09 January 2006

The Paper Chase

     Just a few brief notes from the Not-So-Good Doctor's already-cluttered desk:
  • The NYT informs me that M.H. Abrams has decided to step down as General Editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature.  It's a bit unfortunate that Abrams is retiring, though he's certainly earned the break.  More a cause for pause:  Stephen Greenblatt, New Historicist and Cultural Poeticist Extraordinaire, has been appointed to succeed him.  Greenblatt, for those of you not in the know, has caused me no end of migraines over the years, his propensity for the preposterous having effectively legitimated some of the grossest misreadings students and acolytes could fathom.  He's the one who made The Tempest a study of colonialism, and the Henriad a study in Machiavellian politics.  He also famously described The Taming of The Shrew as "a very chilling play," an assessment that's as obtuse as it is wispy.  I tremble to think what will become of the Norton (anecdotes, anecdotes!) under his tenure, but there is a hint of appropriateness, I guess, to his appointment: if you're going to continue the production of the granddaddy of paper-thin readings....
  • Speaking of paper-thin readings, I remain quite behind on my marking, and the next day and change are will require me to make a sortie against the essays as bold and lunatic as the charge on Agincourt.  Sleep?  Sleep?  I don't need no stinking sleep..... (Zzzzzzz....)
  • Monday evening is the English-language leaders debate, which, as dull as it will doubtlessly be, may be Must-See TV, if only to watch the Prime Minister protest that we shouldn't stick a fork in him yet.  The key will be whether or not Captain Canada can cow soft NDP voters (aka "New Timidcrats") into voting for him for fear of electing Stephen "Nobodaddy" Harper.  My gut says not this time.  The numbers really won't matter in relation to the Tories, the Grits, or the Bloc: they'll only matter in relation to the NDP, and whether or not they'll have enough seats to play kingmaker. 
  • From the Oh, Jer... file:  Said to the Not-So-Good Doctor, for the umpteen-billionth time, over pints the other day:  What you need is a good woman.  (And all the fisher king needed was the grail.)  Thanks, Dr. Crane, I'll get right on that....
  • Have actually been teasing through a premise for a new paper, based on an idea so obvious I'm almost surprised no one (to my checking) has actually proposed it.  Will have to discuss it with someone knowledgeable about Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate, and then find the time (oy vey) to sketch through a draft, but the paper should be relatively easy to put together.  We shall see.

But marking and Austen have, unfortunately, to come first.  The days ahead will be hectic.  So much for getting everything done in rough accordance with a schedule. 

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