Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Happy Leap Day

Happy February 29th to one and all, and especially to those who get to celebrate their birthday on the right day for once :) In honour of the peculiarity of the day, here's a peculiar story, via the interwebs, about Saints Patrick and Bridget and popping the question:

Another tall tale (there's no reason to believe it's anything but) dates the origin of ladies' privilege to the 5th century, around the time (speaking of tall tales) St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. As the story goes, St. Patrick was approached by St. Brigid, who had come to protest on behalf of all women the unfairness of always have to wait for men to propose marriage. After due consideration, St. Patrick offered St. Brigid and her gender the special privilege of being able to pop the question one year out of every seven. Some haggling ensued, and the frequency ultimately settled upon was one year out of four — leap years, specifically — an outcome which satisfied both parties. Then, unexpectedly, it being a leap year and St. Brigid being single, she got down on one knee and proposed to St. Patrick on the spot. He refused, of course, bestowing on her a kiss and a beautiful silk gown in consolation.

Really, this should be an apology for not posting more, but I don't think anyone reads this anymore, so to whom would I apologise? Sorry, google's crawler bots! :) If someone does read this, leave a note and I'll post next week about the exciting world of pedagogical theory, in which I am currently mired.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

This May Seem Like a Strange Question...

Someone asked me the other day, and I really couldn't come up with a satisfactory response:

"Why, in English departments, do we write book-length works of "criticism"?"

Oh, in the past, I think it was because there were essentially two options: small things, that is to say, articles which could be compiled in paper journals or book-length publications; or monographs of book length, for book-length publication.

Maybe it's only a question to me because I can't at this point imagine having a book's-worth of analytical things to say on a single topic, or perhaps because, being raised in the digital age, I feel a peculiar affinity for middling-length pieces for which there never used to be any applicable publishing medium. Or perhaps I've read too many book-length works of analysis that really could have been two or three short papers but felt the need to expand themselves to the size of a book for economic (or other?) reasons.

This isn't to imply any sort of value judgement. I'm just throwing this out there.

What do you think? That is, if a) there is a you reading this, and b) you have thoughts.