I have been writing a lot about my university experience on this blog, and people seem to enjoy it, so I thought I’d continue the theme – but that I’d combine it with another common topic, books!
I’m starting my third and final year of my degree in September, which means it’s dissertation time! My dissertation module is only one term, meaning my dissertation in 5,000 words instead of 10,000. I find that a bit odd for an English Literature degree BUT given the amount I’ll have to do for my other five modules, I’m not complaining.
I’m really excited about my dissertation because it’s a chance to study something I’m really interested in. Have a look at the books I’m using as primary sources and see if you can guess what topic I’m doing!
I began my research process knowing I would be referring to at least either Homer’s Odyssey or Virgil’s Aeneid. This is because I adored studying these earlier in my education, and I thought they would provide a good basis for my essay topic. As they are something I am already familiar with, however, I needed to branch out into other literature to give me a bit of a challenge.
The first book I looked at to compare these epics to was Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Norse Myths which, although interesting, wasn’t quite the type of literature I needed. It led me to purchasing the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson however, which is much more suitable. Although not an epic, the Prose Edda tells tales from Norse mythology, including how the world was made, and what happens when it ends.
Norse and Greek mythology are quite popular at the moment, and although I love them, I wanted to show an interest (and learn about) other mythologies. I considered Egyptian mythology (another semi-popular topic, and one of huge interest to me) but finding Ancient Egyptian literature I could study in this way was quite difficult. I began to look elsewhere, and discovered that The Bhagavad Gita could be just what I needed. There are other gitas that could also be useful, and I may look into at a later date.
Finally, so as not to overwhelm myself with lots of different books, my tutor suggested Dante’s Inferno. Another popular work, but one that is perfect for my topic.
As my essay will be so short, I couldn’t feasibly introduce more works of literature to compare. However, I have been reading into some, and I’m sure this module will encourage me to delve even further into the mythologies of different religions and civilisations. I find it fascinating, and I am truly looking forward to learning even more.
What topics fascinate you? Have you completed, or are you going to complete a dissertation you’re really interested in?
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