My final final (exam, that is) was this morning: English Literature 1740-1830. The exam was held in a large room with rows of desks lined up military-style, each desk possessing an exam and an answer booklet with the student’s candidate number written on it. Of course, like all procedures at Sussex, this procedure was unnecessarily complicated and had not been explained to me ahead of time. Thus, unaware that I would need my candidate number, I had to rush off and find out what it was (although, as it turns out, it was written on my student ID card all along) in order that I could take the exam. This mini-crisis notwithstanding, I finished my three essays in a record time of 2½ hours and was the first student to walk out of the exam room. Hopefully that was a good sign, as I have never been the first to finish an exam in all of the time I have studied at Rochester.
In honor of finishing this course—and because I can now happily forget all of the names and dates I memorized “just in case” I needed them for an essay—I will include some of my favorite quotes from the coursework. I particularly liked William Blake’s poetry, because he used it to examine the morals and beliefs of the time period. In one particular poem, “Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” Blake suggests that Heaven may actually be a “hell of rationality and rules,” whereas Hell may actually be a “heaven of sensuality.” His poetry builds throughout the piece to argue that Heaven coincides with energy, and anything thwarting that energy is bad. The following excerpts are taken from a subset of this poem, The Proverbs of Hell, (from which I quoted once before, in an earlier post):
Other Blake quotes that are worth pondering: