A while ago, I started putting the essays I wrote for my MA into a small section of my blog. Tonight, I noticed from my referral logs that at least six people have found my essay on Bound and that spurred me to do the work necessary to copy my final dissertation onto my blog (mostly reformatting and making the footnotes work in the very helpful plugin WP-Footnotes)
So, now you will find four short essays and one dissertation in the Writing section, that I hope will be of interest to a variety of people.
To get an MA on the Film Studies course at Nottingham University at the time, you had to take four modules, each of which ended with an essay, and then spend a summer writing a longer, 15,000 word dissertation. I wasn’t exactly a model student, and was not certain I would pass when I handed in my dissertation. Each of the four taught essays passed – but barely. The dissertation was supposed to break new academic ground, and be of original research, but when I got around to writing it, I found that the ground I was interested in had already been fairly well trampled.
All MA students were regularly encouraged to consider applying for PhD level study – and in my case, since I took the course part time over two years, I underwent the encouragement twice. But I think I found my level during the MA study. I don’t think I could actually complete a doctorate.
So here are links to the essays:
Splatter and Society: Braindead and Killer Condom in context – in fact, taking the horror modules was something I did entirely so that I could write about Braindead and Killer Kondom, the latter of which I saw when living in Paris, in German subtitled in French. The fun I had writing that essay is pretty evident from the essay. I got to write stuff like this and still earn credits for it:
This almost obligatory nod to the ur-Mother of all transvestite psychopaths, Norman Bates, is happily thwarted and for the first time the pair manage to catch a killer condom in the wild, by attaching it to a gas pipe and inflating it until it explodes.
“Where the prehistoric meets the pre-pubescent” – a tagline which the over-graphic box cover picture of the heroine plainly demonstrates as false
The central love story between endowed-like-an-elephant middle aged man who doesn’t shave very often, and strikingly attractive blond 20-year-old is one that figures throughout the canon of König’s work, eg Iago, where the protagonist is William Shakespeare, and Der bewegte Mann and its sequel Pretty Baby, where the attractive younger man is played in the film versions by Til Schweiger in the days when he was still a German superstar. He is now a Hollywood extra.
How did the second world war affect cinema in Nottingham? – this was a fascinating project which involved lots of looking through old editions of the Nottingham Evening Post in the Local Studies Library on Angel Row. I became a real dab hand at the microfiche reels!
And finally the dissertation:
That’s right. I got an MA by writing about Rupert Everett. This has been the subject of much derision from people with more serious academic credentials.
In addition to the academic curiosity, the reasons for enrolling on the MA course were all pretty trivial. I needed a reason to stay in Nottingham where all my friends were. And after four years of BA study, I actually wasn’t ready to stop writing essays, and I wanted an excuse to still write stuff. Shortly after completing my MA, I got elected to the city council – what better excuse to stay in a city? – and a year after that, I started blogging.