Monday, August 27, 2012

One-Layer Wednesday 102: While We're on the Subject

Ardyth's first OLW challenge is to make a card based on your favorite school subject.

Well, I often have a problem with the word favorite (or favourite, as Canadian Ardyth spells it). I loved most subjects in school except physical education, and yet somehow I still ended up taking two pleasurable semesters of swimming in college, despite the fact that I chose Duke because there was no physical education requirement.

But given the fact that I majored in English and went on to earn a graduate degree in English literature, it was only logical for me to make a couple of literature-themed cards.

Oh how much fun I had! Thanks, Ardyth, for giving me an excuse to parade my geekiness for the stamping world to see!

First up, a card using Papertrey's All Booked Up. That book is one of my favorite images EVER, because it's so simple and big and clean and perfect. Coloring the bookmark my favorite color: pear tart. And now I'm giggling because pears are part of the reason I majored in English, but that's another story.

Next, I pulled out my alphabet stamps and made a fun word collage of some of my favorite authors' names. The inks are angel pink, black, london fog, and gray flannel from Memento. The hearts are arranged in a visual triangle, as are the names for each color.


Just realized I forgot the dots over the e in Bronte. I'd planned on using a colon stamp on its side to make that umlaut or whatever you want to call it.

Just realized I have no idea how to type the html code to make the umlaut in Blogger.

I can live with that.

What a fun challenge! If you haven't played, there's still time. What's your favorite subject?


For those of you who read Simplicity for stamping, you are excused. For those who read because I rattle on weirdly about whatever's in my head, you may stay, but only if you like literature, because really, this is some serious literary nonsense.

Chaucer wrote Canterbury Tales, and I wrote my master's thesis on The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale. But the best tale in Canterbury Tales is The Miller's Tale. It's a big part of why I majored in English...because it's bawdy and it's literature! Literature can be bawdy, and oh, my, that makes it fun! Another reason why I majored in English is found in The Merchant's Tale, where a pear tree figures largely in the plot as the place for an illicit tryst. The shape of the pear...oh, never mind. Just read this.

Keats wrote "Ode to a Nightingale," one of the prettiest poems in modern English, and my paper on it earned an A from Professor Gleckner. Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" wasn't too shabby, either.

Milton wrote Paradise Lost. In 12th grade, my paper on Paradise Lost earned me an A+ for the rest of the year. "There's nothing more I can teach you in high school, Susan," said Mr. Lentz. "Now, write like that for some reason other than the grade." There's a reason why Sylvia Plath isn't on this card. The next paper I wrote was on her Colossus, and it was beyond terrible and so very hard to write. I studied Milton again with the famous Reynolds Price (novelist and scholar) at Duke. You can read about that here.

Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Can you just imagine how horrible the world would be without Darcy and Lizzy? It doesn't bear considering.

Wordsworth wrote all sorts of amazing poems, but the one that sticks with me is "I wandered lonely as a cloud." I like daffodils.

Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, of course, but less well known and even better is her novel Villette. This novel provoked a firestorm of controversy in my graduate class on the Victorian novel, taken with Dr. Nancy West, who was an absolutely fabulous teacher. If you haven't read it already, please do so, and then tell me if you liked the ending or if it made you flaming angry.

Shakespeare wrote a bunch of sonnets and plays. Some are truly great, some are really good, and a few are just annoying. My favorite plays are Hamlet, Much Ado about Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest. Which are your favorites?

Joseph Conrad wrote The Heart of Darkness. It contains the single creepiest-yet-beautiful-sounding sentence in the English language: "A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from some corpse." Yep. Read that when you're sixteen and suffering major depression. It'll stick with you.

And then there's Dante, author of The Divine Comedy. It's just cool. In a literary sense, of course, it's truly brilliant, genius, absolutely remarkable, eternally complex. Plus, Dante figured out a way to put all the people who annoyed him in real life into hell and had the fun of showing how they were tortured for eternity for their sins. That he could be so petty and write such an amazing piece of literature at the same time is so medieval. When I was introducing it to a World Lit class I taught at Troy University, I actually teared up and wasn't at all embarrassed.

But great literature has that effect on us English majors. We're weird that way.


  1. My son, the English major from NYU, would love these cards. (How I wish I had that PTI set.) I must confess that he has criticized me for not reading enough of the classics; I'm hooked on the light stuff. These cards are fabulous!

