Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ISAS 2007: London

Sorry no posting of late. Came back from fishing (the fish won, mostly, but I did hook a snook on my fly rod, though he cut the leader with his gill covers) to finish up my paper for the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists conference in London. I was a last-minute substitute for someone, so I hadn't been working on the paper as steadily as I otherwise would have, and it took a lot of work to sweat it down to under 20 minutes (I hate papers that go on too long and I figure the only way to be truly obnoxiously holier-than-thou about it is to make sure my papers don't go too long by reading them aloud again, and again, and again -- my poor family).

I only did this because ISAS is absolutely the best conference in my field, which is the only reason I would ever have agreed to do something this last-minute. The conference only happens every two years and I missed it last time (my son was too small to leave my wife stuck with both kids for that long) but it is always so incredible, with brilliant work being showcased, that I come home inspired to write. Each ISAS I've attended (95 in Stanford, 97 in Palermo, 99 at Notre Dame, 01 in Helsinki and 03 as Arizona) has led to an article, book or computer program, so I'm hoping to come back and be incredibly productive after listening to a passel of good papers.

On the other hand, I am a total homebody and hate traveling, so I'm not looking forward to the trip. But in the end it should be worth it.

The paper is: The Invention of Cynewulf: Albert S. Cook, Philology, Romanticism and English Studies in America.

4 comments:

John Cowan said...

I've always wondered why humanists insist in reading their papers rather than presenting their research orally with the help of slides or other visuals, like natural scientists. The radical of presentation for papers is to be read silently and alone, after all, not aloud by the author to an audience.

Andrew Higgins said...

Dr Drout

welcome back! I have missed you comments. Been really njoying you online Anglo-Saxon. This summer you inspired me and I have read The Dream of the Rood, The Seafarer, The Sermon of the Wolf (o tempore o mores!) and Judith in Old Engish. I have also been re-reading Tolkien'd History of Middle Earth and was struck by his/Aelfwine's translations of the Quenta and Annals into Old English (volume 4). Have you worked on any translations of Tolkien into OE. Please keep the Anglo-Saxon online coming -its the first thing I listen to on my Ipod as I travel to work in London in the mornings! Thanks, Andy

Oscar Alex Gilchrist said...

Hi Michael,

How about some updates on good ISAS papers? I've never been able to go yet, but will I guess plunk down for Newfoundland in 2009 no matter what.

Your ISAS paper sounds very interesting. I've been compiling a bibliography on the Exeter Christ poems and it's fascinating to see how fractured the bibliographical history is pre- and post-Cook, and how much critical retreat (retraction?) set in afterwards. ie: not only towards Cynewulf being one of the two master poets (Caedmon the other), but also toward fracturing the _Crist_ into three.

It should be very intriguing because it's hard to think of another edition for OE poetry that is at epochal as Cook's is, all the more so precisely because it is not in the EETS, not British.

****
Sorry to hear about losing Marilyn.

My dad gave some highly prudent advice a long while back: "Always, always, be good to the secretaries."

At the end of his career as a federal government lawyer he was whittled down to sharing a secretary and it hastened his retirement. I used to come by in the summers and fire away at the xerox machine for him.

I could also swear that one of the grad secretaries at McGill (an otherwise incalculably ditzy individual) took pity on a grant proposal I wrote and retyped it to make it look clean. I owe her.

*****
I'm also looking forward to a Harry Potter VII post from you. I have several probing ideas. For starters, did you get a King Alfred vibe going in all the hiding out in the woods mid-book? I was half expecting Rowling to throw in a mention of burned toast! Second: the reference to 'ill-treatment' of Ariana Dumbledore and the Riddle-baby-creature in the 'King's Cross' chapter. Related?

****
Last, I was thinking of something you wrote for this blog when I read this passage this afternoon:

"I have never given assent to the modern saw about 'teaching students, not subjects'--I have always thought it right to teach subjects, believing that if one gives his first loyalty to the subject, the student is best instructed."

Lionel Trilling, _On the Teaching of Modern Literature_.

Best,
Oscar's Dad

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