How excited am I? You’ll never guess, so I’m just going to tell you: very very very. Very.
This is because, the stark comparison between my recent unsatisfactory learning and studying week (I passed the exam, btw), and actual, real study made me realise that I hadn’t used my brain in, like, totally forever. Granted, for most of last year I didn’t have a brain, but it seems to be growing back now and even the bits that were asleep are waking up, stretching and saying ‘I’m starving!’
So I winged off a quick email to the Open University, outlining the vaguest of possible ideas for an MPhil in Classical Studies and Pop Culture and asking them if it was even worth working the thought up into a research proposal? My idea was to look at the Euripidean influence on Season 2 of True Blood, which from what I’ve read of the series synopsis, has a major Dionysian arrival myth going down at the hands of evil maenad, Maryann. The source for any information on maenadic behaviour can only be Bacchae, because it’s all that is extant.
And today, the lady from the OU, she said well, the original idea is a bit thin for an MPhil, but if you’re prepared to:
- Look at Dionysian allusions and motifs in mass culture, e.g. The Secret History
- Also look at Ovid’s take on dangerous epiphanies, e.g. Pentheus in Met. 3
- And discuss Nietzsche’s Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy as part of the framework
- And then put True Blood in the light of all that
then I might be on to a winner. For reals? I loved The Secret History all those years ago and I have probably read it half a dozen times; it’s been yonks since I read Ovid but this is the perfect chance to get the Ted Hughes version of Metamorphoses; and although I don’t love Nietzsche, I have read The Birth of Tragedy and revisiting it is not that scary a prospect. Plus, if you’re going to talk dangerous epiphanies in mass culture, then my thoughts go straight to Buffy. Part of her job description was basically to stop the apotheosis of vastly unpleasant deities.
Geek worlds collide. FTW.
As well, I don’t know anything about studying pop culture, so that would be a whole new area to get my head around. The awesomeness just continues. I’d be able to do a shedload of work in the Sackler Library, which is all of 10 minutes from the office and which I’ve been pining to get back into ever since I got back to Oxford. Get me a Bodleian card, stat.
The next step is full research proposal, which shouldn’t be that difficult to put together after a bit of work. Then there’s the fact that I’ll probably have to move, because I can’t afford this rent and the OU, but that’s a minor detail and will sort itself out nearer the time.
So now I’m off to do what every other researcher does when getting started: check Wikipedia.