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beheadings thataway

May 15, 2009

Molly‘s visit to London was the perfect excuse to cavort around the city doing ridiculous touristy things that I would never do on my own. Because Molly is slightly insane, however, these ridiculous touristy things involved fewer museums and palaces than one might expect, and rather more dead things. We visited Zombie Oscar Wilde, Zombie Jeremy Bentham, the Princes in the Tower – not to mention the Tower in general, which is gorgeous but full of a great deal of historical death – mummies and the Rosetta Stone (Molly was not as excited about the Rosetta Stone as I expected), and spontaneously went to see a West End production of Les Miserables. We also went to see Waiting for Godot, but that was less spontaneous. I may post about many of these things in the future, especially once Molly gets her photos online. For now, two moments that encapsulate the visit:

The very best part of our entire afternoon at the Tower of London:

From Molly in London

And, of course, Molly gazing fatuously at Zombie Oscar Wilde. Seriously, no offense to the artist intended, but he is clearly a zombie. Leaving aside the coffin-shaped statue base and green, Medusa-like snake hair (and the green carnation, but that was a given), there are mysterious starfish inside his head.

From Molly in London
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Not the Jam

May 15, 2009

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while, but then I had essays, and then Molly came to visit, and then I had to hide under the bed for a while and not talk to anyone because I was so work-and-peopled-out. Somewhere in there, however, the 2008 James Tiptree, Jr. Award winners were announced. Since the Tiptree is the literary award to which I am the most personally devoted and attached, I thought it deserved a mention.

This year’s winners are:

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
& Filter House by Nisi Shawl.

Congratulations to them both!

I have not yet read either book, but I’m looking forward to them. Further information about the winners, the jury, this year’s short list, and the award itself can be found at the Tiptree Award website. The Tiptree is given every year (and frequently presented at WisCon, the world’s first feminist science fiction convention, also known in my family as our annual family reunion), for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.

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a treatise on libraries

April 27, 2009

Mary Oliver’s ‘An Afternoon in the Stacks’ was my National Poetry Month poem, today, and it – coupled with my long day at the British Library – got me thinking, as I so often do, about libraries.

From MHC

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Grand Dutch Adventure, Part II

April 25, 2009

Things I Learned In The Netherlands:

  1. That thing about everybody in the Netherlands riding bicycles is not, as I previously suspected, a myth. Everyone. Rides. Bicycles. There are more bicycles in Holland than I have ever seen in my life. I was nearly killed by bicyclists at least fifty times.
  2. The Queen of Sweden is more elusive than one might expect.
  3. I am not in fact capable of keeping up when it comes to drinking with the English. I max out at three drinks, and sometimes I can fake it, but not, apparently, on a European Tour.
  4. The Dutch are incredibly friendly, awesome, and very knowledgeable.
  5. I love old books. (I may have known that already.)
  6. If you give me a camera, I am liable to go a little crazy.

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Grand Dutch Adventure

April 20, 2009

My graduate program, in its infinite awesome, is dragging us all on a Field Trip to the Netherlands this week. We were originally supposed to go to Antwerp, to visit the Plantin-Moretus Printing Museum, but the Powers That Be decided that Antwerp was not exciting enough, and that we should instead go to Amsterdam, provided they could find a suitably academic excuse. Amsterdam, while replete with history (and “coffee houses”), turned out to be a wash, and we are now going to Leiden, where we will visit the Bibliotheca Thysiana, and the Museum Boerhaave, and possibly look at a lot of tulips. I am pretty excited about the tulips, but not as excited as I am about the old libraries and the old books.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately for me, as I am currently deeply invested in Elizabeth of Bohemia and Dudley Carleton and the Thirty Years’ War – we students are staying at a hostel in The Hague, because we cannot actually afford to stay in Leiden with the staff. (While our events and one fancy meal will be covered by the Department, we are paying for most of our own food and lodging and transport). I am okay with this, because a) I really like train travel, and b) I will get to see more of Holland. I am unlikely to actually do any work in The Hague (although I may have to, essays are due next Monday), but I can wander the streets and think about history, which, really, is my typical modus operendi while in Europe.

I expect there will be pictures when I get back!

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beginnings

April 17, 2009

I never know quite how to begin these things. However, in the interest of a semi-public face on the Internet, and, as I have been calling it, maintaining a “public consumption blog” (once again), some things you may find herein in the future include:

  1. Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, treatises and commentary on, discussion of, and jokes about. I will probably be a little coded when I talk about my own work. I’m a graduate student. I know nothing, and aim to know everything.
  2. Book reviews, book recommendations, and rambling on about books.
  3. I am (at least for another few months) an American living in London. I doubt this will turn into a travel blog, but I am sure there will be stories, especially if I manage to do some actual traveling beyond the (no longer extant, and actually I live beyond them anyway) city walls.
  4. I have a baking obsession. There will probably be food posts.
  5. Speculative fiction, discussions of, commentary on, and references to. I grew up in science fiction fandom. It’s pretty much like home.
  6. Parenthetical phrases. Classical allusions. Obscure popular culture. Latin. Poetry. Less obscure popular culture. Some sex, probably no drugs, and a fair amount of rock’n’roll. Links to things I like. Recipes. American politics. Social issues. World events. Judaism. Serial commas. Misuse of semicolons. Office supplies. Rhetoric. Theater. Queerness. An extreme prejudice against prejudice. Socks. Chocolate.

Stick around. Should be fun.

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testing, testing

April 16, 2009

New blog. No content. Testing the waters.