Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The view from the trenches

Undoubted air of faculty glumness in Philosophy Hall today, the first day of classes! 

Those of you who are my 'friends' on Facebook will have already heard me bemoan the fact that Village Copier does not seem to have kept the original master for my History of the Novel I course reader, and as I seem to have had call to say frequently in recent weeks, desperate situations call for desperate remedies: the only thing to do was clean out my office....

(I got tenure two and a half years ago, and it was thus in the nature of life timelines that I was given a new office and a new apartment within a matter of weeks.  I devoted all my attention to packing and settling in at the new apartment, which is underfurnished but tidy; the new office, on the other hand, pretty much stayed in boxes, so this massive unpacking and cleaning is overdue by at least two years.)

I haven't found the missing master - I think they really must have thrown it away as they said - but I have found the marked-up old lecture notes and two copies of the bound course reader, one with teaching notes in it and one clean one that I can disassemble and use to scan a new master.  I think I may experiment for the first time this semester with providing critical readings online rather than in xeroxed form: for a seminar, I hold to the old-school method, because I want students to have a physical copy of the readings in class to look at while we discuss them and because student print quotas and notions of ecological soundness do not encourage generous use of paper, but I think in the lecture course I can afford to try it the other way.

(Have thrown away three or four contractor's bags of paper, mostly printouts of PDFs from ECCO and clean and marked-up drafts of my last academic book.  NB I am in need of another massive project like that one: something that will make me scan and engulf a huge new body of material that I'm not already acquainted with.  My most recent two book projects - style, BOMH - are both relatively small-scale, something that has disadvantages as well as benefits.  Also NB if you leave papers in boxes for a pretty long time, they become very easy to throw away once they are opened back up again....)

Not much to report otherwise.  Still ploughing through the novels of George R. R. Martin, which really are not enough to my taste (too much lopping and cropping, stylistic infelicities, switching back and forth between multiple viewpoint characters frustrating - I would rather have a whole novel following one character, then a whole novel following the other) but which are making the time pass.

1 comment:

  1. Jenny, perhaps you might enjoy this: