I presented my humble offering at 9:30 this morning and it actually went quite well. I received some very interesting and encouraging feedback from professors from different colleges. Though I was still tinkering with edits until 10 pm last night, the editing seems to have paid off. My professor, whose class I originally wrote the paper for is encouraging me to submit the paper to some scholarly journals.
That is why immediately after the conference I went to the library to check out some of my author's other works. The author my research is focused on is Colette, a French author from the early 20th century. Unfortunately, many articles on her are at least partially in French and it is hard to find good translations of some of her works. Even my college's library had more French texts than English translations.
I took French in high school. I can't say I was overly devoted to it. I knew that it would help me in literary studies, especially 19th century literary studies because one often finds French phrases sprinkled through such novels.
High school French helped with with novels such as Jane Eyre, The Awakening, and Lolita; all of which contain phrases in French. I did have to run to my French dictionary for some more complex or obscure terms, but it was enough. However, what little I recollect from high school is not enough in this case. Understanding linguistical nuances is almost always impossible once a text is translated. Take Chekov for example-- hilarious in Russian, depressing in English. All the satire is lost. I had no idea why The Seagull was classified as a comedy when I first read it.
Still, I feel good about my showing today. I was afraid that being in a room full of bright young things and professors would make me feel stupid, or out of my depths, but instead it was very stimulating and made me feel smart. Between sessions I had the opportunity to engage in some very interesting discussions. I've never thought of myself as a scholarly writer-- creative writing has always been my preference, but perhaps I can do a little of both.