Hello and Welcome
This is something of a new venture for me, so I feel I should spend the first entry thinking about why I’m doing it, and why I hope it will be worth following!
I’m lucky enough to teach English Literature in a castle. A medieval castle owned by Queen’s University (Canada) to which undergraduates come for a term or two and take classes that count towards their degrees back home. It’s a special job, and more often than not a wonderfully rewarding one.
When I’m not doing that, I work on my own research, which tends towards 20th and 21st Century Literature. My PhD (2002) thesis was on the poetry of T. S. Eliot, and he’s still a writer to whom I return frequently, so you may expect to hear a fair bit about him here. I’ve also written on the idea of ‘Englishness’ in the 1930s and 1940s, as expressed in the literature, art, and travel writing of the period. My book ‘English Journeys’ was published in 2012, and in the course of writing it I spent a lot of time thinking about some of my favourite writers from the inter-war years: Orwell, Priestley, Betjeman, and Woolf.
I’m just setting out on a new project, and I suppose that’s largely where this blog comes in. The project will (I think) see me writing on the influence of Classical Literature, Art, and History on the writers and artists of the 1920s – 1940s: a sort of companion piece to ‘English Journeys’ but one that looks further afield.
This has the makings of a fairly immense project (I never seem to pick the small ones…) and I think I see this blog as a place where I can keep a record of some of the things I read, see, think about, or just want to share along the way. Not all of it will be quite so specific, I’m sure. At key points in the respective seasons I’ll probably start writing about football, cricket, or ice hockey, and the trials and pleasures of following each of those sports. I’ll probably post, too, about plays or exhibitions I’ve seen, or just about those stories or events where the study of Literature doesn’t seem quite so irrelevant after all.
How this will turn out, I have no idea. I’m looking forward to writing it, though, and hope you find something here that interests you.