The Week In Review, August 24-30, 2015


For the dissertation:

Noah D. Guynn and Zeinka Stahuljak, Violence and the Writing of History in the Medieval Francophone World (D.S. Brewer, 2013)

Mary Catherine Davidson, Medievalism, Multilingualism, and Chaucer (Palgrave, 2010).

For the Melusine essay (and also a book review–always make your reading do double-duty when you can make your reading do double-duty!):

Tara L. Pedersen, Mermaids and the Production of Knowledge in Early Modern England (Ashgate 2015)


My co-editors and I edited the book proposal and should have it out again early next week. I drafted two pages of one book review, and managed to eke out one page on the dissertation. It’s clear that I will have to fight fiercely for protected writing time if I am going to get the dissertation completed, especially now that we’re back in school and All The Things are back on my plate.


College Writing I: We discussed how to approach reading in a rhetorical fashion, wrote and talked about “literacy narratives” after reading Sherman Alexie’s “Superman and Me,” brainstormed ideas for their first essay, and had our library research orientation session–since most of the students in College Writing I are first-year or transfer students, I feel it’s important and, really, necessary to make sure they are aware of the research assistance and resources available to them and how to use them. Fortunately, our undergraduate research librarian is amazing. Our students are lucky to have so much research support!

Literature and the Arts: We did Old Norse Icelandic/Viking literature this week–the Prose Edda and Saga of the Volsungs. We looked at artifacts from the medieval period, “authentic” and modern interpretations of Old Norse and Viking clothing and weapons, images from 18th century ON manuscripts and 19th and 20th century illustrated versions of the stories, listened to Voluspa and Ragnarok performed by Sequentia, watched the season one trailer for the History Channel’s Vikings show, listened to some Viking folk metal, watched Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, and finished off the audio-visual experience with Looney Tunes’s “That’s Opera, Folks!” Then the students practiced writing their names in Old Norse runes. And as if that weren’t already about as much fun as you can pack into an intermediate college class, next week: King Arthur!


On Monday afternoon we held the GSA executive board meeting, where we discussed out goals for the year and set the first meeting agenda. Thursday afternoon was the general assembly, over which I presided as President. Friday morning I attended the student leader meeting with our Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and a number of other student group leaders, to talk about student concerns that have been brought to us, including questions of campus safety, sexual assault education, and police-student relations; we also discussed UNCG’s commitment to student leadership and service initiatives and ways in which our organizations can continue to promote and develop student engagement.

Other Scholarly Activity

I met with our director of the Writing Program and TA Coordinator and we determined that next term I’ll be teaching one section of Writing I and one section of Introduction to Narrative, which will be my Heroes and Monsters course again. I also identified a multi-year postdoc I might be eligible for and began drafting a letter for a job I’m interested in.

Nurturing My Self

We spent all weekend working on our house, which is in much worse condition than we thought it would be; we’re going to have to repaint everything because the tenants were using a kerosene heater (which was strictly forbidden!) and there is soot on literally every wall and ceiling; all of the ceiling fans were broken and needed to be replaced; the hardwood floors are burned by the kerosene heaters and there’s a giant scorch in one room; and their dogs had peed on the kitchen floor by the back door so often that we had to rip out the floor entirely; we’ve doused it with enzyme cleaner and will replace ithe flooring next weekend. The people who were planning to rent our home this coming year turned out not to be a good risk for us, and given our previous experiences we can’t afford to keep repairing the house after each tenant comes in and wrecks it, so we have made the difficult choice to do the repairs we can afford and put it on the market. Hope for our sake that it sells quickly, because otherwise we are really sunk financially.

I was able to work out twice this week, but pretty much all of my “down” time was sucked away by so many things to take care of and meetings to be in. I have promised myself that next week, I will give myself at least two facemask-and-winewith-a-TV-show nights, three workouts, and a nap or two to make up for how busy this week was.


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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