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Category: Study Page 1 of 3

Doing Classics at School? We got ya!

So, school is still a thing? Right?! I’m betting it is pretty hard to do school stuff from home as well as be around your family/bubble crew all day, as well as deal with what’s going on in the world. Lots of stuff happening, we can all agree. As I’m sure you know your teachers are doing everything they can in these hard times to keep your education ticking so be sure to say a massive thank you to the teachers in your life whenever you get a chance!

I thought I would put together a list of resources for anyone who is a CLASSICS student and is studying The Big Three.

Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, you ask?… (remembering the good ‘ol days of Percy Jackson)

No. The Odyssey, The Iliad and The Aeneid. These are three really common texts for senior High School Classics students to come across. If you’re doing something else at school -I’m sorry!- I’ll include some general resources in the bottom of this post.

Note: just like Shakespeare there are lots of different versions of ancient texts, with different page numbers, line numbers and even order of events. If you remember that a lot of these works are actually works of epic poetry it makes sense that depending on interpretation there might be quite different methods of presentation.  Remembering that some of it is poetry helps with reading it too, stick to the beat and rhyme rather than getting caught up in all the particulars and then later on go back and look up individual words you need to.

So: Check with your teacher what version of the text you are meant to be using!!!

Also: Heads up! Lots of ancient texts contain stories and imagery of violence and sexual violence, so look after yourself and check ratings of stuff (or avoid it completely if you need, talk to your teacher) if you are watching film versions.


Odyssey / Homer

Overdrive coverMini bio: Odysseus, after fighting in the Trojan War, tries to return back home to Ithaca and his wife Penelope, but because a lot of weird stuff happens to him, it takes ten years…you heard that right: ten years! 

  • This is a foundational example of a heroes quest.         
  • Odysseus is repeatedly shown to have the traits of Ancient Greek heroism through the ways that he defeats and overcomes the trials/tasks of his journey.
  • This story has been incredibly influential on storytelling since and is considered a fundamental text in our understanding of the time and ideas around manhood, heroism and what a quest is. In the end this is ultimately an adventure romp with villains, monsters, hot women with ulterior motives and a fair bit of magic.
  • In the context of this time and story, Odysseus’ decisions (somehow including the seven year fling) are meant to show that he is ultimately faithful to his his wife and overcomes temptation. I know, I know…MASSIVE double standards for men and women around sex and marriage… but back then they thought he did good!

The Iliad / Homer

Overdrive cover

Wee bit back in time from The Odyssey. Essentially a prequel to it with overlapping characters but different leads. Takes place during the Trojan War.

Mini bio: This book is set in the final weeks of the Trojan War, which if you think about it it a pretty interesting plot device, to start at the end of something. Lots of previous events are spoken of and implied but not shown. Essentially the Greeks are surrounding Troy because Paris, a prince of Troy took Menelaus, the King of Sparta’s wife Helen back with him from Greece to Troy. She is ‘the most beautiful woman in the world blah blah blah.’ Spoiler: the Greek side wins because of the horse, you know the rest. It’s in pop culture big time.

Featuring famous characters like: our old friend Odysseus, Achilles, Hector, Paris, Helen, many other mortals and a whole bunch of gods such as Zeus, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite…

If you want to see a film version of this with some seriously famous leads watch 2004’s TROY. Not a substitute for reading the text, the plot varies a bit, but a pretty fun movie.


The Aeneid / Virgil

Overdrive cover

While the other two are GREEK stories this one is ROMAN. This story is written to detail the story of the founding of Rome. So basically when the Greeks storm Troy via a very crafty wooden horse, most of the Trojans are killed but Aeneas gets together a group of survivors who escape and sail out of Troy go on an adventure and eventually make it to Italy where he founds Rome. Dido, who is the Queen of Carthage falls in love with Aeneas for a period, eventually the gods remind him of his destiny and he leaves her to continue on his journey to Italy.

Importantly this story has as much to do with the Roman politician and ruler at the time, AUGUSTUS, as it does the foundation of Rome. There are constantly parallels made between Augustus and Aeneas and the Roman political state of the time this text was being written. It can be understood as political propaganda in this way, a statement and praise of Virgil’s political moment in time. This said, Virgil’s motives and ideas are not that straightforward and he also uses this text to comment negatively on the politics of his time, it’s a double whammy.


