Friday, December 11, 2009

Summer is long gone, but I still enjoy working with the treasures I found at the University of Louisiana, Shreveport, where I had a summer fellowship with the outstanding Noel Collection. I fell in love with Louisiana because of the people and the land. I also taught three classes during the summer one of which was an upper-division course in the neo-classical tradition. I enjoyed a summer of rare books, alligators, thunder storms, Plato, Socrates, Horace, Longinus and the gang along with Dryden, Pope, Johnson, and the Club.

Now that I have successfully denied the onset of fall by enjoying the crisp air, gray skies setting off orange leaves, the return of ocean swells, and eating pomegranates, I am sad to say good-bye to fall. This was a good fall. I had the privilege of teaching to upper-division discursive writing courses this fall at California State University, East Bay and two critical thinking courses at Las Positas College. I look forward to keeping in touch with my students. This fall I also had the opportunity to attend the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Conference.

I gave a paper: “With Anger, Zeal and Love: Samuel Johnson on the Inutility of Useful Passion.” What I enjoy about regional conferences is the feedback I receive on my continuing projects, and this conference did not disappoint. The paper is a section of a larger project, and I always benefit from feedback. Opportunities abounded this fall; in October I participated in the Colonial Peru Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Perspectives Colloquium, hosted by University of Wisconsin, Madison, at which I gave a paper: “How Peru Comes to Signify in English Eighteenth-Century Print.”

I received useful feedback, and made some new friends. This was the first time I took my work on how Peru comes to signify in eighteenth-century print to scholars outside of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies national and regional conferences. I met wonderful people and fell in love with the campus. I am fickle because my work with the eighteenth century has taken me across the country and to Canada, and I fall in love with all these places.

I am looking forward to a winter of playing in the white water—the waves are too big for my lack of skill with my body board, riding my bike in the early morning cold followed by hot peppermint tea, playing Scrabble via the Internet with my niece in Spain, and working on several projects. As for teaching, I will have to wait and see what shakes out in the land of Furloughs.