Results on my dubious essay

Earlier this year I blogged about struggling with an essay on ‘en abyme’ photography. I ended up criticising the concept, and I was worried this might not go down well. Last Friday the essay came back from marking, and walking down the corridor to collect it took a long time. It turns out I got 75/100, and possibly the most begrudging first ever. Some of the lecturer’s notes:

  • “The slightly smug tone of your writing style requires a little adjustment”
  • “…an unnecessarily obtuse opening paragraph…”
  • Under one sentence: “awkward phrasing”
  • Under another: “ugh…”
  • And another: “don’t be banal.”
  • I mentioned the mirror in Velazquez’ Las Meninas, and I’m told I should have written “painting of a mirror”. Because people are likely to imagine a real mirror glued to the canvas, I suppose.

All of which is pretty funny. Slightly smug!

But while it’s tempting to interpret this as begrudging, that wouldn’t necessarily be fair. It’s entirely possible that’s just this lecturer’s marking style (which I quite like, actually – it’s far more entertaining than the average dry analysis), but what puzzles me is a comment about “some odd leaps in logic, some hasty deductions”. That’s fair enough – I might disagree, but fine – but it’s curious I got a decent mark despite such issues. I’ve said before that it seems my essays are marked more by construction than content, and I think this is more evidence for that idea. It’s a strange way of doing things. But if that’s how things are, it’s how things are; I’m just glad it’s over.