So… what have I been up to? Flying, mostly, on planes with infants, mostly… First I went to Philly for a 36 hour visit for an adjunct interview. As soon as I got back to St. Louis, I had a day to sort out my 14 hour trip to Chicago. When the Victorian list-serve sent out an email that there was a Thackeray/Vanity Fair—Emily Bronte/Wuthering Heights conference I couldn’t believe it! Judith L. Fisher (who writes on Thackeray’s illustrations), Micael Clarke (who wrote one of my favorite works of criticism, Thackeray and Women), and Peter Shillingsburg (who has published on all things Thackeray) were all presenting and helped me to really reconnect with what I was doing and rekindle that sense of academic community I'd been missing. Marianne Thormählen (who travelled all the way from Stockholm to give a fascinating paper on Bronte and morality) kindly told me “it’s okay, we like when you ask questions!” when I got a little tongue-tied. You always hear about those awful encounters with your favorite scholar/writer and they turn out to be horrible--a former professor once told me that she sent Jamaica Kincaid her dissertation on her fictions and Kincaid replied “I used it line my cat’s litter box!" But the conference at Loyola was a really positive experience and I’m trying not to send off emails too quickly to the folks I met too quickly; don't want to appear like too much of a groupie! The hardest part about the trip was the 4am wake up to drive to the airport, to take a shuttle, to a plane, to a rental car, to drive across Chicago (which I’d never visited before!), to drive back, to take a shuttle, to take a plane (complete with four screaming infants, yep, four!), to take a shuttle, to drive back… I get tired just typing it! But, again, totally worth it, and much love to Loyola University for a wonderful (and free!) conference.
Other news: I plan on finishing Chapter 2, in all its glory (meaning it's somehow longer than Chapter 1), by April 27! On April 28 I begin the journey back to Pennsylvania to set up shop at the cottage and start my shortest (thank goodness!!) chapter (on Thackeray & America). What else? Noella’s visit was wonderful, Blue and I are hiking regularly at Castlewood State Park (yay for reliable 70 degree weather), and I’m in knots about his dental surgery on Tuesday. Does anyone else get so upset over their dog getting mild anesthesia? Be in touch—keep me honest, ask about my progress! I’ll post again before the trip back!