretty much reveals his ignorance (which, maybe this class is just the eye-opener he needs!). Continue reading “talking about gender in a class on women writers? CRAZY!”