A nodal approach to literary history

For the first three weeks of the class I am teaching, we studied Grettir's Saga. Now we have moved on to a lesser known (but really wonderful) Ibsen play, Lady from the Sea. In discussing the transition to my students, I explained to them that transportation by ship plays a pivotal role in the development of the plot in both works, albeit in very different ways.

The transition from a medieval saga to a modernist play did not strike me as problematic when I was putting together my syllabus. Then I read something yesterday that said one of the characteristics of my Chinese zodiac sign (I was born in the year of the rat) is that I adapt to changing circumstances extremely quickly. Something that might take others several weeks to get used to, I get used to in a day.

This discovery was prompted by Palmer and I discussing the Chinese zodiac, after he was given a coloring assignment for the Year of the Rabbit. Here in the Bay Area of California, people from China and Chinese culture seep into all sorts of things.

So I guess I have adapted to that already too.

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