Monday, 3 December 2012

assignments, frosty bampton, a conscious englishman, life-writing lunch, lincoln college, letters, end of term

Missed cycling this weekend due to work, including writing up comments on assignments. Enjoyed doing the assignments, though--they were the final ones of the course and it's always exciting to see how people have developed as writers over the ten weeks.

Did manage to get a walk round the village on frosty Sunday morning to collect Sunday Times. Bampton looked beautiful but the cold weather made the house difficult to keep warm, even with a log fire and the heating on. It's all down to the original windows, which we prefer to double-glazing.

Proof copy of A Conscious Englishman arrived earlier in the week and the first batch of books is now printing.

Last Tuesday, I went to the Life-Writing Lunch at Wolfson College--part of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing series of events. Great fun. This time, Dr Oliver Herford of Lincoln College gave a preview of his next research project: a study of the circulation and publication of the letters of nineteenth-century poets and novelists, especially Henry James and John Keats. [Lincoln College was, by-the-by, where Edward Thomas was as an undergraduate.]

Among the many interesting things Dr Herford said was that the recipient of a letter is fifty percent of the context. In relation to this point, he was reluctant to see any one of the apparently contradictory personas of Henry James that appear in different letters as being the more true. Dr Herford emphasised the complexity of the writer that the different letters reveal. He said that some things are sayable to one recipient and not another. He also pointed out that letter writers don't tend to write with the thought that letters to different recipients will one day be scrutinised side by side. A fascinating area--not least when these observations about letter writing are applied to one's own emails, perhaps!

Hard to believe that another Oxford full term is at an end. They are so chock-a-block with things happening and just whiz by.

No comments:

Post a Comment