Sunday, September 11, 2005

Where have I been? 

I haven’t been doing much blogging over the summer, as I have been fighting against numerous mental and physical obstacles in order to get some work done. Stomach flu levelled me during June and July, with exhausting family-related trips before and after. Recarpeting meant that my study had to be dismantled and moved into the living room, and to top off the summer I banged my toe on items of furniture—twice—fracturing it. (Actually, the X-Rays don’t show anything, but, as it’s still not healed, there must be an invisible fracture.) I’m also trying not to add to the barrage (I almost said flood) of Hurricane Katrina analysis on the web. I’ll just make two comments. First, I have had e-mails regarding the plight of some medieval scholars in the New Orleans area, whose houses were destroyed, and my heart goes out to them. Second, it is a mess down there, and money is needed. Please give as much as you can by whatever means.

So did I get any work done? Never enough—but yes. Here’s a précis:

  1. Entries for the forthcoming J.R.R Tolkien Encyclopedia. Topics were on the Middle English King Horn, the Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus, Tolkien’s article ‘Sigelwara Land’ on the Old English word for Ethiopian, and his reviews of philological publications in the 1920s for The Year’s Work in English Studies. I still have a number of further entries to complete, including ones on Tolkien’s knowledge of Middle English and his depiction of kingship.

  2. An entry for the International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages--Online on ‘The Normans in Britain and Ireland: 1154-1217’.

  3. Ongoing research for my book Regionalism and Identity in Medieval England. This summer I began work on the South English Legendary, a collection of saints’ lives and other material which was one of the more popular and widely distributed Middle English texts.

  4. Began writing my paper (titled ‘Somerset before Dante’) for the MLA Convention in December.

  5. Embarked upon a major re-design of the English Department web site. I’m hoping to unveil it by the end of the semester.

Is that enough? Oh yes, and I was promoted to Associate Professor. At Cal State Northridge, that means more work. I’ll find out next month whether my cheque compensates for it.

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