This year, I was a tutor for first-year student in English. I did indeed think I should write down all the anecdotes that make one smile (or cringe), but, of course, I never wrote down a thing. Anyway, I can remember a few and here are the two best ones.
For their drama essay, students had a choice of questions on classical/early modern drama or on modern drama. In the section on modern drama, was the following question: “How does ONE of the plays on the course present a commentary on the status of men in today’s society?”. A student decided to use Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (as opposed to a modern play by Beckett or Kane) to answer the question. As if that was not enough, she managed to write that Shakespeare had written this play in the 18th century. Say no more…
On their poetry course, students considered how some modern poets have revised the sonnet form. Amongst these poets was Patience Agbabi whose collection Bloodshot Monochrome contains a section called “Problem Pages”. In it, the speaker adopts the personae of an agony aunt trying to resolve famous poets’, such as Shakespeare, Keats and McKay, problems. Can you imagine my stupefaction when I realised during the tutorials that certain students actually believed that these were real letters written to Agbabi.
Don’t you just love it?