The Week In Review, February 23-March 1, 2015


For the Dissertation:

Timothy J. Tomasik and Juliann M. Vitullo, eds., At the Table: Metaphorical and Material Cultures of Food in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Brepols, 2007)

Robin Chapman Stacy, “Law and Lawbooks in Mediaeval Wales” in History Compass 8/10 (2010): 1180–1190.

The Mabinogion– Davies, Gantz, and Jones translations

Beowulf, Liuzza second edition facing-page translation (Broadview)

For thinking about Text Technologies in conjunction with the Stanford seminar:

M.B. Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation, and Dissemination of Medieval Texts (Hambledon Press, 1991)

David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery, eds., The Book History Reader (Routledge, 2002)

For the Folger seminar:

William Camden, from Britannia (“Author to Reader”; “Britaine”; “The Name of Britaine”; “The Down-Falle or Destruction of Britain”; “The English Saxons”; “The Danes”; “The Normans”; “The British Ocean”)

William Shakespeare, Cymbeline

From PMLA 127.3 (2012): Eleanor Johnson, “The Poetics of Waste: Medieval English Ecocriticism”; “Tobias Menely, “The Present Obfuscation: Cowper’s Task and the Time of Climate Change”; “Sustainability” cluster of short essays by Stacy Alaimo, Dan Brayton, Stephanie LeMenager and Stephanie Foote, and Steve Mentz


3,273 words to chapter two of my dissertation and a four page lecture on “Early American Poetry” for my class.


On Monday, we finished up our section on early modern women writers, looking at Mary Worley Montagu’s poetry and Hannah More’s letters in association with her publication of William Mason’s “The Ploughboy,” On Wednesday I lectured on poetry in the New World, and we looked at the poetry of Anne Bradstreet and Phyllis Wheatley, thinking about why their books were published not in America but in London, and the circumstances of race and gender that both made possible and limited their writing careers.


GSA office hours; I prepared the budget report and wrote financial notes and updates in preparation for the upcoming General Assembly.

Other Scholarly Activity

I attended the fifth session of our Folger seminar on “The Scale of Catastrophe.” In this session we discussed the idea of “sustainability” and the complications of trying to work within a concept of “no change” when in fact we can do nothing to prevent the world from changing; the “myth” of sustainability. We thought about working instead with the concept of ingenuity and human invention and intervention. We also considered environmental impact on the human as well as human impact on the environment, the notions of nature/nurture, and to what degree our narratives create our catastrophes. I also completed the work for the sixth and final week of “Digging Deeper,” an online open course on medieval manuscripts out of Stanford University. I have learned so much from this course, and I am really looking forward to the second part, which will begin in April.

Nurturing My Self

I ran on Monday and today, and went for a long walk in the snow while I was up in Washington, D.C. for the seminar–it was utterly beautiful walking up and down the National Mall in the snow, and my soul was very satisfied. I also ate the most sublime French pastries at a place called the Open Market, and I have EVERY intention of going back for more next week! We went to a friend’s house for drinks and conversation last night as well. It’s been a very balanced week, for a change! And of course, tonight I’ll be watching “Downton Abbey” and catching up on “Glee” and “Grey’s Anatomy”–Sunday night has become my “binge on all the things” night, because you can’t live on work alone, even (especially) when you are a graduate student.


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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