Monday blogging is fast becoming a regular feature, so that y’all get the benefit of my sunny, post-weekend optimism. And I’m feeling positively sparkly today, after I spent the morning indulging myself by watching the Gwyneth Paltrow film version of Emma. Really dreamy stuff.
Whilst Netflix is an unorthodox start to a hard day of work (at least in Oxford, I can’t speak for elsewhere), it’s got me all set-up for a week of Jane Austen. When, a couple of months ago, I started my vacation reading by getting down with Sense and Sensibility, it was with this week in mind. Several weeks later, however, I had a momentary memory failure where I couldn’t even recall the name of the novel’s rake (Willoughby, fyi), which, once again, raises suspicions in my mind that vacation reading is just a ploy to force me to have to read everything twice. It’s a weird form of late 18th/early 19th century brainwashing that is making me very consciously aware of the fact that I have yet to find myself a suitable husband.
But, perhaps, just like Emma, I oughtn’t to be worrying myself about matchmaking right now. One year from today, I will be a day away from finishing my course. Whilst this is a profoundly scary thought for me, it can be nothing compared to that of the people who are actually doing their last exam tomorrow- the white carnation long disposed of, the pink carnation wilting, the red carnation sitting in a jar of water by the window… It’s almost too much to think about. I don’t want to be accused of whinging about having to read my £2 edition of Persuasion, whilst sweaty noses blot paper down in Examination Schools, so my concern, this week, is entirely for them. I raise my empty bottle of Coke to you.
But this has all dragged me away from Anne Elliot, Emma Woodhouse and Eleanor Dashwood for too long. I have a responsibility to defend the passivity of Austen’s earnest protagonists, so I’m not going to get bogged down in feeling sorry for finalists. The absence of finalists from the library has been a real blessing- it’s much quieter now, and I feel a smug sense of superiority at being the self-appointed King of the Library, way more life-experienced than all those frantic freshers who make up the rest of the EFL population (well, except for the creepy, obese DPhil student who often sits near me and pants).
But, in this post-Netflix nightmare of a world, I need to get back to my reading. The remaining 100 pages of Persuasion aren’t going to read themselves, much as SparkNotes might suggest they could.