In order to complete the English MA program, students must research and write an Advanced Project. Rachel Simonds is in her last semester at Saint Rose, and these are her thoughts regarding her Advanced Project, as well as her inspirations behind it.
I’ve been commuting to Albany from Caroga Lake since I started my undergraduate work at Sage College. This is my final semester at Saint Rose, I’ll be completing the MA English program. I have enjoyed the variety of classes offered and have found that each class is enriching to every other class. There is always a connection (or several!) between classes.
My Advanced Project is more of a theory based project. I’m discussing the aesthetic theories of the sublime proposed by Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant in the late 18th century and relating it to the work of the Hudson River School painters during approximately the first half of the 19th century. I am attempting to figure out the relationship between the idea of the sublime and how it is manifested in the physical world. The discussion centers around the question of how/if/when/why is the sublime communicated. But, of course, this could all change as I continue with my project.
My Advanced Project has required the basic things of any project, lots of reading and lots of thinking. In addition to that though, I have also spent a lot of time looking first hand at work done by the Hudson River School painters in order to really see how the theories of the sublime have influenced the work.
I have been interested in the idea of the sublime since my first semester here at Saint Rose. I took a literary theory course with Dr. Vaneeta Palecanda (who is the director of my advanced project right now, and Dr. Robert Shane is the research consultant) and she first introduced me to the sublime and I have not been able to let go of it since then. It seems as if every class I take, whether it be theory or literature, has something to do with the sublime! Ask Dr. Sweeney about the sublime in Uncle Tom’s Cabin! So I chose to work on the idea of the sublime for my Advanced Project to satisfy at least some of my curiosity on the subject.