Thank you for not listening

Category: NTU

Disappointment

When the disappointing performance of someone else causes one’s own contribution to appear substandard to that person, and they then react in a dismissive manner in front of a group of one’s peers. One is left feeling disappointed by the whole sorry exchange.

I do note that the pattern for this year has been one of my being obliged to trust to others with more power, authority, or professional training, to make the right decisions, and of each time being let down. And in the midst of all this, only my own performances have been of sufficient quality *not* to provoke disappointment, from either those they were intended for (who sometimes may not have cared enough to register any disappointment) or from myself (who, perhaps foolishly, persists in caring.)

Yes, I have outperformed all-comers (which has not been difficult), but unfortunately it has counted for little as I simply do not have any power or authority to exercise, over others, over events, over myself. One can do one’s absolute best and still fall to a resounding defeat. Behold me! The living proof of this fact.

Such has been 2020. May it soon be over. Here’s Samuel Johnson doing penance in the market square at Uttoxeter, having committed the sin of pride as a boy by refusing to help his father sell books.

Crowe, Eyre; Johnson (1709-1784), Doing Penance in the Market Place of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

First semester over

That was not so hard.

The only low point was withdrawing from a class on Sophocles because the instructor would return from the break reeking of cigarettes.

The class on Victorian novels had a great instructor. I am just finishing my paper on Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, and we also read Frankenstein, Dracula, The Island of Dr Moreau, Flush, and Sirius.

Next semester will be more intense as I take five or six classes and become a full-time student.

NTU Graduate Program

I will shortly begin my graduate studies in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University.

National Taiwan University

In the first semester I am taking three courses:

  • Research methods
  • Victorian novels and material culture
  • Sophocles’ Antigone

Naturally, I am very excited about studying at Taiwan’s best university. But before the classes begin, I am desperately trying to finish reading the required texts for the Victorian novels course: Our Mutual Friend, Vanity Fair, Middlemarch, Jane Eyre.

While ploughing through these enormous novels, I console myself by imagining constructing a term paper on Rudyard Kipling’s Stalky & Co.

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