Sunday, January 8, 2006

The Sunday before the semester and what I'm doing with it

The sun is up, the sky is blue,
It's beautiful, and so are you.
Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play?

Here in Rust Belt, the sun is actually shining through the gray coat of winter dullness that usually covers us from December through March, so this particular assistant professor is going to celebrate the last Sunday before the start of the school year by lacing up her Saucony running shoes and heading out for at least an hour's run, more if I feel up to it. (I've been off my game since the marathon, and in the last three weeks I've only gotten in a run or two a week, so no mega-long runs for me for the time being.)

And then I'm going to come back and write something about the problems and pleasures of literature surveys and anthologies -- for the upcoming Teaching Carnival, to be held at Ancarett's Abode on January 15 -- inspired by this NY Times article on M. H. Abrams' retirement from editing the Norton Anthology. (He's handing over the reins to Stephen Greenblatt, which gives this medievalist pause, although no greater pause than the Norton Anthology already does. More on why in the promised post.) So, in other words, I'm spending my last free Sunday thinking about teaching. Will it never end? (She cries in mock despair.)

[ETA: I thought it best not to post my "Why I love/hate surveys and anthologies" post until tomorrow, as my Norton and Longman anthologies are at the office, and as the Norton is a new edition, I should really make sure none of my particular beefs with it have been made obsolete.]


The Bailiff said...

I spent this Sunday morning doing my first official long run for the Flying Pig marathon.

I just stopped by to say, yeah all around for running!

La Lecturess said...

Yeah--I just got the 8th edition, since I'm kinda forced into using it by the shape of my survey, and I was really irritated by some of the changes. What happened to the Chester play of Noah's Flood? Who knows, but it's not there any longer.

Dr. Virago said...

Bailiff -- Woo hoo! Hope you had a good run. Mine was pretty darn splendid.

Lecturess -- Oh crap, I hadn't even noticed that. The poor service to medieval drama is one of my beefs with Norton (and one of my worris about Greenblatt) -- not just in the number of selections, but the kind (Everyman?!) and the hideously out of date and erroneous headnotes. But I think I should hold off on my post until I go to my office tomorrow and have the anthologies to hand, in case there are other changes (for good or ill) that I hadn't noticed, as I just got my 8th edition, too.

And have you tried the Longman anthology? I much prefer to use it than to use Norton.

Heo said...

First "syllabuses," now an anti-Norton tract...Blasphemer! (I'm still working from my 6th edition Norton, so I have no idea how it's changed.)

Anonymous said...

Thankfully I am not beholden to the "anthology" in quite the same way (though there are primary source readers that totally shape my teaching), but I've definitely heard medievalists complain about the representation of medieval women's lit in the NA - not just that there isn't much (Julian, Margery), but which bits get excerpted. I can't confirm this from personal experience, but it certainly fits into my readiness to Blame the Patriarchy. ;-)

Tiruncula said...

Looking forward to the post about anthologies! I agree with you about the superiority of the Longman, but in general I'd prefer to be able to avoid anthologies altogether. Have you tried the Blackwell anthologies, btw?

Dr. Virago said...

OK, given the response to my mere promise of a post on anthologies and surveys I guess I must write it now! :) OK, will do, after I plan tomorrow's classes.

New Kid -- yeah, the Norton makes (or used to, anyway) Margery Kempe seem crazier and only gave the "little think like a hazelnut" episode of Julian's Showings, making her seem like a humanist (or maybe even a transcendentalist!) quasi-mystic. All that nasty, bloody crucifixion imagery and wishing for sickness and wounds was skipped over.

Tiruncula - I've used Blackwell for medieval drama courses. And I have the Blackwell Old and Middle English anthology, but the ME is all untranslated and not heavily glossed enough for my students. In short -- it's too hard. I haven't seen their other anthologies