Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Little Post On Feeling Appreciated

I used to chomp at the bit and stomp my feet waiting anxiously for people to notice me, to invite me to contribute to books, give talks, be on panels, anything. My colleagues ahead of me told me to calm down, do my work, forget about it. Eventually, things would happen.

So I did. Sort of. Having a blog helped.

Then this summer, things changed- quite suddenly, actually. It wasn't tied to anything important of mine coming out in print (the important things are still forthcoming for, like, EVER). It just started happening. First I got invited to contribute to an anthology. Then Major Important British Scholar took an interest in my work. Then another anthology invitation, &c. I think maybe The Library fellowship helped.

Yesterday I was invited to give a talk at a Very Nice (and Important) Place, which I shall call University of The City (UTC). And there is a small honorarium.

(By the way, the person who invited me was a remarkably talented and mature UTC grad student I met during one of my research trips this summer. So don't ignore the grad students. They can and do make things happen).

I've not yet been invited back by my graduate program at Quill & Stylus University (QSU), but I'd rather not go back just yet. It's only been three years and I'm still relishing my time away. Besides, that particular kind of evisceration is best endured after securing a book contract.

I hope this is the start of a good semester- first day is tomorrow. I'm bringing along a rare books librarian (and some rare books) for first day show-and-tell.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anthropologie outdoes itself with "Archive Trousers"

I didn't think it was possible to tap the professorial and grad-studenty market any better than with "tenure trousers." I was wrong. What can a woman who already has tenure trousers possibly want? More research leave, obviously. May I present to you:

Archive Trousers

Made with a bit more stretch than tenure trousers- as the catalog puts it rather coyly (channeling the male gaze) "the better to allow you to reach that leatherbound volume on the highest shelf," which I take to mean "your ass will look great in these if you want to show it off." I doubt any of us archival researchers will be reaching up high for leather-bound volumes, but maybe the added stretch will help us contort in our chairs during all-day laptop transcriptions from giant foam book-rests. These, then, are perfect for the MLS market- but what's with the Minnie Mouse buttons in front?

And for the woman with both tenure trousers and tenure (presumably at an imaginary institution that pays Really Really Well), there's the vaguely Elizabethan influenced:


She'd probably buy the dress because she's enchanted by the "Basque waistline," something only those with tenure trousers can possibly understand.

Finally, of particular interest to my own field are the Via Appia and Trade Route trousers, and for the early Modernist (as opposed to early-modernist), Suffragette T-straps and Buckminster's Reverie Tieback.

Not quite as pretentious as J. Peterman, but certainly appealing to intellectual, rather than financial capital. The irony is that without financial capital, one cannot afford to buy their frequently poorly constructed clothes. I'm not ashamed to say that I've added "Archive Trousers" and "Suffragette T-straps" to my wish-list. But I'm waiting for them to go on sale.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Arden Shakespeare Controversy

Seldom does the rigorous, time-consuming work we do as editors get any press, even though edited editions probably reach more readers in one week than our academic monographs will in their brief lifetimes in print. The gold standard for scholarly editions of Shakespeare has always been the Arden Shakespeare, which is not only thorough, informative and sometimes challenging but also an excellent teaching apparatus. As an esteemed colleague at the Folger confirmed, these editions usually take upwards of 6 years to complete. It is not unusual for them to take a decade.

As an early modernist of the philological persuasion, I am most fond of Arden Shakespeare editions for their historical attentiveness to Shakespeare's language. It is thus very disappointing that at this moment, when a highly anticipated Arden edition is in the spotlight- one that promises to shed new light on language and the material text - it's because we may not get to see it, read it, enjoy it or use it:

Chronicle Article

Reinstate Pat Parker Website

Monday, August 11, 2008

I don't give a fig

I picked these off the tree a few minutes ago, and there are 10 times as many still ripening.

Two days ago I wrapped the tree with biodegradable breathable tree tape, then smeared the trunk up and down with something called "Tanglefoot," an environmentally safe sticky-stuff (made of wax and resins- it actually smells lovely and reminds me of my Ormonde Jayne Black Hemlock perfume from London) that keeps ants and other crawlies from climbing up the trunk and eating all the figs. Note to self: cover head and arms next time. Tanglefoot is also tangle-tress.

I love the color- kind of a golden turning to mauve (click on the photo for an extreme close-up). I was expecting a purple, so I actually let a few get too ripe and start to shrivel up on the tree- the darker ones in the picture are beginning to sport wrinkles too. I guess the light color is just part of the variety- I think these are Celeste figs.

