Flat Ruthie and I

I had some adventures this week with “Flat Ruthie.” She is like Flat Stanley, if you have ever heard of that trend.

Check out the post (mostly pictures) over at Cardboard me! *(There is a link to Flat Ruthie Info here!)

She has a great idea, travelling the world and having adventures with all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Pretty fun!

Cheers,

Miss E

****So, after getting a few reader questions, I have posted links to more info about the Flat Stanley and Flat Ruthie for you all 🙂 This was my first experience with a “Flat” anybody, and I would highly recommend trying it- twas a lot of fun!

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Great Dane, Reading the OED

I bought Ammon Shea’s book, Reading the OEa couple of weeks ago, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It looks pretty good, and is about one man’s experience reading through the OED (Oxford English Dictionary).

Instead, I found my housemate’s dog curled up with the book and sleeping in the sun. It was too fun not to share!

Curled up with "Reading the OED"

She is a beautiful Great Dane, but still loves to curl up with a book occasionally.

I wonder how this is comfortable, but I definitely know what it’s like to fall asleep while reading 😉

Do your pets ever fall asleep on your books?

Hope your Sunday is going well!

Miss E

 

What is Queer Theory?

Hello dear readers!

I have had a few questions recently about some of the terms that we use here often at Looking For Pemberley. Although many of the terms that I use range from academic to very informal, made-up words, there area  few that I think you should know about when you are reading posts here. I don’t want anyone to feel left out.

So, I’ve decided that I will start a “definitions” post series, so you can familiarize yourself with some potentially unfamiliar terms.

In the future, look under the “defined” category to find the posts in this vein.

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Let’s start with the term Queer Theory, as I have had a few questions about that.

For many people who grew up when the word “queer” was pejorative, this term may seem a little alarming. Really, queer is not a bad word.

Queer theory came out of gender studies, which derived from feminism, and is used as a lens or framework to view different media or texts, such as works of art or books, for example.

It is a type of theory that challenges binary constructions like “male” and ‘female,” but is not at all limited to gender. One of the reasons many people may be confused about what queer theory actually is, is because it has so many applications. Scholars and others often use the ideas from “queer theorists” such as Judith Butler and Jack Halberstam and Chandan Reddy (as mentioned previously here) to understand and question any given text, ideology, simplistic construction, or social situation.

Queer theory can be a very freeing tool, and remains politically important, because it also allows for personal identity to fluctuate, and resists definition of who we are as people, what makes us the way we are, and what we can or should prescribe to.

I myself am very interested in queer theory and studied it in school, so if you have questions about it, feel free to continue asking!

Also, if you have anything to add, please pitch in through the comment section or e-mail me from the “about” page! I would love to hear your personal definitions.

I also have some resources that I think will help you understand the purpose and goals of Queer Theory listed below that might help.

Queer Theory

Theory Org

Queer by Choice link database

GLBTQ

Have a great weekend!

Miss E

Emma (NOT) The Musical

Last night I saw Jane Austen’s Emma played in the theater! I posted about it yesterday, and had pretty even- level expectations. The evening was lovely, and I made three new friends with the Meetup members I attended with.

Posters

I did mention the night in yesterday’s post here. However, some of you will disappointed, (others will be relieved, I’m sure), to know that the “musical” I referenced was in fact not a musical after all. I was laboring under a misapprehension (bonus points for knowing that reference), and in fact ended up seeing something completely different: a regular play. To clarify, there exists a musical version of Emma somewhere- it’s  just not what I went to.

During a somewhat comic twist of events, I found out about my error an hour before the show, and I must say that I was a tad bit heartbroken at first. A group of us were discussing the night over dinner, and two of us thought we were going to see a musical. After the option of musical was introduced into the conversation, a horrified organizer was very relieved to discover via smartphone that her original desire to see (not a musical) adaptation of Emma was indeed correct. Another playgoer and I were a bit bummed out, although we were still ready to see Austen on stage.

Personally, I had been mentally preparing myself for weeks for cheesy ridiculousness, potentially ridiculous music, and possible tongue-in-cheek modern commentary geared towards die-hard Austen fans.

Don’t worry. What I saw was actually just as satisfying, if not more so.

In fact, now that I think about it, I’m not sure that a Jane Austen-based musical would be the most brilliant production to witness on stage (or would it)!? I’ll hold out hope that someday I will see the musical version and rate it here for you, but for now, I have the play to summarize.

