Monday, March 2, 2009

Not Everything Needs a Point

The computer's up and running again, thanks to the help of a friend. Thanks, friend! Your efforts on behalf of this Person are greatly appreciated, and despite sticky floors, we here at PoC hope for your continued patronage in the future.

The improvement is much noticed; even the problem with the keyboard in which the "d" key wouldn't press properly is fixed, which makes no sense, but I'll take it anyway.

And now for something completely different. I was browsing through my bookcase today, and I came across a book I had purchased for a class on "The Literary History of Kent": Arden of Faversham. It's a play from the late 16th century, based on a real life event. In essence, a wife and her lover kill her husband in his own house, and the two are quickly (comically quickly, really) are caught by the law and hanged for their crimes. The play is roughly the same, except for additional early scenes involving Black Will and Shakebag (got to love these 16th-17th century character names), and their attempts to kill Arden while he's on a trip to London. These attempts are thwarted in farcical fashion--it's really fascinating how quickly the play goes from comedy to murder, without feeling like a betrayal in tone.

I've been thinking about the play recently because it evokes exactly what I've come to study--stumbled into, really--in my PhD work. The play is about the almost divine connection between person and place, how Arden thought himself safest at home. So it has that aspect of personality and selfhood--Arden = Faversham--and the wonderings concerning place. Is safety a necessary prerequiste for a place to be a home? How easily can home slide into not home? What is "safe"?

And to be truly honest, I probably wouldn't be thinking about this if it wasn't that another grad student hadn't given a research presentation, on a different aspect of the play, and reminded me of its existence. Except then, I remembered--I was quite insistent, in fact--that the play was "Arden of Haversham", and that she must be dealing with a different version. The revelation that I was wrong made me question how many other things slipped my mind. How much of my supposed professional knowledge is a hodge-podge of the half-true?

I'm not really going anywhere with this, but for what it's worth, I learned in the past few days that my personal sense of home is somewhat involved with--and this may be sad--my computer. When I lost the ability to browse Internet at will, I felt like I had lost my connection to the rest of the world. And without that, home didn't feel like home. I suppose it becomes fairly obvious when you think about it, but I guess home isn't home when you take away the option to leave.
Oh, and even though I couldn't fit it in, it totally fits with the subject at large, and it's still a favorite word, so: dwelling!
Later Days.

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