In summary

Episode one: The Iliad, The Greek armies win the war against Troy with a wooden horse. Lots of other stuff happens.

Episode two: The Odyssey, Odysseus takes a really ridiculously long amount of time to get home after fighting in the Trojan War. He does get home eventually. Lots of stuff happens.

Episode three (takes place at the same time as The Odyssey, kind of in a wiggly ancient history way, well at least starts after the Trojan War like The Odyssey): The Aeneid, Aeneas takes a really ridiculously long time to get to Italy and found Rome after he escapes from Troy after the Trojan War. Lots of other stuff happens.

If you want to learn things and read something entertaining check out Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Heroes! For something less serious, Courtney Carbone’s Greek Gods (#squadgoals) really hits the spot.

Overdrive coverOverdrive coverOverdrive cover

Database highlight Bloomsbury Drama Online

We’ve got some amazing databases available at WCL and over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighted a few which I think are pretty awesome. You can access this particular database through the “Arts and Design” link on our online databases page. It’s pretty incredible, especially if you’re studying drama or (and!) Shakespeare. The blurb:

“Drama Online is a one stop shop for anyone with an interest in drama. This award winning database features over 1,200 classic and contemporary play texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare. Background to the plays are provided through critical scholarly works, theory and practical ‘how-to’ guides. There is also streaming video of live performances from Shakespeare’s Globe and professional audio recordings from L.A. Theatre Works. Search for and sort plays and monologues using cast size, gender, roles, genre, period, author, setting and theme filters. There is plenty here to discover.”

I really enjoyed the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of Othello, Macbeth, and Titus Andronicus. It’s an amazing way to view Shakespeare performed by the best actors, in interesting and unique productions – sometimes you need something new to bring the Bard to life – and free, as well!

NCEA Time!

Good luck to all senior secondary students currently sitting NCEA exams.

Here are a few links to help you out:

 

Study Stop

The all important exam timetable and info about the exam rules and etiquette

Past exam papers and exemplars from NZQA (click on a subject to find the papers and what’s required to pass). Study Time also has these.

Study tips and advice can be found on Study It, NZQA, Study Time (filmed in the Central Library!).

Subject help can be found on Study It.

Cliffs Notes is where you’ll find literature guides for those novels you’ve read this year.

Find lots of subject info in our selection of databases. Encyclopaedia Britannica is a good place to start.

Need a break? Procrastinate here with these awesome links.

 

You are welcome to study in our libraries. They are warm, dry, have wifi, and you can bring in your coffee and a nibble. The librarians will help you find any info you need.

Good luck!

 

Nik’s picks : Best of the Bard (retold) edition

Shakespeare is taught in most college classes these days; whether you think this is a bad or good thing depends on you! I’m a fan, but I get tired of the same-old same-old productions and books. So here are a few of my favourite Shakespeare related books, websites and DVDs, to make your experience of the great man that much more interesting. I think this post is going to get a lot of flack from English teachers and Shakespeare purists everywhere, but I’m of the opinion that stuff like this should be enjoyable and accessible. I’m sure the Bard would have wanted it that way.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTo be or not to be: a chooseable path adventure, by Ryan North, Shakespeare, and you!

This is unquestionably one of my favourite things to come into the YA collection in a while. I have fond memories of choose-your-own adventure books from my childhood, even though I always ended up dying! That’s an option in this book but the great thing is, you can always start again. Especially if you start out as Hamlet Senior…well, that’s not a spoiler. After all, I think the statue of limitations on spoiler warnings runs out after 415 years. Anyway, you can start the game as the aforementioned (deceased) King of Denmark, Ophelia or Hamlet himself. After that, it’s up to you. It’s written more like a YA novel than in prose, and the possible endings get pretty wacky. Added to this are the amazing illustrators; there are too many to namecheck all of them but Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Randall Munroe (XKCD) and Faith Erin Hicks (Friends with Boys, Nothing Possibly can go wrong) all contribute. What I find particularly awesome is that this book is the result of a kickstarter campaign: crowd funding for the win! A necessary disclaimer: I wouldn’t recommend using this to write your NCEA essays.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHamlet: a novel, John Marsden

