Middle English Word of the Moment

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Possible thesis titles...?

So, just as I'm trying to think of a title for my thesis, Per Omnia Saecula posted a link to something worryingly called The Amazing and Incredible, Only-Slightly-Laughable, Politically Unassailable, PoMo English Paper Title Generator. It provided amusement for all of five minutes! Here is what it suggested for SGGK (minus some repetitions of "the Gawain-poet's" because it wanted to put the author's name in there, which is rather pointless when we don't know it):

1. Speaking, Complicating, Queering: Homoerotics in the Gawain-poet and the Oriental Problematics of Dissection in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Well, Gawain does kiss Bertilak six times, completely unaware of possible 20th century homoerotic readings of the act, poor lad. But I really don't want to start analysing how that relates to the dissection of the carcases on the three days of the hunt. (Possibly via the symbolic castration of the reciprocal beheading scenes...?)

2. Territories as Notions: Alienating Marginalized Production in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
True! Many of the most beautifully produced objects in the poem come from Generic Exotic Foreign Locale. Let us read this as a decentralisation of post-colonial economic nationalisation and reconstruction!

3. Representing, (Be)laboring, Hybridizing: Ethnicity in the Gawain-poet and the Encoded Attraction of Murder in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Barely there, unless by extensiving (be)labouring of the point. Given 'ethnicity' in the poem is confined to a very narrow social, cultural and racial strata (basically, they're all English noblemen, except for the women, who don't count, and a guide and a porter, who are generic churls), there isn't much cross-analysis we can do. But there's plenty of murder! And a very attractive murderer-to-be. As a matter of fact, the Lady is quite attractive too - she could be said to be attracting him towards his own murder.

4. The Gawain-poet Fraying Seduction: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Subtext of Essentialism
I'm afraid I can only understand one word here in the context of the poem, and that's 'seduction'. So clearly an ideal paper title. There's plenty of subtext, after all, and the girdle probably frayed a bit after all that riding back home to Camelot through the wilderness.

5. The Postmodern Sectioning The Alien: the Gawain-poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Religion
Once again with the sectioning. Apparently those poor deer and the boar and the fox are more important than I thought. Also implicitly connected to the alien, the external - presumably the Green Knight? He is associated with the forest, after all! And the poem is, of course, permeated with religion. Perhaps the disassembling of body parts is how one assimilates the alien, making Gawain and his antagonist closer and more similar after Gawain's implicit decapitation than could have been a possibility before. We have a metaphor for this in the literal assimilation of the dissected 'alien' deer - they got eaten, didn't they? Proof! I think we have a winner.

Of course, none of this have the tiniest relevance to my thesis, and I was, I humbly admit, considering something a little more comprehensible and, well, interesting. But at least now I know what real paper titles look like!

1 comment:

Lady D. said...

LOL Ceirseach!!! And I thought it was to be a serious post from the title!

But honestly, academic language is an art form all in itself. I'm sure some researchers compete to see who have come up with the most incomprehensible titles just to make themselves look really 'clever'. Of course, we know better ;-)