My First Book Jacket Blurb!

Well, here's one of the first signs you're a "real" academic -- a blurb from me on an academic book. I'm actually quite excited about this volume ( Magic Words, Magic Worlds: Form and Style in Epic Fantasy by Matthew Oliver), which is about style in epic fantasy texts. One thing Oliver does exceptionally well is describe stylistic features in a really concrete way, through actual quantifiable stylistic techniques. There's none of that "impression of" nonsense or cherry-picked sample sentences from which egregious over-generalizations are made. Incidentally, my wife and I saw Oliver's presentation at ICFA 2022, and his was one of her two favorites of the whole conference. (My wife is a non-academic.) Turns out she really appreciates concrete arguments as  well!

Random Blog Post Discovered on an Article of Mine

So, this really bucks me up .... I discovered a random blogger, Joe Hoffman, whom I discovered through a recent mention on Brenton Dickieson's own excellent website  A Pilgrim in Narnia , and I saw that Hoffman was interested in Poul Anderson. "Cool!" I thought. "I'm working on Poul Anderson too." Then I noticed that among Hoffman's keyword categories was "Alliterative Verse." Growing excited at seeing someone else interested in this same thing, I clicked the link .... and, right off the bat, immediately saw a  highly laudatory reference (and link) to my own paper published last year in Studies in the Fantastic , “Antiquarianism Underground: The Twentieth-century Alliterative Revival in American Genre Poetry”. The link used by Hoffman was to the version on Humanities Commons.  It seems like Hoffman was also familiar with Jere Fleck and the Markland Medieval Mercenary Militia, two groups important in the Modern Alliterative Revival. It's a

Invitation to an Edited Collection

Well, this was a pleasant surprise .... I've just received my first official invitation to contribute to an edited collection. The book is called Tolkien on Screen (Kent State UP), and it's a history of cinematic adaptations of Tolkien edited by Thomas Honegger, Hamish Williams, and Lukasz Neubauer. Unfortunately, I'm already completely swamped with writing projects up through the next year, so I had to decline, but I wish them the best of luck on the collection.

My First Mythcon

Just back from my first Mythcon! Well, my first in-person  Mythcon .... I attended the virtual one in 2021, which was my first year as Awards Steward. This year's event was held in Albuquerque, which isn't that far from Tucson, and the wife and I were doubly excited because of our admiration for Breaking Bad . By sheer coincidence, the city was unveiling statues of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman on the day of our arrival, and the actors, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, were in attendance. We missed the statue unveiling, but we twice tried to reach the Convention Center to see the statues. The first time, the Center was closed (it was a Saturday), and the second time it had closed temporarily due to "lockdown" -- certainly, a weird thing. Who calls a threat to a Convention Center? Luckily, our first Uber driver told us that the actors were throwing out the first pitch in the Albuquerque Isotopes game, i.e., the Triple-A minor league affiliate for the Colorado Rockies, a

Completed: my Brit Lit I survey course for Fall2022

Finally completed -- every single lesson plan for the Brit Lit I (Beowulf to Milton) course I'm teaching this fall. ... although technically, it's called "British and American Literature: From Beowulf to 1660." Anyway, there's 31,000 words of text in the document, plus one detailed PowerPoint to help explain the Gael/Briton/ Celtic/Anglo-Saxon thing (something that's always perplexed me about early British history), and of course all my quizzes set-up in D2L. Normally, working this far ahead seems crazy to me, but the subject matter is still unfamiliar enough that I decided to forego the standard week-by-week route .... and, honestly, I needed to see the shape of my entire course before even finalizing a reading list. I never imagined that I would need three weeks for Chaucer, for instance .... I'm truly amazed, though, at some of the possibilities created by this course's parameters. For instance, the combination of British and American literature in

Some Sample Student Comments

I've taught the online version of my Monsters, Ghosts, Aliens, and Others class so often now that I rarely, if ever, check my end-of-semester evaluations. Well, I randomly did this time around, and there's a few gems: "Cut back on the homework! You shouldn't expect me to work 18-24 hours a week on this class." Well, technically it's the University of Arizona that expects that .... "Three due dates per week is too much" (several variations on this) A case can be made for this, granted, but the problem is that, if I reduce the course to two due dates per week, that means each due date is 9-12 hours per work, and the procrastinators will mostly fail. So it's a pick your poison scenario, alas. "How we were regarded as students seemed more personal than my previous classes. Which was a positive aspect for sure." Well, thank you, student! I do try to be a friendly, enthusiastic sort. "I truly think Dr. Wise is my favorite professor I

Reflection on AC Spearing's reflection on CS Lewis

Just happened to glance at the latest issue of Journal of Inklings Studies , and I immediately saw a reflection by A. C. Spearing on C. S. Lewis as a research supervisor while at Cambridge University in the mid-1950s.** This struck me for two reasons. First, I've been reading a shit-ton of Lewis's literary scholarship lately, and I HAVE THOUGHTS . Second, Spearing is one of the few medievalists whom I've actually read. Way back during my time at Ohio State, I encountered Textual Subjectivity (2005) while taking a medieval literature course, and now learning that Spearing had studied under CSL is mesmerizing me. Anyway, I loved Spearing's reflection, and I'd highly recommend it . There are several passages I want to comment on specifically, so I'll take them in order. p. 112: "As is indicated by the quotation marks round ‘supervisor’ in his letter, and by its general tone of reluctance, Lewis was opposed to the professionalization of literary research and th