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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

(You are very much not forgotten)

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Riiight, an update.
Yesterday's session on the performance of conquest and colonization in the European Middle Ages: so-so. The paper comparing the Digby Mary Magdalene to The Castle of Perseverance was pretty good, although the argument that it was probably designed to be performed in the round is apparently nothing new. The second paper was kind of frightening (incoherent construction and even more incoherent delivery), so I fled quietly after it was over in favor of heading out to Berkeley to meet Kat at Jupiter's. The Honey Wheat Ale was incredible. Yum!

Today's sessions on modern pedagogy and Middle English lit other than Chaucer: remarkably satisfying. The highlight of the former was undoubtedly Rita Felski's "After Suspicion," which I hope finds publication somewhere in the near future so I can stalk down a copy of the book or journal and disseminate it to my students from this past term. My goodness, but it was a breath of fresh air (the major thrust of her argument was that, while reading with a suspicious eye is all well and good, we shouldn't dismiss our more "sentimental" or incoherent reactions to a text as somehow naive or invalid - nor should we permit our students to do so, either, as it's possible to turn a critical eye on these as well, and to productive effect). As for the After Chaucer roundtable, the primary revelation is that findings suggest it's difficult to get a tenure-track position unless you've made Chaucer a central focus in either your Ph.D. or your research undertaken since completing your Ph.D. As a Pearl-Poet/Langland scholar roughly ten months from completion, I find that this doesn't sit well. Then again, Langland is becoming fashionable again, isn't he?

(I had lunch at Modern Thai this afternoon with brightbluestuff. Seafood red curry FTW.)

Tonight's light supper at Samovar with tristesse: marvelous, darling!

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ISTR that the argument for an in-the-round Mary Magdalene is mentioned in Bevington's Medieval Drama, and that's over thirty years old!

You want to meet up for lunch or drinks at some point during the conference?

I mean, there was an original-argument element to the paper, but it had more to do with Mary Magdalene itself than the Castle (i.e. what's actually the moral center of the text - Castle Magdalene, not Jerusalem).

For nearly all of today, I'm going to be out in the Haight - and I'm meeting somebody there for drinks at 6:30 PM, if you'd like to join the fun! The pub is called Toronado; it's on the corner of Steiner and Fillmore. Fillmore is easy to reach from where we are, as it turns out - you just catch the 6, 7, or 71 bus from Market Street and get off at Fillmore. My number's (724) 388-3180. Tomorrow is, unfortunately, pretty unviable - I have a morning session, then lunch with scieppan at Tommy Toy's in Chinatown, and then I'm heading for the airport somewhere around 5 PM. I suppose I could meet up with you before going to the airport if nothing else works out? :)

the major thrust of her argument was that, while reading with a suspicious eye is all well and good, we shouldn't dismiss our more "sentimental" or incoherent reactions to a text as somehow naive or invalid


What is the point of reading literature if we ignore our emotional reactions to it? Is that not quite possibly the intent of the author? By negating those reactions, aren't you cutting out a good chunk of what the poet wanted you to get out of their work?

Yin/Yang kitty does not approve of such dry readings of poetry. :-P

What happens with a lot of students in the study of "formal" criticism is that they're made to feel that they've somehow been reading naively or insufficiently, and there's a general tone of "I love this isn't a sufficient qualifier for what makes a piece of literature good" to all of the discourse. Which has always bothered me immensely, as the number of texts (and other media) that render me incoherent with...well, geez, ecstasy, grief, horror, pain, whatever, are absolutely legion. Emotion is generally feared and avoided in academic analysis, because it's regarded as the antithesis of logical dissection. I'm one of the people who would desperately like to see that change, too.

And I was hoping that you'd come home with new and interseting medieval theatre insights for me to chrew on. Apparently, it would seem, not. That's just about the oldest argument in the book. Oh, well, there's always K'zoo. Or that funny old PhD thing...

Sounds like you're eating your way through San Fran with glorious abandon! Hope you're having great gooey gobs of fun and enjoying better weather than we are here!


(SF is amazing. I don't want to leave :-P)

'After Suspicion' sounds fascinating, i hope it does get published. i want to read it.

ah, the tenure-track problem. this one is news to me, as i had naively thought that since almost everybody wants to work on Chaucer there'd be some demand for those who, well, look elsewhere. i'm taking an interest in Henryson, myself, heh.

Yeah. It's kind of worrying!

After Suspicion sounds fantastic. I try not to tell people the real reason I'm studying medieval literature is "the cool stories," but that's the honest truth. I would love it if I didn't have to feel awkward about that any more!

I fight that awkwardness in the classroom with every breath I have. Discourage it, maybe, is a better way of putting it.

while reading with a suspicious eye is all well and good, we shouldn't dismiss our more "sentimental" or incoherent reactions to a text as somehow naive or invalid

Oh, yes. This sounds absolutely fantastic.

I really can't figure out what's going on there, aside from the interpretation of "raep tiem now". :D

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