What we actually saw was the adaptation by Michael Bloom, directed by Victor Pappas, and is simply titled Emma (not Emma, the Musical), at Jones Playhouse in Seattle. It was a production from the School of Drama at the University of Washington, and tickets were very reasonable.

I liked the program, which featured a pink, black and white design, and archery symbolism (an Emma reference made famous in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie adaptation).

Program Design

Closer view

Inside the Program

The theater itself was a very egalitarian half (or more than half) stadium circle structure, and even though we were not the first in the door for will call seating, we had an amazing view of the performance and the actors on the round stage.

The casting was incredible, and despite some players drifting in and out of the faux English accent, each character was chosen thoughtfully, and brought a unique flavor to the personalities of the likes of Emma, Mr. Knightly, Miss Smith, and Mr. Woodhouse. They actors were extremely expressive in their facial expressions, and although the play stuck close to the original plot, the acting brought a vibrant energy to the storyline. Mrs. Elton was sufficiently obnoxious, and Miss Smith ran around the stage with frivolous teenage excitement.

Excuse the poor quality of some of the pics below. I was taking many from an upward angle most of the time- they were quite high above me, and using my cell phone. I swear I will get a digital camera soon!

People looking at the head shots and bios of the wonderful cast.

I took some pictures of my favorite players to share with you:

Harriet Smith, by Monique Robinson

Phil Kruse as Frank Churchill

They had pretty great costumes for all of the actors, but Mr. Knightly, Mrs. Weston, and Frank Churchill pretty much had the best.  They all look completely different in these headshots- the hair and makeup team did a wonderful job too!

Scott Ward Abernathy. A very convincing Mr. Knightley, and very emotive actor. "swoon"

Robert Bergin as Mr. Woodhouse- he looked completely different in the play- about 50 years older, and was hilarious.

This adaptation interestingly showed Emma’s internal thought process (very comical) by dimming the lights during her asides to the audience and herself. Also, the usual ending was challenged a bit by a longer courtship period between Emma and Mr. Knightly, more examples of their life post-declaration of love, as well as a more involved scene between the couple and Mr. Woodhouse when they announce their marriage.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the additions were pulled off.

Sarah Loveland played Emma. She was incredible, and rivaled the best Emma's I've seen on film, actually.

Even though it was not a musical, I was not sad about a lack of music. Not only were Emma and Jane Fairfax’s characters excellent singers and pianists during the “exhibition” scene in the drawing room, but there was also a “soundtrack” feature enriching the background of the entire play.

Very talented musician Miss Fairfax played by Marua Tang.

All around, I would highly recommend this play, and I heard whispers of the production returning in the summer. So, if you happen to be in Seattle, you may want to check it out!

Happy Thursday,

Miss E

 

Excited to See “Emma, The Musical”

Hello readers! Happy Wednesday!

Tonight I am going to see the theater adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma with a meetup group I joined a while back. It should be a fun night, and I am very excited about it.

I read a review of the musical today that was not so enthusiastic.

Photo credit: Charles McNulty

It was also not a diatribe. The reviewer was ambivalent about performance he saw  but I am still excited to see it!

The one I’m going to see is a student performace, and after reading the reviews surrounding it, I don’t have any great expectations.

I do love Jane Austen, and I also love musicals, so this seems like a wonderful combination.

Since I started blogging, I have learned about so many more adaptations than I had ever seen or heard of before, and I count that as a major benefit.

Once I see the “Musical and Romantic Comedy,” I will certainly share my opinion of it here with you!

Best,

Miss E

 

Bad Reputation

Hope you are all having a great Monday evening (or potentially Tuesday for some readers across the world). I’m writing at night instead of this morning- got caught up with work-related writing. Hope you had a great weekend!

In the last post when I asked for your opinion about what you most wanted to see us highlighting on Looking  for Pemberley, a surprisingly high percentage voted  “Advice for English Majors.” So, when I came across this scathing yet satirical article from Holy Taco today listing “The 10 Most Worthless College Majors,” I was dismayed but not surprised to see English Lit as number 3 on the list.

