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MorgenTAU - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
October 31st, 2003
01:16 am

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MorgenTAU
Prof. Elia Leibowitz is a really nice guy. He's my new Friend in a High Place at TAU. Being in his excellence program essentially means an exemption from tuition for three years (neat!), and free access to any course I fancy on campus, disregarding dept./faculty boundaries and programs.

If I really want to take some advanced course, I can even skip a required preliminary course on the understanding that I make up the material on my own, and save the semester it would have taken me to take the prelim. I may actually take advantage of that option for some translation course I've been interested in.

Also, I can make up my own program to get me an M.A. in four years (i.e. three more years, including this one). I'm probably interested, but it would mean making a choice between my two majors (classics [Greek] and theory of literature) real soon, and I'm not sure I know which one I prefer. Also, there's the small issue of not knowing what I want to do when I grow up.

Finally, Prof. Leibowitz promised to help me get an interview with any professor on campus, should I want one, and should that professor be otherwise hard to approach. That's very nice, too, though I haven't encountered inaccessible professors yet.

Other than that, I continue on my normal program, i.e. the excellence program does not offer any particular courses or academic credits. It's more of a "we like you; if you need anything, holler" kind of deal.

The one thing that was hard to get over, though, was the answer to how they picked me: I figured it couldn't be my grades alone -- they're quite good, but I figured they were certainly not the best in the dept. -- and that one of my profs put in a good word for me. But both Prof. Leibowitz and the secretary who handles the financial side of things assured me that the selection is based purely on the numbers: grade point average weighed by number of hours taken last year. The program accepted two students from the humanities faculty this year. I'm one of them, so it turns out that, unbelievably enough, my average-weighed-by-hours score was one of the two best scores in the entire humanities faculty. I simply have no idea how this could be. But I'm not complaining :)

I have an interview with Prof. Dan La'or, dean of the humanities faculty on Sunday afternoon. He's a professor of Hebrew Literature, so I hope for an interesting conversation. Good times!

In other news, I have huge readings assignments, and I'm very happy about them. :)

current books: Poetics, Aristotle; History of Ancient Greece, Prof. Moshe Amit; The Greeks, H.D.F. Kitto(!); The World of Odysseus, M.I. Finley; Homer, Jacqueline de Romilly; Homer, Prof. Nathan Spiegel; Njal's Saga; To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf; and a couple of others.

Current Mood: excited
Current Music: Zohar Argov -- Kvar Avru Hashanim

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
From:ex_mijra932
Date:October 30th, 2003 03:31 pm (UTC)
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This is almost entirely unrelated to your post--but I love Njal's Saga. It's great; some of the translations can make it sound rather... funny?... but it's still one of my favorites.
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From:ijon
Date:October 30th, 2003 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Ooh! Can you read the saga in the original language?
I'm using Robert Cook's translation. His choice of translating the simple language (only additive sentences etc.) to English is indeed uncommon, and I find it alternatingly refreshing and tiresome.

The story is funny, but a bit repetitive, I think. There's a whole bunch of killings-and-atonements in the Bergthora-Hallgerd feud that don't contribute much, to my taste.

The story of Hrut, Unn, and the Norwegian queen, however, was surprising and hilarious.
From:ex_mijra932
Date:October 30th, 2003 04:24 pm (UTC)
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I'm working on the original language (Old Icelandic, otherwise known as Old West Norse). When I read the saga earlier this year, I attemped to read it in two languages at once--I'm still pretty heavily dependent on English, but the Icelandic helped put things into some sort of context. In otherwords, yes, if you can get your hands on a copy in OI (or I can find you a link), you can read it in its original OI.

I think the Bergthora/Hallgerd feud is only supposed to indicate how good of men--and friends--Njal and Gunnar are. It also gives you a context in which to be introduced to the characters of Njal's sons. I tend to see the killing-and-atonement sequence just as an overstatement of a point, just as later Skarphedinn's physical features are repeatedly overstated.

The repetitiveness, like Cook's translation, is to some degree representative of this sort of story-telling. I kind of like it, although I agree that Cook's sentences do get old. At times they are amusing; they don't seem to be appropriate (see some of the battle scenes later... a few made me laugh).
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From:ukelele
Date:October 30th, 2003 05:24 pm (UTC)
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That is the sweetest deal ever.
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From:ijon
Date:October 31st, 2003 02:16 am (UTC)
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Yeah! Now I just have to figure out what I do with these lovely options. Expect deliberative posts in the near future...
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From:oddcellist
Date:October 30th, 2003 06:37 pm (UTC)
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Congratulations! Much luck with your reading list, and your exciting soon-to-be courses.
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From:ijon
Date:October 31st, 2003 02:14 am (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:cinamon
Date:October 31st, 2003 12:47 am (UTC)
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Congrats dear. :)

You know I thought you should be on that programs from day one;
I'm happy to find that TAU agrees with me on something... ;)
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From:mux2000
Date:October 31st, 2003 02:00 am (UTC)

Your Royal Mooseness!

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We are not worthy.
We are not worthy.
We are not worthy.

Congrats!
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From:ijon
Date:October 31st, 2003 02:14 am (UTC)

Re: Your Royal Mooseness!

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Ah, quit it.
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