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March 24, 2005


A. Cephalous

During the final meeting in which the four members of my qualifying exam committee discussed my intellectual shortcomings as if I wasn't there, an argument broke out about whether some late James should be included on my period list. My then exam advisor and current dissertation chair repeatedly, obviously unconsciously, talked about how necessary it was to my intellectual development that I read The Golden Bore. He must've said it fourteen times before I cracked a smile, for which I was quickly reprimanded...

A. G.

See David Lodge's Trading Places, where the faculty play "Humiliation" and an English professor wins by admitting to having not read Hamlet.

A. G.

Well, I humiliated myself. The Lodge title is Changing Places. Trading Places is, I seem to remember hazily, the Eddie Murphy film. Sheesh.


As an experiment, read Ulysses at a hundred-pages-per-hour (particularly "Proteus" and "Ithaca"), and post about what you come away with. It'd only take a work-day.

Now, if you hadn't read A Glastonbury Romance, that'd be shameful.


Even better, I could try reading Finnegans Wake at 100 pp./hr. Now, that would be interesting.


A.G., there's an English professor urban legend about the professor who writes a dissertation on Hamlet without ever getting around to reading the play. With the amount of secondary literature available in today's society, it's not as hard as it might sound.

And Trading Places was by the far the most significant movie released in its quarter of whatever year that was, considered from many perspectives.


MMM, perhaps I am a shoddy Victorianist, but I love Late James and often group him with his British contemporaries instead of the American ones.

W. S. Cross

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