Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Yes, I Did Pass the Course AA100, The Arts Past and Present

Happy news today as I received a pass result for my work on the course AA100, The Arts Past and Present. I was studying the course from March until early September, and it was a lot of work I found. The final essay was an examinable component (you either pass or fail the whole course), and it had been a lot of work all those months, so I was rather anxious, and now I'm relieved and rather pleased.

Since then, after only just over a month's rest, I've since embarked on studying the course A150 Voices and Texts, which is only half as much work (and only half as many credits). But this one has a real examination at the end of it. A150 is designed to follow on from AA100 and focuses on language in a wide range of contexts and from the perspective of different academic subjects, including classical studies, history, literature, music, religious studies, creative writing and English language studies. At the moment we are studying Homer's Iliad, and working in a group on a collective essay written using a wiki.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Friend of Faustus, The German Valdes or Germán Valdés

I have recently been reading in some depth the play "Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe as part of my studies for course AA100: The Arts Past and Present. I was intrigued by the numerous references to the Spanish. At the beginning of the drama, Faustus seeks the advice of two friends who are well experienced in the black arts. One is named Cornelius, and the other is "The German Valdes." This might not have arouse much curiosity on the part of most readers, as the play is set in Germany and it would be unremarkable that one of the characters be German. Except that most of the characters are, too. So why single out Valdes to be described as German?

However, being well acquainted with the Spanish language, to me the name leaps off the page. "Germán" is a popular forename in Spanish-speaking cultures. I haven't read any printed analyses of the play, and searching on the Web has proved fruitless because of the quantity of published copies of the text. so maybe someone has written about this before, in which case I would like to hear about it.

The Wikipedia article about the name Germán gives a list of famous people with the name. The most famous was the Mexican film star Germán Valdés.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Opera about a not-so-perfect American

I just posted in Spanish about the new Philip Glass opera that just had its world première here in Madrid, and which I saw last night, Opera sobre la vida del americano no tan perfecto.