News: Nov 1
Blogging has been very light lately because I've been on the road, first at a conference on Tolkien at Marquette University, and then at a teaching institute at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Both events were excellent. At Marquette, I got to meet many people I've only known from email, which is always a pleasure. I also had a lovely, long dinner with Prof. Arne Zettersten, who collaborated with J. R. R. Tolkien for 13 years working on the AB Language and Ancrene Wisse. I wish I knew 1/10th the philology Prof. Zettersten knows.
At New Mexico I got to give a talk on Tolkien to a large audience of secondary school teachers. I absolutely loved it: they were enthusiastic and smart and well-informed. If there is to be any hope for saving medieval studies for the next generation, we have to reach out to secondary school teachers. The Medieval Institute at New Mexico, under the leadership of Tim Graham, seems to me to have the absolute best approach to doing this I've ever seen. They get graduate students to work with teachers in New Mexico to come and guest-teach classes on Arthurian Lit, Tolkien and Beowulf, and other medieval topics. It's a brilliant idea, and in a year or so I hope to steal it.
In other news, I just signed a contract with Recorded Books to do 14 lectures on Chaucer to be recorded on CD and distributed by them. Now I'll be spending November preparing those lectures. Should be fun, and great prep for teaching Chaucer again this spring.
Finally, and most importantly, Halloween was a big success. Rhys went as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (her own idea), and looked amazingly like her. Mitchell was a lion and fell asleep in the stroller. It was a warm, beautiful day and evening for the second year in a row.