The Week In Review, January 11-17, 2016

The Spring academic term has begun, and so returns The Week In Review feature of this blog. If I do what I am supposed to do the way I am supposed to do it, this will be the last term I write about as a graduate student, so fingers crossed! In the meanwhile, without further ado, here’s what went on last week:


Andrew Cowell, The Medieval Warrior Society: Gifts, Violence, Performance, and the Sacred (2007)

Meyerson et al, Interpreting Medieval Violence (2004)
Classet et al, Violence in Courtly Literature: A Casebook (2004)
The Auchinleck Chronicle: Ane Schort Memoriale of the Scottis Corniklis for Addicioun to Which is Addkd a Short Chronicle of the Reign of James the Second Kind of Scots M.CCCC.XXXVL-M.CCCC.LX-L. Printed from the Asloan Manuscript. Edinburgh: Printed by Thomas Thomson for private circulation, 1819.
Patrick Fraser Tytler (1791-1849) History of Scotland, Volume IV


Michael Brown, The Black Douglases: War and Lordship in Late Medieval Scotland, 1300-1455. (1988)

David Hume (1558-1629) History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus (printed posthumously in 1644)

Total time spent researching this week: 11 hours


Completed draft of new dissertation introduction

Continued revisions to dissertation chapters
Total time spent writing this week: 18 hours

College Writing I: On Monday we did introductions and went over the course syllabus. Wednesday was devoted to an interactive lecture on the rhetorical triangle, canons, and appeals. Friday, they took a reading quiz and we did some rhetorical exercises with the week’s readings.

Introduction to Narrative: On Monday, we went over the syllabus and came up with preliminary definitions of the essential course terms: “narrative,” “monster,” and “hero.” On Wednesday, we discussed Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Culture: Seven Theses” which are the critical lenses we are thinking and arguing with in this class. On Friday, the class was divided into working groups to think through the definitions we came up with on Monday, and seek to refine them into working definitions for the term.

Total time spent on teaching this week (including class prep, setting up the online modules in Canvas, office hours, and grading reading quizzes): 18 hours


Service load is light this week, since it is the first week of the new academic term. This week’s service consisted of sitting GSA office hours and responding to email.

Total time spent in service this week: 4 hours

Other Scholarly Activity

We brought the Fall, 2015 issue of Hortulus live on Monday. This is the first issue that I have been primarily responsible for as senior editor and, yes, I’m pretty proud of it–especially when you consider that prior to starting with Hortulus, my coding skills were essentially nil. Now, thanks to being afforded the opportunity to work with some really talented people over the past two years, I can embed digital footnotes and lay out a journal for web publishing like a ninja! You can check it out here.

I met briefly with our graduate studies administrative assistant to make sure everything is set for my dissertation defense, which is scheduled for March 1. I also met with my dissertation chair to make sure we were on the same page going forward and that there wasn’t anything I was missing, and to confess an action I took that maybe was not my smartest possible choice at this point in time (if you have any kind of decent working relationship with him or her, always come clean with your dissertation advisor when you do something that might not be your wisest course of action. It might be embarrassing, it might be painful, it might be emotionally exhausting–and, yes, your advisor might get mad at you–but the alternative of keeping a potentially bad choice to yourself and trying to muddle through without professional guidance is worse. They KNOW you are going to make mistakes. Not ‘fessing up to and learning from those mistakes is a much bigger problem than having made them.)

Job search: Completed an application. Researched possible jobs to apply for.

Total time spent on Other Scholarly Activity this week: 12 hours

Total time spent on scholarly endeavors this week: 63 hours.

Nurturing My Self

I had two good runs of 3.5 and 4 miles each, and got to the gym 3 times this week, which is frankly amazing considering how much time I had to spend on work as well. I also managed to get through a few episodes of “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” (which I just adore) and watched the new episode of “Galavant.” And I have been much, much better about masking and taking good care of my skin, which makes me feel so much better overall. These final weeks as I prepare my dissertation revisions and submit it for defense are going to be tough, so I’m pretty proud that I am still making certain to take care of myself physically–it would be so much easier to just let myself go because I am too busy, eat for jumk and drink copiously and not work out at all, but I know I would be much worse off not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well, without proper rest and exercise to support my body’s efforts to get me through this last major hurdle. (Which is not to say that I am not eating junk and drinking wine…. just not as much as I could be!)


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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