Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Wombats are Revealed

First passage: My Antonia by Willa Cather.

Second passage: Keats's letters.

I reread Willa Cather a few months ago. I'm going through a rereading phase. Rereading's the only way to understand a book. That's what I say. You only read so you can reread. Who said that? Someone. But it's true. True-ish, anyway.

Anyway: My Antonia. Much better than I remembered. I read it first in Iowa, where I felt the need to read books about settlers and the prairie. But it holds up. Holds up well. I then read O Pioneers, thinking I might go on a Willa Cather kick. (Good band name). O Pioneers didn't do as much for me. Though oddly it was at about this time that Levi's Jeans started showing those adds where pagan worship in blue jeans was accompanied by some prophet-sounding dude reading aloud from Whitman's poem "O Pioneers", which of course is where the Cather book takes its title from.

Now I'm reading my American History textbook from 11th grade pretty much exclusively. Because I have many students right now in AP US History. Which is pretty cool.

By the way, I've decided on my two favorite periods in US History. They are:
1) 1795-1815: Adams' presidency up to War of 1812. (XYZ affair. Rush-Bagot treaty. YES!)
2) 1890-1915

Maybe something to do with the national mood as the centuries turn? Not sure.

I'm kind of reading Wolf Hall, though I'm not making much progress.

Keats was a poet by the way. French. A Parnassian. He wrote Les Fleurs du Mal. Also, a few early episodes of Hawaii Five-O. (Little known but true).


Dezmond said...

I now teach AP U.S. History. I also like those time periods, although I also dig 1945-1973 as well.

ANCIANT said...

45-73? Really? I think that's in my least faves. Nothing really important happened then anyway, as far as I can recall.

I've been helping a bunch of different people prepare for the AP in US History these last few weeks. It's been fun. I spent all day reading about the War of 1812 and the Era of Good Feelings. Why can't we live in time periods that have names any more? Ours can be the Era of Broken Assumptions, or the Era of Positive Expectations that Go Unrealized. Or something.

JMW said...

I believe that prophet-sounding dude in the Levi's ad is Whitman himself. I'm not joking. In related news: nothing is sacred.

I will have to think about my favorite period in American history. Reading a few textbooks might help.

Dezmond said...

'45-'73, absolutely. It just has a bunch of stuff I've always been interested in. The Space Race. I love all the NASA history. Once the Space Shuttle came along it got boring. Capsules are where it's at. Korea and Vietnam, LBJ and Nixon, Castro, Cold War, Watergate, Civil Rights movement, riots and protests and the birth of rock and all of that. I think that is my most inspired teaching and lessons for AP, once we get out of WWII.

But no doubt, from around 1896-1920 is one of the best time periods as well. Imperialism and Progressivism. TR and Woodrow. League of Nations and the Philippines. Hey, did I just write a song? Can listing a bunch of historical facts be a song? Billy Joel thinks so.

ANCIANT said...

I like the idea of a Billy Joel type song based on events of, say, the 1880s. THAT would be funny.
"Grover Cleveland's back again!"

Jordan said...

I expect Anciant's next domestic post will be a lament, specifically a lament that his wife neither frequently re-readsanything, nor knows what the Rush-Bagot treaty is. Oh well. We can't have it all.