Halley’s comet had come and gone, my wife was 32 weeks pregnant, I think I should have been at work, but no, in June 1986, I was doing an introductory English Literature examination worth 50% of the course mark.
Barbara Garlick had given us extensive notes on the form of the exam and a sample paper. I suspect she had grave fears that as we were both first year Arts students and well dispersed in a pre-internet world, we external students needed all the help we could get.
We were allowed to keep the paper that has my notes made during the ten minute perusal. From these scratchings it looks to me that for the poetry section, I selected Milton’s sonnet “On the Late Massacre in Piedmont” and Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth” to compare. For plays it was comparing the final scenes of “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Saint Joan.” For prose writing there was a question that allowed me to comment on specified images from novels and short stories. Given the option to discuss the cathedral in “The Spire” and snow in “The Dead”, it appears I took the opportunity to regurgitate some of my second assignment.
I must have done OK as I got a good mark for the subject, although as was customary, I got no specific feedback on the exam itself.
Reviewing the course materials, I’m taken by the depth of provided bibliographies, although how anyone would have had time to take advantage of the assistance is beyond me.