Thursday, 16 June 2005

if I'd known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake!

I've been taken on as a contributor at the group literary studies weblog, The Valve, Heaven knows why, and the Sitemeter oracle divulges that a stream of people have descended on my blog over the last few days, no doubt in quest of some clue as to what I might have to offer, on what kinds of subjects, that could possibly be considered not despicably unreadworthy (see how weird I feel about this? Tortured syntax, & all....I'm actually literally writhing around in my seat, blushing to the roots of my hair, embarrassed, digging myself ever deeper, shit! it's dark in here, yuck, there's something wet and slimy underfoot, let me out, my family will pay money mister, no I WON'T put the lotion in the basket, freak!!...excuse me for a moment)

Okay. Dear visitors, thank you for your kind interest. I am a 32 year old Australian woman and I am five years into a PhD in the English department at a smallish, marginalish, nouveauish, leftish, beleagueredish Melbourne university called La Trobe. I teach there, too, and as of July, I'll be doing part of that teaching at one of the little country campuses, which is located at a middling sized agricultural / mining region centre a 90 minute plane ride away from here.
Apart from two misguided years spent studying fine art (drawing), my entire university education has taken place within the same institution, so I'm not the best judge of how my disciplinary horizon of expectations varies from other peoples', nor really of where it sits on the spectrum of available positions. One thing i can say, though, is that most of the reasons Matthew Arnold adduced in favour of paying attention to those who "have laboured to divest knowledge of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanise it, to make it efficient outside the clique of the cultivated and learned, yet still remaining the best knowledge and thought of the time" make a great deal of sense to me, (though some of the things I'd nominate in that category would no doubt be regarded by Arnold as the work of the antichrist.) I suppose this makes me look very conservative, but I don't see myself that way, in part because I insist on reserving the right to re-read and re-purpose, for my present uses, disputed and cast-out documents (like Culture and Anarchy), even and especially the ones that have acquired troubling auras and corollas, in consequence of tendencies and histories that have opened up in their wakes.
Another thing - I don't flatter myself that anyone actually cares what I think of Arnold or Hazlitt or I.A. Richards or Q.D. Leavis, or Derrida or Genette or Meaghan Morris or Judith Butler, or delude myself that any of this actually matters. The Australian higher education system is in endgame, as far as the humanities are concerned, which obviously is a very, very bad thing, but one small personal compensation is that I'm entirely free of worries and intimidations connected to whether my attitudes might adversely affect future employment prospects, since those are simply non-existent.

My dissertation, of which I've written about 50,000 words out of the projected 80,000, is on the subject of literature-to-film adaptation. I recently listed here the key adaptations I'm writing about. The nature of the subject and the way I'm handling it (lots of close reading, lots of semi-theoretical stuff located in the interstices between adjacent fields, ie literary studies & film studies) mean, unfortunately, that I haven't accumulated much transferable in-depth experience, except on topics to do with expressive media and their special properties, and on the compound issue of reception, influence, and mimetic intertextuality. And of course I have the usual distorted estimate of the appeal of my research & regard these as the most important, urgent, interesting, meaningful topics ever.

Again, thank you for coming over. I'll see you around The Valve, hopefully.

4 comments:

R H said...

You can blush, but don't say shit. It clashes with your hairdo.

Ampersand Duck said...

{applause]
I did it the other way around; English MA then Art School. Hell, they feed together so well whichever way you do it.

You need to do what I'm contemplating doing -- move to something like Word Press, where you can catagorise your blog entries. That way you can give people archive reading choices (in my case, typesetting/bookbinding v's fun stuff). The only problem is that I know it would take me a full weekend to move blogs, and I'd rather be dressing my kitties.

Lucy Tartan said...

Category archives would be nice alright, but I'm too impressed with Blogger's pricing structure to contemplate moving.

Clancy said...

Thanks for honoring my request! I look forward to your Valve posts.