This book takes a rather more serious look at Hamlet. It keeps fairly close to the original story, but manages to convey the inner emotions of those entangled in the story. Retellings of Hamlet are by far the most popular among YA writers, but I think this one’s the best. The language is fresh and the pace makes the looming disaster all the more tragic. It also doesn’t try to force a happy ending on the characters, which I’ve always find a bit jarring, especially in books that aim to be taken seriously.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLady Macbeth’s daughter, Lisa Klein

In the text of Macbeth, it is revealed that lady Macbeth has been pregnant before; but this is only mentioned once, and Macbeth’s lack of children plays a central role in the plot of the play. In this novel, Lisa Klein imagines what the life of such a child – a daughter, who is cast out by Macbeth – would be like. The historic Lady Macbeth also had a son, by her first husband, but is Lady Macbeth and Albia, her lost daughter, who tell the story in alternating chapters. The writer says she set out to give “an entirely new perspective on the events of Shakespeare’s play, using a protagonist who is outside the main action but crucial to its unfolding.” She more than succeeds, and manages to incorporate historical facts into the narrative fairly seamlessly, which keeps the book from seeming too fanciful.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe most excellent and lamentable tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare and illustrated by Gareth Hinds

This is the only book included in this blog post which takes its text entirely from the play, although it’s somewhat abridged. What sets it apart from the other graphic adaptations is its attention to detail; the artist, in his postscript, has taken actual features from Verona and uses them in backgrounds in his lavish illustrations. He does admit that he’s moved various places around for aesthetic purposes, but it doesn’t really affect the sense of a real Renaissance city. Gareth Hinds also tries to “fix” parts of the text that are often portrayed incorrectly in the staging.

Shakespeare retold DVD series

There are plenty of “pure” adaptaions out there but sometimes it can be a struggle to get through all that prose. These modern adaptations are a whole lot of fun. They feature some of the best actors England has to offer having a great time chewing the scenery and taking a break from having to memorise 16th century lines. Again, I wouldn’t recommend using these to help write your essay, but I’m a big believer in enjoying Shakespeare because it’s fun, rather than because you have to study it in class. My favourites are Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer night’s dream.

10 things I hate about you

I remember when this film first came out, which, given that this was 15 years ago, is going to date me a bit. I didn’t realise that this was based off Taming of the Shrew until a while later though! It’s considered a classic, and for good reason. Even though the fashion is slightly dated, the movie still holds up: Heath Ledger, in his break-out role, has great chemistry with Julia Stiles, who’s equally impressive as Kat. It’s full of quotable dialogue and great acting, and conveys what it’s like to be young, cynical and in love in college. Well, as far as I can remember, anyway.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead

This is a classic adaptation of an extraordinary play. It concerns the lives of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, two fairly minor characters in Hamlet. There are chunks of the actual play, but for the most part it’s in modern language. It deals with fate, the nature of theatre and performance, and various philosophical problems. It might sound a bit dry, but it’s extremely funny and features some of the best actors working today.

Avoid A Study Apocalypse: An NCEA Survival Kit

The 2013 NCEA exams are looming. For some that means late nights and long hours of cramming – for any day walker it’s a fast-track recipe for becoming a zombie. No one wants a zombie apocalypse to happen so we’ve slapped this survival kit together. It puts all the useful links on the interweb together in one spot so you don’t have to waste your precious time finding them.

Firstly, do you have the exam timetable? Print it out and put it everywhere! If you know when your exams are you can prioritise your study order.

Here’s the NZQA subject resource page; inside you will find useful resources like past examination papers. If you need access to a printer our librarians will gladly help you. Ask them to visit this page and print the exam papers off for you.

AnyQuestions and ManyAnswers are great resources, run by real kiwi librarians. The AQ service will connect you to a real librarian online between 1 & 6pm Monday to Friday, they’re like an internet tour guide and will help you find quality information to answer your sticky questions. Many Answers is like a FAQ page filled with tips for finding information on hundreds of topics.

Studyit for NCEA students is an online learning environment for NCEA science, maths, and English students. The site has been designed with input from secondary students, and content has been written by subject specialists and checked by student editors, to keep it student focused.

This post on Stuff.co.nz will give you top-secret tips from exam markers across a wide range of subjects.

Our mates at Christchurch City Libraries compiled this page with every imaginable study link needed.

