Things I have learned in grad school already…

…that would have really helped me when I took the GRE Subject Test in English last year.

  • Anything about 18th-century British lit, which I’ve already had an entire semester on and may well be doing my thesis on.
  • Stuff about poetry (tropes, if you will): alexandrines, Petrarchan sonnets vs. English sonnets vs. Spenserian sonnets, blazon, synecdoche, enjambment, zeugma. (Yes, I really do know about all those things now, and yes, they really did all show up on the subject test last year.)
  • Theory: Foucault, Derrida, structuralism, post-structuralism, formalism, New Historicism, New Critics, New Formalism, feminist theory, Marxist literary theory.
  • Authors: Swift, Defoe, Richardson, Dryden, Pope, Addison, Gray, Collins, Cowper, Cowley, Davenant, Shakespeare, Spenser, Sidney, Petrarch, Lady Mary Wroth, the Rossettis, Johnson, Sterne, et. al.
  • History: I now have a pretty firm grasp on the English monarchy, church and Parliament from ~1580-1901.

It’s amazing what a semester and a bit will teach you. I’ll tell you, when I take that GRE Subject Test again, I am going to rock that sucker.

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