my final project in my 19th century british fiction class is supposed to somehow deal with the material instantiation of a text, and how that material text is a manifestation of issues that arise in areas like content, authorship, readership, etc. while i am not comfortable with this topic, i’m game because it deals with leafing through deteriorating pages of first editions. i love looking at first editions. of course, i want to write about wuthering heights (dear god, i’m writing about wuthering heights again). and there are not any first editions of wuthering heights in the southwest. in fact, there are only 27 in the world. and, according to WorldCAT, at least two of them are in europe. dammit.
i’m hoping patten will let me write on it anyway, using a very very early edition they have at the harry ransom center at UT-austin. i really don’t feel like re-working my topic, which at the moment i think is very clever (this confident feeling will undoubtedly dissipate later in the semester). i’m trying to connect the idea of writing as a form of feminine reproduction to nelly dean, the narrator in the book who is somewhat of a foster mother to one of the characters. tricky. but i think i can do it. and i’m not going to let the geography of first editions stand in my way.
in other news, i heard from danny tonight. he’s definitely on my A-list at the moment, because he sent me flowers to commemorate the fact that our wedding is two years from now. i know that flowers are a frivolous waste of money , but he doesn’t do it often, which makes me appreciate and enjoy the waste when it happens. he’s also on my A-list because he is having consistent conversations with cpt. henninger, the catholic chaplain in iraq, about marrying a catholic girl. i have not pressured him (or even asked him once) to have these conversations, and i think it’s good. while cpt. henninger is a priest, he carries a gun and has seen live combat. i think he’s a good median between danny, army version and catholicism.
but when we hung up i felt all weird and alone. my mom has been visiting since thursday, and she just left this afternoon. when i hung up with danny i was faced with the reality of my kitchen table, which is loaded with books entitled things like “the birth of wuthering heights” and “wuthering heights: a drama of being.” i worked for about an hour, then had a glass of wine. but it was a productive glass of wine, during which i got all jazzed about a week of unchallenged productivity. i will accomplish… something… this week.
and at that i’m off to make another substantial dent in north and south by elizabeth gaskell. and to make myself feel better, my list tonight will be…
what i have read so far this semester:
1. waverley by sir walter scott
2. vanity fair by thackeray (which may now be my favorite book… sorry, nabokov)
3. wuthering heights by emily bronte
4. sense and sensibility by jane austen
5. pride and prejudice by jane austen
6. bridget jones’ diary by helen fielding
7. northanger abbey by jane austen
8. mansfield park by jane austen
9. professing literature: an institutional history by gerald graff
10. academic keywords: a devil’s dictionary to higher education by cary nelson and stephen watt
11. the warden by anthony trollope