Then there’s us – we have 12 libraries ready and waiting to accomodate your study needs with computer facilities, books, study space, and of course real-life librarians. There’s also the magic 13th branch that’s open 24/7 – WCL online will guide you to a variety of eResources and let you search the shelves and order texts from home.

We really don’t recommend it but it’s a given that 21st century study involves a certain amount of online procrastination too – we’ll be delivering respite and tips on our social media platforms throughout and beyond exam season. Facebook & Twitter

Good luck!

Need money for study?

BreakOut – Scholarships and Grants FREE SEMINAR

Do you need money to study, research, or for your personal and professional development?

The Funding Information Service is holding a free BreakOut presentation in Wellington Central Library (ground floor, in the teen area). The seminar will show you how to find the best scholarships and grants for you.

BreakOut lists information on over 3800 scholarships and grants for students, professionals, researchers, sports people, and artists and Wellington City Libraries provides free public access to BreakOut.

The details:

Wednesday 10 April 2013

4-5pm, Wellington Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

No RSVP required. Just show up! (Can’t make it? Visit the Funding Information Service for info about BreakOut)

School’s back, oh well

The library is here to help! We’ve got information, and trained professionals who know how to use it: libraries are useful places when you’re studying. Here are some helpful things:

  • The teen blog study stop pages – full of useful links and tips.
  • Mygateway.info – if you’ve never visited then you really should, it’s like a virtual reference collection with a huge amount of online databases (many that you can only access with your library card – google won’t help you find these treasures). They’re sorted by subject, a helpful jumping-off point.
  • Anyquestions.co.nz – librarians online to help discover the answers to tricky reference questions, Monday to Friday, 1 to 6pm during school time. If you’re looking out of hours, there’s the manyanswers database which is a good starting point.
  • The teen blog book lists page – for if you’re looking for some fiction to read.

All the best for the school year.

Exams: don’t panic!

It’s exam time again, but never fear! Come to the library to study. Also, here’s some useful stuff:

Past Exam Papers. You can download these off the NZQA website here (you can print exam papers out at the library – printing costs 20c for an A4 black and white page).

The 2012 Exam Timetable. Here’s a link to the timetable (PDF).

NCEA Study Guides. You can borrow these from the library (for one week). If someone’s got the one you want, there are reference copies at the central library. Just bring your library card to the children’s enquiries desk.

Forum for students. Ask advice and talk to teachers and other students at studyit.

Revision tools for NCEA Science. At No Brain Too Small.

Exam tips from the good people at NZQA here.

Online Databases. The library’s got a wealth of information available through MyGateway. The Study and Homework page has got a collection of all-round useful websites and databases, but also have a look at Science, History, or Books & Reading, for example.

Exam Info Alerts. Find out the latest information from NZQA via Twitter.

Studystop Pages. Useful links and hints are here.

WCL Teens at Facebook. While you’re on a study break, like us on Facebook to waste some time.

The teen blog wishes you all the best for your exams!

Exams: the final hurdle

Tis the season. If you’ve got exams coming up, don’t worry! Come to the library to study. Also, here’s some useful stuff:

Past Exam Papers. You can download these off the NZQA website here (you can print exam papers out at the library – printing costs 20c for an A4 black and white page).

NCEA Study Guides. You can borrow these from the library (for one week). If someone’s got the one you want, there are reference copies at the central library. Just bring your library card to the children’s enquiries desk.

Forum for students. Ask advice and talk to teachers and other students at studyit.

Online Databases. The library’s got a wealth of information available through MyGateway. The Study and Homework page has got a collection of all-round useful websites and databases, but also have a look at Science, History, or Books & Reading, for example.

Exam Info Alerts. Find out the latest information from NZQA via Twitter.

Studystop Pages. Useful links and hints are here.

WCL Teens at Facebook. While you’re on a study break, like us on Facebook (we have a timewasting tab).

Spiderrzz. Because it’s almost exam time, and Halloween in fact, it’s time once again to point you towards a horribly realistic virtual spider.

NCEA results online today

Yes, it’s true, you can find out your NCEA results right now. Teen Blog wishes everyone the best of luck.

For those of you who are now finished with your secondary education, congratulations! Everyone else going back to school later on this year should note that the YA section of your local library has all the relevant study guides and that the Central Library has past exam papers. Note that down in your diaries for the next study period, or get a ridiculously large jump start on it now.

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