Today was the first day of winter quarter here at OU. I’m teaching two classes: Lesbian & Gay Literature and Restoration Literature, a graduate seminar. Both seemed to go well enough, but as usual I was way too manic. I tend to be overly hyper on the first day of the quarter. I don’t think that was much of a problem for the undergraduate class, but I feel sorry for my graduate students — I know I went way to fast through all sorts of random subjects. Oh well. Now I’m totally exhausted, which is probably not the best time to be blogging!

The weirdest part of the day was waking up to such warm weather. It was over 50 degrees when I woke up and just got hotter as the day went on. The high was near 70! In January! This, of course, created the problem of Ellis Hall being overheated — the heat was still on inside, and opening the windows didn’t cool it off all that much. I hate snow, so I’m not not entirely complaining, but it feels so odd to be so warm on the first day of winter quarter.

My classes meet from 1 to 3 and from 3 to 5 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jumping from one to the other is also going to be weird. I’m pretty sure my brain doesn’t switch gears that quickly. It will be interesting to see how it goes. I’ll be having office hours on M and W mornings, so I’ll be at school all day these two days. Hopefully, I’ll learn to work well in my office.

In the gay lit class, we went over the syllabus and then watched the first episode of the British version of Queer as Folk. Several of them seemed to laugh a lot during it, so I think that’s a good sign. I’m having them write about what this episode says about contemporary gay culture — is it critiquing it or praising it. I definitely think it’s making a statement about these “men’s” lives, and I’ll be interested to see if my students agree.

I love the British series (and not just because everything is better in England). Unlike the American version, the British one doesn’t mind making its characters look bad at times. They each have strengths and weaknesses. That makes them more human. The American version seems more interested in being sexy and glamorous — kind of like The L Word, which I watch. But neither show is about real people in any sense of the phrase. The British Queer as Folk at least tries to ground its character in some sort of reality or identifiable human qualities. I would show the whole series to my class, but we don’t have time. Someday it would be great to do a Russell Davies class — QaF, Dr. Who, Torchwood, and Bob and Rose.

My graduate students were pretty much forced to listen to me ramble for two hours. We talked a bit about Steven Zwicker’s 2006 article, “Is There Really Such a Think as Restoration Literature?”. We also talked about a little of the historical background to the period. And we discussed the highlights of their assigned reading, a chapter from Judith Bennett’s History Matters. Almost every one of them contributed to the class’s conversation, so that was good. But I talked way too much and felt like I was all over the place despite the fact that I had planned out what I was going to talk about before hand. Oh well. I’ll calm down next time I’m sure.

I’m looking forward to the quarter. Both classes should be a lot of fun. We’re definitely studying interesting texts in each. For Wednesday we’re watching a documentary in gay lit — Gay Sex in the 70s— and starting a discussion of Milton in the grad class. So, I guess a lot of nudity in both classes!

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