  2. Thank you so much for the trip down classic lit memory lane, Susan. Back in my day, (tee hee) elementary ed majors had an "Area of Concentration" and I chose English. Have read so many of the works and authors you mention. Also remember taking lit classes at SFSU on my way to obtaining a CA teaching license. Wonder when my grandkids (9, 10 & 11) will be old enough to read Dante and Chaucer. Love your cards!

  3. Love the cards Susan, and I will see if I can get hold of a copy of Villette, sounds interesting. The Shakespeare you chose would be top of my list too.

  4. Wow, now that brings back some memories~Great Cards!TFS Susan

  5. ë - hold down the alt key while typing 137 on the number pad (not the top row numbers) :-)

    Love reading your posts. And the cards are wonderful too.

  6. love the book card - and the education (information) on the authors.

  7. Love both the cards! I think the one with all the writers names is my fav though.

    I admit, I am not very enthusiastic when it comes to "literature". I read...A LOT...but most of it falls under the "fluff" category. One of best friends majored in literature at Yale many years ago. I once asked her for a "reading list" so I could feel more like a grown-up when discussing books.

    It's taken about 20 years but I finally moved past the Narnia series by C.S.Lewis and read Sense and Sensibility AND Pride and Prejudice on my Mom's Nook.

    I could not get to enchanted with Darcy and/or Lizzy because I was too aggravated by the social barriers of the time influencing the romance. Made my blood BOIL!

    As for Shakespeare; I have the marvelously talented actor Kenneth Branagh to thank for making it "accessible" to me. I had the pleasure of seeing Kenneth and his then wife Emma Thompson perform in MidSummer NIght's Dream in Chicago many years ago. It was WONDERFUL!! Also, I love Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V because of the movies made with Kenneth in them. He has a way of delivering the lines that makes them easy to understand. More so then when I read them for myself.

    And that's my "literature" babble for today! :-)

  8. Yes, Mary. I saw Henry V with my mom, and we both were ready to pick up swords and go into battle after the St. Crispin's Day speech! KB is an amazing actor, and it broke my heart when he and Emma Thompson split.

    Did you watch the deleted scenes from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? There's a scene with Emma as Trelawny that should have earned her an Oscar! Plus, I love her in Stranger than Fiction.

  9. Wow.... Love your authors card. Very creative!

  10. Love the cards, since reading your post this morning I have purchased Papertrey's All Booked Up and downloaded Villette to my Kindle! thanks :)

  11. Okay, so your cards are fabulous. I will someday make a pear card JUST FOR YOU, by the way. But I adore the author card!!! I am going to make one with my favorite authors even though the challenge is over just because it's an amazing idea! I tried Villette and never could finish. I shall try harder and read it to the end! I adore Hamlet. I HATE Romeo and Juliet. The heart of darkness really freaked me out. I can't image the world without Darcy and Lizzy but the real tragedy would be a world without Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot. Or Edward and Eleanor. Those are my two favorites. :) Now that you've read all that, I'm sure you're exhausted! Hope all is going well with school starting for your sons! :)

  12. Love both your cards - the pop of pear (giggle!) on the first (also my favourite colour!) and the way you used all the alphabets and the soft pink hearts behind - I can see a baby or wedding card coming out of that! Thanks for playing along on my first challenge (and for inviting me to be a hostess - it's so much fun!)

  13. Your first card is super CAS and I love the splash of green (pear tart - hee!)
    Your second card has me swooning! Perfect visual triangle of hearts, awesome variation of fonts and features some of my fave names too - I think Dickens would have to be on my version!
    My favourite Shakespeare play is Much Ado About Nothing and I'm a sucker for re-reading Austen's Sense and Sensibility (I like it even more than Pride and Prejudice....although I do like Colin Firth as Mr Darcy LOL!)
    Sorry for the babble - I tend to get excited by literature talk! ;D

  14. I actually audibly inhaled my breath when I saw the first card! I LOVE IT, Pear Tart and all! And, as if that and the authors card weren't enough, I now have several books to add to my already long reading list. I loved Hamlet, but only after I read Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It's one of the best books from my secondary education. I would be deeply depressed if I didn't have literature to lend some new dimension to my life. Classic or modern fluff stuff, it doesn't matter to me. Just reading is pure joy.

  15. Ahhh, Susan, love that you love literature. Also assuming you have a t shirt that says: I'm an English major. You do the math.

  16. While I love that t-shirt, Mary, I was actually on the math team in high school and won the math award at graduation. I've forgotten most of it over the years, but I really could rock differential equations at one point in my life!

    What I want is the shirt that has Darcy's declaration of love to Lizzy on it. Or that $70 composition-paper lined t-shirt. It's gotta go on sale sometime!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!