Thursday, April 14, 2005

Apologies for a dearth of insightful posts (or even replies to good comments). I have been drowning in proofs of one sort and another as well as a birthday party for my one-year-old son and the subsequent respiratory infections that are sweeping the house. Things are starting to calm down, but now I have 32 English 101 papers and 20 Chaucer papers to grade by Tuesday.

But there is good news as well. My college course on CD, Bard of the Middle Ages: The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer should now be on sale in Barnes and Noble bookstores. It's not on line yet, from Recorded Books' The Modern Scholar, but since my copies just arrived in the mail, I'm guessing that it will show up on the website any day.

Tolkien Studies volume II is at the printer right now and should be out any day now. I think it's as strong as volume one, with some very good pieces, and not all by 'the usual suspects' in Tolkien criticism.

Work on the Encyclopedia is proceeding apace. If you haven't received an invitation to contribute and think you should, please get in touch. We've had some difficulty with invites bouncing due to spam filters, etc. I'm tracking these down individually, but it takes time to figure out if someone never received the email or if he or she did but just didn't want to contribute. There will also be a "second wave" of open topics as I figure out what is and isn't covered and integrate the many suggestions for entries that keep coming in.

Finally, it's less than a month until Kalamazoo, the 40th International Medieval Congress. Last year was the first time I missed the conference in a decade, but I'll be there for all four days this year, soaking up the medieval scholarship (and hopefully some nice Michigan spring weather). My paper has perhaps the least appealing title in the conference's 40-year history: "Repetition, Pattern Recognition, Metrics and the Evolution of Traditions: Some Old English Examples." This is what happens when you throw everything and the kitchen sink into an abstract because you haven't written the paper yet. I did come up with an alternate title: "Beowulf 1864a and the Memetic Evolution of Traditions," but that wasn't exactly a barn-burner, either. On the other hand, the paper is, I hope, challenging and should be a good fit for the Oral Tradition session I'm in. But now I must go and comfort my son, the incredible mucous machine.

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