Because a poem be like a pearl in the midst of your papers, findeth inscribed below another offering in the style of John of the Donne wherein Master Zachary Sandri compareth love to your modern device of moving portraits. Celluloid (A Kiss in Times Square) (A Petrarchan Sonnet Inspired by John Donne) by Zachary Sandri I’ve been to see my love a dozen times, and each time features of her…

Getting it Donne

The students of the olde history of the much esteemed literature of Britain be writing poems in the style of John of the Donne this finaltide.  And forsooth they are most deserving of an audience more broad and be-steeped in learning than their instructress, and for this reason find inscribed below the words of Hannah Coble, who hath wrapped the mystery of love within a comparison to the new-fangled device…

Hated words

The post below was written by Alexandra Boyd-Rogers, an undergraduate in 4301 History of the English Language.  This semester the students are posting their language observations to a course wiki. You can read more here–https://wiki.uta.edu/display/ENGL4301/Home This weekend I had interesting individual conversations with my grandmother, my mother, my sister, and my father about which words we hated most in the world (each independent of the others, so that each hated…

The Making of a Medievalist (or rather an Anglo-Saxonist)

I am frequently asked—I think more often than most English professors—why it is that I ended up doing what I do. There’s something about being an Anglo-Saxonist just freakish enough to require explanation. Or maybe it’s my palpable lack of a beard, which, as I have noted before on this blog, is practically a requirement of membership in the field. In any case, I have been thinking a lot recently…

“Authors we’re a little in love with,” or “Why John Donne is my homeboy.”

It’s that week I’ve been waiting for all semester. What, the mythical time when I have finished all my reading for class and my grading, and still have hours leftover for guiltless gardening? No, it’s John Donne week in History of Brit Lit. Could life get any better? Which brings me to the purpose of my post. Admit it, some authors you just have a little bit of a crush…

It’s English, but not as we know it

At some point in every semester, I give my students a really difficult assignment that I am not sure they are capable of completing. I’ve been to assessment workshops, and I know that when you issue an assignment, you are supposed to have a clear vision of what you will receive in return—visualize a butterfly, I think the metaphor was, and if you can’t, don’t complain when you get beetles…

“The Likelihood of Feeling Lonely Scale”

In response to Tim’s last post, one person mentioned the phenomenon of “celebrity scholars,” and how they, alone among English professors, are able to finance lavish and jet-setting lifestyles. Although surely not all celebrity scholars are bad (I’m afraid that I can’t say here that some of my best friends are celebrity scholars), I have taken a class with one and it involved neither a syllabus nor the learning of…

Further further adventures in myth-busting

Following Laura and Desiree’s discussion of myths associated with creative writers and English majors, it falls to me to discuss fables about that mythical beast, the English professor. I suppose that it is fitting for me to tackle this topic, since one of these myths involves the spurious authority that simply being English gives you as an English professor. Although there are lots of people in England who aren’t remotely…

21 days of Christmas, B and Bs, and Crime Queens

21 days, 147 hours of light, 357 hours of darkness, 5 adults, 1 bathroom, 6 pounds of Quality Street, 1 large box of Cadbury’s éclairs, 1 box of Maltesers, 1 box of Ferrero Roche, 2 orders fish and chips, 3 roast dinners, 1 entire island covered in snow, and 72 hours of traveling later, I survived Christmas in England. Where was I? Torquay, Devon. A place perhaps best known as…

Proof that novels about clergymen and spinsters can be good

Much as I hate to plaster my post over Tim’s diverting discussion of academic bureaucracy, it is time for me to report back on another “Neglected Classic,” which this time is F.M. Mayor’s The Rector’s Daughter. I had never heard of F.M. Mayor. Not that this necessarily means much, since twentieth-century literature was a blind spot of my undergraduate degree in English. In 1991, which is when I started the…