English gets a bad reputation, not because it is academically “worthless.” It is fact, it is quite the opposite, and may be one of the most rigorous courses of study one can take in the College of Arts and Sciences (I am admitting some bias here, of course). One of the reasons English is tough is that English majors are not trained with skills for one specific career. For example, if you get a degree in Accounting, you will probably become “an accountant.” Likewise, if you get a degree in Paralegal Studies, it is because you probably would like to become a paralegal. I think you get the point.

Bad Reputation foods (Kool Aid and cookie) at Bauhaus Coffee shop, Seattle

If you are majoring in English, you can be almost anything, which leaves many at a loss for what to choose after graduation. Generally speaking, it is difficult to establish a career in literary analysis or essay writing. This is the case with many Humanities degrees, yet people still choose to pursue them. Why? In my opinion, degrees in the Humanities are fun, and also because they challenge students to become well-rounded citizens who question, analyze, think creatively, write and communicate effectively, present (literally and in writing) coherent arguments, and look at issues holistically.

In an earlier post, I mentioned a few helpful sites for English majors to look at, one of which is called 4 Humanities. In recent years the validity of the Humanities has been heavily questioned and disputed by academics. This is in large part because although the Humanities departments at a university level are responsible for the largest percentage of core course instruction, the research coming out of the Humanities doesn’t procure the same level of grant funding for the academe as the sciences. Also, since the level of research considered “publishable” is much more rigorous in the Humanities (solo-written 15-30 page monograph researched and written and edited by one individual) than in the sciences (rigorous and time consuming direct research is often performed by a team of people who all get author credit and a line on their CV), scholars in the sciences often have many more “published” articles.

Outside the route of graduate study and teaching at a college level, (and even those options are limited), the world can look pretty bleak for the unprepared English major. I remember that when I graduated from college I was extremely excited, but had a hard time finding a job that directly related to my skill set. I worked in a restaurant and also in a winery for a little over a year before returning to school. A lot of my fellow English grads either did the same, or pursued graduate study right off the bat.

If you major in English, you will often hear the questions, “oh. do you want to teach?” and “what can you do with that major?…teach?”

Let me just say that I believe teaching is an incredible profession, and many people I know did in fact pursue English degrees in order to become better educators. But, if teaching is not your passion, there are many other options for English majors, and possibly many more than pursuing a more specific field of study.

More good news: businesses are beginning to notice that hiring English Majors and people with other “worthless” degrees helps them convey specific messages, improving inter and extra company communication. and many of the jobs I have seen on craigslist recently require my skills.

I am proud of my major, and I feel lucky to have gone the route I did (trust me, I am well-aware of what a privilege it is to be able to pursue an education). My English major has helped me grow in countless ways. I have explored, and am still exploring career options in writing, editing, content writing, blogging, proofreading, teaching (yep, and I liked it!), private tutoring, marketing, researching, and transcribing for different authors and companies.

Since my reading and writing workload in both college and graduate school was so intense, I have drive and passion to do a wonderful job at any task which requires comprehension, mastery, or use of language. Furthermore, many of the jobs I have seen on craigslist recently require my specific skill set.

English Majors and other majors in the Humanities with a bad reputation (such as Philosophy) are often students who choose to pursue their degrees without a set career path or a job guarantee after college. Their professors expect them to study for the sake of learning, to read and present well, and to attempt to write more perfectly. To me, those goals are admirable and brave, not foolhardy.

What can I do with my major (and Masters Degree) in English? Anything that interests me. Just to prove that others can do the same, here is some inspiration about other English Majors who went on to do varied things in the world after graduating.

Oh, and here is a song for you:

Hence, in my (admittedly biased, yet research-based) opinion, English Majors are badasses, who often don’t give a damn about their bad reputation. Let’s keep it that way and carry on with what we love.

Happy Monday,

Miss E

Need Your Opinion

Hello lovely readers!

Happy Saturday! I hope yours is going well, and that you have a fantastic weekend.

I want to know your thoughts and opinions about the type of posts we do here, which will help me get an idea of who my readership is and what you enjoy reading most.

Pretty Seattle sun for you! (and maybe wishful thinking for me:)

This doesn’t mean I’m going to drastically change my site, but I am curious about what you are interested in seeing when you visit here.

If one topic wins overwhelmingly, I’ll attempt to write more frequent posts about it!

If you could take my poll, I would really appreciate it!  And, if you mark “other,” or have more feedback for me, please write about it in the comments.

Cheers,

Miss E