The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Received two emails yesterday, both replies to my polite question, "why the f#$^ did I not get in"? The first was from the director at U Texas, who said essentially that there was nothing wrong with my application, but that they could only admit 2-3% of MA holders (A prof of mine suggested, probably correctly, that they have geographic quotas).
The second was from U Virginia, which was more surprising. He said that, while my application is strong, in such a large and excellent pool, my writing sample and GREs were'nt quite high enough. Huh...I thought 720 Verbal and 630 subject are pretty darn good (98 and 80th percentile respectively, scores English students would kill for, and pretty darn good considering that most students utterly bomb the subject test). Somehow I doubt it was my GRE scores, and my writing sample is and always will be a moot point. I guess when you're one of 400 people fighting for at most 18 spots, you're bound to be lost in the mix. Finding you in that pile really would be like finding a needle in a haystack. Perhaps we should update that metaphor to finding a qualified student in a pile of English grad applications :)
On the plus side, I just realized that Ottawa's faculty is even better than I thought. They not only have Frans De Bruyn, an 18th century expert, on their payroll, but also Nicholas von Maltzahn, an internationally recognized Milton and 17th century literature scholar. He's currently working on Marvell, a nearly forgotten Restoration poet (Interregnum/Restoration that is).


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