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The Little Professor

Things Victorian and academic.

Updated: 2018-03-20T19:19:25-04:00


It depends


One of the reasons I'm probably disqualified from high-level academic leadership is that my approach to discombobulating situations can be summed up as "what is the least bad solution to this problem?" This is pragmatic, but not inspiring. ("Greetings, everyone!...

This (Last Two) Week's Acquisitions


Lorna Gibb, A Ghost's Story (Granta, 2015). Historical novel told from the point of view of the "ghost" Katie King. (Lift Bridge) Laura Purcell, The Silent Companions (Penguin, 2017). A Victorian woman goes away (bad move) to a decrepit mansion...

Brief note: The Man Who Invented Christmas


This is no doubt the sort of blog post that should be written around Christmas, when The Man Who Invented Christmas was originally released in the USA, but I fear that my sense of obligation did not quite equal my...

This Week's (Belated) Acquisitions


Celia Jones, Stories for the Christian Year (Joseph Masters, 1875). Three volumes from a multi-volume set in the spirit of John Keble's The Christian Year, consisting of short stories written to suit the liturgical calendar. (eBay) Colin Winnette, The Job...

The Job of the Wasp


The setting of Colin Winnette's The Job of the Wasp is immediately striking for its eerie detachment. Our first-person narrator, of no known age and unnamed until the end, arrives at an equally unnamed school/orphanage, located in no identifiable country...

Grumblings of a Middle-Aged Academic, Take #329 (Or, Book-Reviewing with Poor Eyesight)


I can't see much of anything. This may come as news, given that I do a lot of reading. But, really, with my contacts out, I can't see much of anything. I'm hypermyopic, with c. 20/1200+ vision*; I have astigmatism;...

This Week's Acquisitions


Paul Howarth, Only Killers and Thieves (HarperCollins, 2018). Novel set in late-Victorian Australia, examining colonial violence through a story about a settler family hunting down a former Aboriginal employee, with horrific results. (Amazon) Publications of the Catholic Truth Society, vol....

The Victim of Intolerance: or, The Hermit of Killarney, a Catholic Tale


The ecumenical "tolerance tale" is a tiny subgenre of the nineteenth century religious novel, and an overwhelmingly Protestant one. The political economist Robert Torrens' quad-decker The Victim of Intolerance: or, the Hermit of Killarney, a Catholic Tale (1814) is, while...

The conference circuit after tax reform


"You know," I've said to various people over the last few weeks, "we can no longer deduct conference expenses on our taxes." "Really?" "Yeah, they fell under the heading of 'unreimbursed employee expenses,' and those are no longer tax-deductible." In...

This (Last Two) Week's Acquisitions


(Unfortunately, I've also acquired a really persistent cold. *sneezes*) John Lang, The Forger's Wife (Grattan Street Press, 2017). Reprint of Lang's 1856 novel about a young woman who must deal with the repercussions of her husband's criminality after he is...

Much as the middle class is always rising, the academic book is always falling


Predicting the decline and fall of monographs--or, for that matter, desiring same--has been on the agenda for about as long as I've been an academic. It would be nice if the discussion was a bit more grounded in data that...

Adventures in Academic Life: The Spring Semester Edition


With the new semester comes a new installment in my chronicles of what a full professor at a regional comprehensive does to earn her keep. Teaching I have a course release this semester (for the reason, see "service," below), so...

This Week's Month's Acquisitions


Some books arrived while I was in CA. Amazing how that happens! I had absolutely nothing to with this! They just...appeared! William H. G. Kingston, The Lily of Leyden (SPCK, n.d.). Religions historical novel set during the Siege of Leyden...

Brief note: Death and Mr. Pickwick


One of the many things authors can do with historical fiction is, in fact, attempt to write history. In the nineteenth century, we see such experiments in Joseph Strutt's and Walter Scott's (execrable) Queen-Hoo Hall, some of Bulwer-Lytton's historical novels,...

Brief note: Ethel's Book, or Tales of the Angels


I continued my Thomas Richardson and Sons read-through with F. W. Faber's Ethel's Book, or Tales of the Angels (1858), which Faber dedicated to a young Etheldreda Fitzalan Howard (1849-1926), later a Sister of Charity. Faber was not, shall we...