I plan on stuffing with goat cheese, skewering on rosemary, drizzling with olive oil and tossing them on the grill. They are also really good like this wrapped with prosciutto, for those of you who are not veggie or kosher (or like me, lapsed in both).

Anyone have any other recipes? It looks like figs are going to be a major part of my diet for the next month and a half.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blush, blush.

Emily, adrift on the The Seacoast of Bohemia, nominated me for this virtual hat tilt, and I am tickled pink.

I wish I could nominate Emily, but she's already received one, so here's my list below.

I nominate the rather dormant but still quite brilliant Blogging the Renaissance. Because it started this whole Renaissance blogging thing and this blog has a virtual blog-crush on it.

Beautifully written, perceptive and fun is Sign of the Spider, another blog that this blog is crushing on. Plus, it's got great virtual ink-blot visuals.

Jonathan Sterne's hilarious academic blog is not in the least dormant. It is also very smart (and very funny). In sum, it's Super Bon!, and totally blog-crush worthy.

Also dormant and good is Northern Humanist.

Two of my favorite blogs (and people) recently documented their trips to Israel with compassion, wit, and a keen sense of social history. These are A Wisconsin Yankee in King David's Court and From the Couch in New York.

I've begun reading Green Thoughts regularly and am generally in awe of its elegant openness.

Finally, Rants of a Feminist Engineer remains brave, funny, poignant, and admirably feminist, whether its writer is anonymous or not.

Okay, I've just noticed that all the blogs I've nominated are authored by academics who are also my friends (except Green Thoughts who is an academic but I don't think we know each other in real life. Yet. Or I could be wrong, maybe we do!). I should really branch out a bit more . . .

If I've nominated you and you want to play along, then follow the rules below. If you've got better things to do, then go do them. I know I do.

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

No News is Good News

Is what my father's doctor said two days ago.

So when I say there's not much going on here, what I really mean is, Thank Goodness.

Nothing Going On is a very good thing, considering what the options were just three days ago, as my family anxiously awaited the results of some very scary tests my father had to undergo quite suddenly. And the doctor called the next day as soon as the first round of results were in to tell him that it's not what we feared. We still don't know what it is, but it appears not to have an evil plan to achieve world domination over him, which is for some reason what the word "malignant" conjures for me- Mordred and Edmund and Pinky and the Brain. Anyway, it's not. And we are relieved for now.

Bad Epic

I've been thinking about my Next Big Project. Well, sort of. It changes frequently. It's a fun little exercise, to imagine completely uncharted work (as opposed to at least twice-charted work which is what most first books are).

Last week, hanging out in London with a particularly entertaining group of Renaissance friends, I mentioned to them that I was anxious about the lack of a chapter on epic in my current book project. One friend understandably asked me why no epic chapter, then? My immediate, unthinking reply was that Elizabethan English epics a) aren't classical enough for the likes of my book and b) just aren't that good. In fact, they're hideous.

My second, only slightly more considerate reply was that no one really did classical epic right until Milton, who then undid it- everyone before (Spenser et al) really just did Romance with a dash of epic. Think of Thomas Mann's analysis of Beethoven's late piano sonatas in Dr Faustus (or just bear with me here): In doing, surpassing and then un-doing the epic, Milton finished the epic, just like Beethoven finished the sonata. Anyway, said charming friends immediately collectively decided that my next book would have to be about these pre-Miltonic attempts, and they also decided that its title would be Bad Epic.

The funny thing is that I think in some way, they might actually be right. I already teach acourse on epics, from Homer to Philip Pullman. I'm obviously interested in questions of genre and pushing those boundaries. And I have Greek (and am perhaps a little too proud of that fact). Better, it's the perfect response to the question "why is there no chapter on epic in your book?"

"Funny you should ask. Well actually, that's my Next Big Project."

Back Stateside

Ants are eating the figs off my fig-tree. The shtarkers are fast!

Not much else happening here. It's warm and sunny and quiet, perfect for writing, which I am happy to say I am doing a lot of.

I miss London.

That said, I've sent off two essays and am polishing up a third one to send out before Sept 1. I also have two new opportunities for publication, which is nice & unexpected, but both will be new essays, unrelated to the book. New essays that I have yet to write. Meanwhile, I'm nearly finished with my last chapter and new intro, and will be sending out my book proposal in the fall. Go, little book proposal . . .

So my plate is full. But still I miss London, pints with friends, flirtatious men, obnoxious drunken yobs, the hilariousness that ensues when women follow high street fashion trends without any regard to body type, 10 pound plays at the national, BBC 3 and 4, and easy access to blue eggs.