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It Got Even Better

The beginning of this semester was chaotic.  I had a horrible cold for the first week and then contracted an excruciating muscle spasm in my neck that immobilized my whole upper body.  I couldn't make my schedule work, my adviser is on sabbatical this semester, and I wound up in a weird selection of classes.  I have been panicked that this term would again place me in the panic of last term's finals week, and frankly I didn't think I had the steam to do it again.  My energy and morale were low.

BUT - my cold went away (definitely because Greer came to visit and was such an excellent weekend nurse), my neck thing gradually disappeared, and a TA position that had been up in the air ended up coming through.  The class is called "Representations of Love in Italy" and it's the dream syllabus.  We started with Plato (yes, not Italian, I know) and so far have done Catullo and Ovid, and will move through the ages with Italian writers in love.  It's just fantastic.

I led my first discussion section today and was so filled with joy.  Getting to work with undergrads everyday to consult the ancients on matters of the meaning of life?  A dream.  I am filled with renewed energy to keep chugging along with this PhD idea to see if it could happen.  I have always known I wouldn't do it unless my irrepressible joy gave me no choice, and lately that seems to be the case.

I am taking:

1.  Augustine

2.  Medieval Christology and Atonement Theory

3.  Victorian Poetry

4.  Theology, Metaphysics, and Poetry

And then the class I'm TAing.  It's looking like a great semester.

The Victorian Poetry class is taking me back to some of my favorite moments in college - the ones that first conveyed to me that academia could be an option for me.  That fourth class is a reading course with Denys Turner, my Yale Divinity School hero, where four students gather weekly to sit at Denys' feet and do theological readings of any poems we choose.  Denys made a rule that we can only establish the topics two weeks in advance so that the course can flow with our own developing interests.  Tentatively, we plan on the Song of Songs, St. John of the Cross, Jeremy Taylor, Donne, Herbert, Hopkins, Coleridge, Dante, Shakespeare, and Eliot.  It's almost too good to be real, and I spend most of our class periods (which have to established time period - we sit there for as many hours as we like, which is usually many hours) fighting tears.

It's a colossal amount of work, but it is my sheer delight to do it.  I am so, so happy.


  1. You just amaze me with you joy and zeal!

    I think it's contagious :)

    And happiness... Oh, happiness... One of the truest and most amazing gifts from God!

    Glad you are feeling better and loving life Catherine!

  2. Wow! Sounds like a dream come true in so many ways! La Dolce Vita, Principessa! I'm dreaming of a PhD, too. Lots to share from the first two weeks! I'm so glad we're in this thing together! Those freshman have no idea how lucky they are!

  3. Bummer you weren't feeling well, but I'm glad everything has worked out :-) I had to google the meaning of your entire schedule, but it looks rad and I'm glad you're pumped. :-) You are going to be an awesome TA. I remember all of the great insight you gave in our jr. great books circles starting at the age of 8... so I can't even imagine the insight and thought you'll be giving now! You were made for this. xoxo - LC


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