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Archive for March 31st, 2013

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Dear friends and readers,

My time at the conference was over at 3 this afternoon. I’d had enough and went back down the arduous steep hill (the hotel is on top of one) to the Metro and home again home again jiggedy-jig. The worst part was the walking: sometimes I had to stumble down steep non-working escalators on the Metro too. It’s a bit of an exaggeration to give the impression I’ve been away as I will be next week when we go to Cleveland for the ASECS (American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies); two of the days I left home at around 11:30 am, two at 8:30 am; two I stayed until 6 pm, and two I stayed until around 3. I was able to come home and rest, one night made a blog, two nights watched a movie, or read. And was with the Admiral.

While there though I did go to as many sessions as I could. Once I skipped because I was meeting a friend and we discussed a possible coming anthology of essays about British costume drama, to which I could contribute an essay on the “televisual Trollope;” for a second break I spent some 40 minutes going through the book fair, where the presses were heavily film & TV studies, studies of popular culture (tourism, about the body, fashion books); I saw a sign at McFarland Press, “tell us about your book proposal,” so for a third I returned another day I took breathe and went over to McFarland Press which had yards of books on movies. I began speaking to someone who said she’d listen as I asked about the sign, and I just poured out a description of my 6 chapters of A Place of Refuge: the Sense and Sensibility films. By the end she gave me her name, email and told me that when I’ve gotten what I have together, to send it all to her. She said they don’t help in the hands-on way I was half-asking for, but they do help. I told her I was having trouble shaping it in a given direction; I was not sure if the final chapter should be about Jane Austen movies as such, the cult, or Austen herself and her books (really seen, not gushed over).

So maybe that’s very good news? at any rate I’ve got my work cut out for me with two papers for conferences accepted, this one on Trollope films, and couple more reviews promised, one of which on Frances Burney’s fifth volume of diary entries and letters (1782-83, revised later) is proving after all to be a time-consuming task, just reading this vast detailed epistolary text with so many voices (letters by friends are inserted), and rewritten more than once years later.

I yearn for a schedule I could follow, but I can’t seem to develop one. The problem is I can’t do a little each day on each, I must work at one thorough with say a little time for another (typing Ethelinde) and at night reading, writing, watching movies for pleasure. The problem for me is do I want to plunge myself into Internet life which I so enjoy from within or try for this lonely existence of trying to publish conventionally — without any monetary reward?

A general personal take on the social aspects of this conference. There were more sessions I really wanted to go to than is usual with me, and there were very few papers where the person rattled on at high speed speaking jargon-ridden abstractions about some abstruse topic or awful text (though there were a couple). I’ve never had an opportunity to go to three sessions on serial story-telling and soap operas, one on the recent TV modern situation comedies (Girls, West Wing), papers on film adaptations. I saw a clip from a film I’d seen when I was 9: The Teahouse of the August Moon. But there was a sort of problem. While the conference seemed to have about a 1000 people, there were 500 pages of panels in the book. Too many panels and choices made for most sessions attended by a very few people, and topics were organized in a row So 5 sessions on serial story-telling all on the same day, same room, back-to-back. There were many receptions, each small. People were not pushed to go outside their own narrow interests, so there was little sense of a single body of people there. It was streams of people. When I talked to people before and after sessions I did realize I was among people like myself sharing these related interests. Mostly they were people much younger than me and I felt they were more conservative as a bunch than I’d have expected — given the art-anthropology-sociology perspective, large number of gender studies, GLSBT sessions. But I did miss the sense of belonging, if it was less stressful this way.

I opened a Yahoo list for reading Winston Graham’s writing — partly enthused and partly stubborn after hearing a paper on the Poldark novels versus the films, and hearing talk attempting to describe how fan groups’ intransigence conservative aggressive politics shapes what the author can do or wants to do after a first round of intense popularity.

I will try to start writing blogs on the sessions and papers worth remembering tomorrow night, and will there offer more detail and critical evaluation (of the topics and content of the papers — mostly very good) but may not be able to transcribe all my notes before going off for another!

Sylvia

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