This was one of two subjects I took in second semester 1989. What possessed me to do two subjects is not clear to me at all now and I certainly didn’t make that mistake again. Perhaps buoyed by a good result in Medieval Literature I thought I could get my BA done in half the time, but I was working full time in General Practice and completing the Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of the Family Medicine Program and, while that wasn’t as difficult as the hospital years had been, it was still a heavy enough work load without trying to do two arts subjects at once.
This was my sixth English subject and at the time constituted a major. It was taken by Mr D.H. Henderson who, as usual, provided voluminous lectures, reading guides, assistance with assignments and preparation for the examination. He also had to suffer my below par essays full of spelling mistakes, convoluted syntax and tortured argument.
We covered the novels, Moll Flanders, Pamela I, Joseph Andrews and Gulliver’s Travels. I recall Pamela in particular as being interminable. There was also some Samuel Johnson and poetry by Dryden, Pope, Swift, Gray, etc. …and plays by Gay and Congreve. …and I was reading for a Government subject.
One big change was the arrival of a computer. The already old fashioned Commodore 64 was purchased for the sole purpose of doing multiple choice questions over the telephone for the RACGP. There was a very expensive item called a Tandata unit that you could borrow from the college, plug into a phone line and do MCP questions towards the certificate. We were informed that a $15 cartridge inserted into a Commodore 64 would achieve the same outcome, and so it did. It also introduced us to banking from your home computer many years before the internet.
With the primitive word processor on the Commodore 64, I could now type for myself. This meant more spelling errors (no spellcheck and no wife typing and correcting howlers on the fly). The printer we had was a peculiar device with a plastic ribbon in three colours that took an age to print not very distinct letters, but it was just about readable. It is however not very scannable after all these years so I will have to retype the essays.
Assessment was two essays of ~1000 words each and an examination. I am reasonably sure I did not keep up with the reading this time.