I'm in Southern CA for Thanksgiving. It's a bit...ah...warmer than upstate NY. This will provide me with an excellent opportunity to engage in what my family dubs "weather sadism" ("Did I mention that it was ninety degrees on Thanksgiving Day?").
In other news, a cross-country plane flight provided a convenient opportunity for reading Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, about which I'll have a post sometime tomorrow.
I will admit to being deeply prejudiced against spinach. However, spinach in a stuffed spinach pizza is a true gustatory delight. (I am aware that some find spinach on a pizza--or, given that this is Chicago-style stuffed pizza, in a pizza--to be either objectionable or unthinkable.)
Photocopy, photocopy, photocopy; list new books to read, list new books to read, list new books to read. Also, ILL, ILL, ILL.
No, the pamphlet did not surface.
ME: Mom, I went to the Seminary Co-Op this afternoon. I did not buy any books. MOM THE RETIRED SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR: [short pause]. What? Are you okay?
The promised thunderstorms did not materialize. Hooray!
Needless to say, the book I most wanted to read has vanished into the ether, or at least into the murky, unfathomable depths of the Regenstein stacks. (Insert various unprintable words here.)
Nevertheless, I did read two Irish novels, George Brittaine's Irishmen and Irishwomen (2nd ed., 1831) and Cecilia Mary Caddell's Nellie Netterville (1867). Caddell's novel has the least manifest theological content of any novel I've read so far, even though the subject--the Cromwellian Settlement and the transplantation of landowners--involves considerable sectarian violence. The novel proves conciliatory to Protestants: while it links Puritanism with the worst form of fanaticism, particularly in a long set-piece featuring Puritan soldiers torching a secret church with the congregation still inside, it also features virtuous and heroic Protestants who renounce extremism. Nor does Caddell give any sign that these Protestants need to convert in order to be redeemed. While the novel clearly links the settlement to contemporary Irish unrest, it also implies that Protestants and Catholics might be able to achieve some sort of harmony...at a future date. Brittaine's novel addresses the Rockite rebellion (negatively), "New Light" Presbyterianism (positively), the implosion of Protestant-Catholic relations (confusedly), Protestant Sunday Schools (positively again), and conversion to Protestantism (very positively). This was all a bit too much for one 200+ page novel, especially because Brittaine pushes a strong anti-Catholic line while almost grudgingly admitting that Protestants and Catholics had been co-existing perfectly well before the "New Light" movement got going. (Eyre Evans Crowe's novella Old Light and New Light harshly indicts the New Light movement for sparking sectarian conflict.) That being said, I can't think of any other novel in which the evangelical heroine escapes assassination because some teenage scamp dumps a bucket of mud over her.
I also came across this novel (first published in the 1850s) and its sequel. They both look delightfully awful.
There's anothertake on the Mystery of Edwin Drood just out?
My plane arrived early at O'Hare. I'm not sure how this could have happened, as the words "early arrival" and "O'Hare" generally occur in the same sentence only in the aftermath of some great intergalactic upheaval.
Some books are now winging their way from Powell's to an--ahem--undisclosed location in western NY. *whistles innocently*
The University of Chicago English department has certainly enjoyed an interior decorating upgrade since I last saw it (it's in an entirely different building, to begin with).
The temperature must have been at least seventy today. Alas, it will not be at least seventy tomorrow.
I was startled to see a Borders on 53rd Street; there had been a chain store in the same area when I first started at the U of C in 1992, but it died a slow and painful death, thanks to location and competition. (The chain video store that replaced it looks like it's still there, but it also appears to have de-chained.) Except for the theological bookstore on 55th (is that still there?), the other bookstores in the area are all on 57th & 58th streets.
Speaking of bookstores, Scott has convinced me that I should read Watchmen, although I've never been into graphic novels or even superhero comics--the alternate history angle sounds like it should be in my line, though.
Tomorrow, Real Work begins. In some ways, I'm most interested in the pamphlet I want to photocopy, because it's a Victorian critique of religious fiction. Victorians of all religious stripes were often antagonistic to such texts, even when they were on the "right" side, thanks to what they perceived as oversimplified or problematic theology...among other things. (For many writers, "religious fiction" was a contradiction in terms--fiction by its very nature was "worldly." Newman takes that line somewhere...)
Off to Chicago, where I'll be camping out in the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago until the 20th. Goals: photocopy one book (it's more of a long pamphlet, really); read two more (one by this novelist); shelfwalk in search of yet other interesting (er, to me*) books; look through selected Victorian periodicals; and identify scholarly books/articles for future ILLing.
Also on the agenda: stuffed pizza, of course, not to mention trips here, here, and here. (But don't tell my parents. They're a little worried that my house might tip over onto one side.)
*--The last time I was in the Reg, I checked a reference in a book I had
used for my dissertation, back in '95 or so. Some of my bookmark slips were still in it...
I refuse to believe that people actually go to Mrs. Fields in order to purchase...bananas. Surely the only point of spending your hard-earned dollars in a Mrs. Fields is to acquire warm, gooey semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies (with or without walnuts). Who goes there to be healthy?
(This thought brought to you by the large basket of bananas at the Mrs. Fields in the Charlotte, NC airport.)
1. I have an AMTRAK reservation that needs to be altered. 2. Can you alter reservations via the website? Why, no. 3. I call the relevant phone number. 4. Friendly Computer Voice informs me that she has to transfer me to an actual human being. 5. I am put on hold. 6. Automated suggestion: given the wait time, why don't I visit the website? 7. See #2. 8. *headdesk*
Back to upstate NY today, article (revised to Harvard Style) and just-about-completed chapter in hand. And now, since the new school year will begin very shortly, I must really hunker down with Book Two.
I'm getting myself together for Tuesday's trek out to Austin, TX, where I'll spend a few days reading some bad Victorian novels (I don't seem to read any other kind, somehow...) at the Harry Ransom Center; then it's off to CA, where I'll visit my parents, read some more bad Victorian novels at UCLA and the Huntington, and see The Merry Wives of Windsor.
As part of my travel preparations, I've been cleaning out my desk at the university. In theory, while I'm gone, my battered old metal desk will mysteriously vanish into the ether, to be replaced by a new (metal?) desk of as-yet unknown appearance. I had left the contents of a couple drawers intact after I inherited this desk from my predecessor, and have now come to the conclusion that he had a mysterious passion for paperclips. There are boxes and boxes and boxes of paperclips, some of which appear to be decades old. Butterfly clips. Tiny metal clips. No student need ever turn in loose pages again! It's the mother lode of all paperclips, I tell you.