Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The student essay, now with less gorm

There's something compelling to the Bad Student Essay. It seems such a potent artistic medium for expression: there are so many ways you can make an argument go wrong. I'm tempted to go back to university now just so I can spend my time writing bad essays on brilliant writers. I mean, when I was a uni student I was just mediocre at it; now, I feel I can really bring to life the full force of Badness in my essays. I've been practising, here, have a look...

In Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge metaphorically illustrates the dangers of sailing.

Blake, in his poem The Sick Rose, eloquently speaks of the pleasures and troubles of gardening.

There is also a slight possibility that, in his poem Jim Hillaire Belloc is implicitly hinting at the dangers of being eaten by lions.

Ozymandias is a poem about a statue.

In the The Lady of Shallot Tennyson uses the full force of his poetic imagination to describe to us a tower.

It is impossible to say for sure what Burns' profoundly ambiguous poem To a Mouse is about.

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is clearly a book about racism. 

 Who can truly say what Edward Gibbon's book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire really deals with?

Alexander Pope's poem The Rape of the Lock is a stirring condemnation of the hairdressing fashions of his day.

However, a sexual interpretation of Andrew Marvell's poem To His Coy Mistress is just possible. 


Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

"While titles of books should be italicised, poem titles are not; instead, use quotation marks."

- actual thing I would actually say if marking these sentences. (Otherwise, A+ for insightful and original analyses, cogently argued.)

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

(Unless the poem itself constitutes a book.)

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...


Anonymous said...

TSEliot's "Wasteland" was about the dangers of bad urban planning.
Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" was about the dangers of grass trees in autumn.
Imagine the harvest day of literary citical pleasures the modern day morally righteous would have with Kipling, Conrad, Dostoevsky...lucky for them they were non-poetisers except old Kippers.


Morndrake Humf-Farquehson

Kate said...

The lyric fragments of Sappho clearly represent the limitations of a love-distracted mind, as no poems have been completed.

Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book is world literature's finest example of a soporific text.

In Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov launches an inexhaustible exploration of America's greatest roadside motels.

TimT said...

James Joyce's Ulysses, clearly an incisive biography of the life of the American war hero Ulysses Grant.

TimT said...

I wish I could quote the sentence that inspired this post. But I will hold my tongue. Let me just say it was a true masterpiece of the Bad Essay genre.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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