My sister will be here in an hour and a half, meaning that I will have lost half my blog readership. Well, lost internetly, but found somewhere around baggage claim. Speaking of which, I probably ought to begin the hike to Waverley. Look for a full update on her time here in a week. [Spoiler: We'll be making a three-day tour of the western half of Scotland, replete with tourbus and guide. Also a small taste of Festival, Fringe. And a crash course in Edinburgh, mostly on foot, led by yours truly.]


I had a dream last night that I was bicycling around a park with this 13 year old boy. The park was off Fred Waring Drive, just before or just after the wash - I can't remember exactly. I fell alot, and tried to explain to the boy that I hadn't been on a bike for more than a few seconds since I was thirteen. I kept using the hand-brake whenever I wanted to accelerate, as though confused with the ways of motorcycles. Strangely, no doubt because it was a dream, sometimes the hand-brake would help me accelerate.

None of this tells you anything about my life, of course. Mostly because it's been the same old thing as it has been for the last two months:
1. get up at an embarassingly late hour; eat some amazing cereal and drink coffee in my room while checking email and... oh my goodness, i just discovered the weirdest blister on my toe. Gotta go figure out what to do with it...

false alarm. It was one of Flatmate Jess's contacts stuck to my foot. No wonder the 'blister' was so remarkably round, shiney, and tinted of blue. No wonder I could not recall how or when it had been acquired. Yes, this is what I do with my days.
2. after breakfast and some scuttling about on the internet, I open up my word documents - the ones with all my notes in disarray - and set about putting them in some kind of order. I write a bit here and there, realize that I am not incorporating the massive quantity of quotations and references in my writing, try to correct that, forget, go off on tangents, cut the whole thing and place it in a separate document of useless but undeletable fragments, hear Flatmate Jess leaving her room, prop my door, pretend to work while chatting with her across the hall, create a new playlist on iTunes.
3. make dinner (because breakfast was too late in the day to allow for lunch) for at least an hour - even if it's just chicken nuggets, turn on the news to catch up on the flood levels in western England, go back to my room and look up clips of favorite tv shows or random interviews online - trying to avoid the tacky music montages, check my email
4. chat with emily for about three hours
5. watch a movie with flatmate(s)
6. check email several more times, say goodnight to everyone, close my door, curl up in bed with my laptop, and google myself to sleep

What a dreary existence. I don't think I should admit to it publicly. There are exceptions, such as today, when I update my blog, put on real clothes, and go to the library to pay off my now astronomical fines. Or yesterday, when I went to the shop on the King's Buildings campus to buy milk and orange juice. Sometimes I bring my notes to Blackford Lounge and sort through them over bad cappuccino and cheesy campus-decor. There are all sorts of ways to spice up one's life, and I take advantage of them all! Sometimes...


It occurred to me recently that I have been unduly silent for a very long time in the pages of this blog as to my whereabouts and goings-on. That is mainly because I have been busy both in working on my dissertation and in studiously doing nothing. As proof of this, I am posting a copy of my most recent dissertation outline below. It is relatively uninteresting, and I would suggest that you skim or skip it if you are not widely interested in the topic of the intentional composition of mythology, tradition, and classical epic. Even if you are interested in such things, the outline may be a bore. I provide it only to show that I am doing something significant while I neglect the lot of you - though I doubt it will be much consolation. I apologize if the format of the post is a bit funky. The process of cutting and pasting this thing has proved more difficult than a simple series of right-clicks.


Macpherson’s Ossianic narratives were composed in the midst of changing definitions of poetic genres and shifting standards of literary values. As a result, they both represent these changes and influence them. I will be exploring the specific influences of the literary studies of Blackwell and Lowth upon Macpherson’s writing, and the influence Macpherson had upon Blair’s literary theories. My arguments will be specifically focused on the definitions of the poet, the bard, the epic, and mythology in the context of the studies of human and societal development in the eighteenth century. Ultimately, I wish to show that the confusion as to the genre of these poems has caused them to be generally disregarded in critical conversation. [Assuming that they are not being ignored simply because they are boring.]



Macpherson’s inspiration

the resulting confusion of genre

why establishing genre is important for critical consideration; why it is unimportant for the ultimate purposes of literature (that is, the confusion led to Ossian being forgotten, but it did not hinder the popularity of the poems among a wide international audience for many years)


the need for an epic:

Scottish nationalism

the preservation of Gaelic tradition

Macpherson’s own literary aims

the standards of the epic:

Primary or Oral Epic

Blackwell’s vision of Homer and how it influence Ossian

Secondary or Literary Epic

Virgil, Milton, and canonical considerations


Gaelic tradition:


the role of the bard in ancient society

how the ballads lasted for so long

the history of preserving them

how Macpherson’s Ossian participated in this preservation

eighteenth-century literary fashion

ballads in writing

the sentimental ‘bard’

how Ossian embodies this fashion


local mythology

Gaelic traditions and superstitions (fairies and Druids and the second sight)

how Macpherson avoids this and why

heroic mythology

superheroes and gods

how Macpherson got one and got rid of the other

religious mythology

why Ossian would have benefited from familiarity with the Supreme Being, and how Macpherson decided against introducing them anyway

why Macpherson chose to write like King Solomon, and what Dr Lowth has to say about it all




Aight! here's the dealio. My sister's visiting in three and a half weeks, which is the joy of my life, the sun of my summer, and I gotta be prepared. So this is how it's goin' down. There's gonna be a rough draft of this dissertation in my advisor's inbox by the time Emily gets here, or else . . . something fierce.

I'm lookin' forward to her coming - we're gonna hunt us a Haggis, get the low-down on the Nessie situation, and hit up some of the more widely frequented apparel shops over in New Town. Be prepared.
There was an error in this gadget