1. Early English Books Online (EEBO)
EEBO is an incredibly fascinating tool for getting students excited about Renaissance texts, particularly Shakespeare, Marlowe and their contemporaries. The site features entirely searchable scans online of original manuscripts, some complete with illustrations of frontispieces and other visual representations that in early modern England, were designed to complement if not, critique themes in the text. This tool allows students to engage critically with the materiality and metatextual questions that emerge from studying literature, overlapping other disciplines like history and art. The downside of this platform is that at present, it requires subscription.
Luminarium is a encyclopedic database focused on literature stemming from the medieval period to the Restoration period and is useful mostly for establishing context for set texts ranging from the 14-18th centuries. While Luminarium provides useful, trustworthy links to other helpful sites and is thus a library of hyperlinks, the best thing about Luminarium is its rich archive of canonical paintings/images that are visual depictions of themes and issues prevalent at the time. They are enormously useful for providing visual companion texts in the teaching of the set texts and period papers in the Singapore syllabus.
Pennsound is a ambitious pioneering project to archive and index the performances of poetry by major American poets themselves. William Carlos Williams, Robert Creeley, John Asbery, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) are just some of the poets featured on the website. The assumption behind this project is that poetry is performative in nature, and performances of the poems lend additional layers of meaning for interpretation, if not appreciation. Thus, although there are many academics featured alongside poets, the website offers the opportunity of the aural performance as an interpretive study of the text. And this, all free. The biggest weakness of the website is its American-centrism in choice of poets.
Part 2- Interests
- Reading theology
- History- especially philosophical and history, but also random histories
- Movies- particularly trilogies- Star Wars, the Matrix, The Lord of the Rings
- Traveling and exploring cities
Part 3- Application of interests to teaching of literature
1. Exploring Cities In Verse (Traveling and exploring cities)
- Lesson: Pre-activity- introducing the cities of the world with photography, movie clips, songs/odes to cities with an emphasis on historical and political context, the role of the imagined speaker.
- Task: Studying the form and features of Rudyard Kipling's The Song of the Cities and composing a description of Singapore
2. Allegory in the Lord of the Rings (Movies, particularly trilogies)
- Lesson: Introducing symbolism through the study the Lord of the Rings. Pre-activity- introduction of different modes of the text- in film vs. poetry vs. stage performances.
- Task: Select one major symbolic device in the text and describe how it works to make meaning in the text in a short essay/presentation.
3. The Canonical National Day Songs (History, particularly philosophical and political history)
- Lesson: Pre-activity- introducing clips of Singapore's National Day songs for the last 10 years of so. Describing the literary constructedness of Singaporean history through a few thematic strands that stretch through the canon of NDP songs.
- Task: Identify one thematic strand that extends through 3 NDP songs and present how this strand works in constructing history through language, and its prospective implications.