Author Archives: Rohan Maitzen

“Modest Hope”: Rosy Thornton, Hearts and Minds

After that, there was a return to something of the camaraderie which had developed between them during these last two terms and he discovered himself nursing the more modest hope that her departure would not mean a cessation of their friendship. The last time I wrote about Rosy Thornton here, in a post on her […]

This Week: All Exams All the Time

OK, I exaggerate slightly: I’ve also had some papers to grade. But the final exams for both of my winter term classes were this Tuesday. At 3 hours each, with set up and pack up time that meant over 7 hours straight in the dreary Dalplex fieldhouse, and I walked away with 120 exams which […]

“Kiss Me, Katya”: Anne Tyler, Vinegar Girl

Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler’s contribution to the Hogarth Shakespeare project, is basically a romantic comedy — the “indie” version, a bit quirky, a bit acidic, a bit sweet. In fact, it is both sweeter and more romantic than I expected: it has been decades since I read or saw The Taming of the Shrew, but at least in […]

Chilling, Twisted, Forensic: Hilary Mantel, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

The adjectives in my post’s title all come from the nearly four pages of blurbs at the front of my paperback edition of The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Other Stories. Looking them over after finishing the book, I was struck by how consistent the clips are, and how accurate: “exhilarating if dark,” “brilliantly chilling,” “artfully […]

This Week In My Classes: Just Keep Swimming!

This post really should be called “This week, last week, and next week in my classes” — partly because I didn’t manage to post last week at all, and partly because if I had, or if I manage to post again next week, the theme is likely to be the same: it’s Dory time! My […]

This Week In My Classes: A Study in Contrasts

I didn’t plan it this way, but it turns out that teaching Lord of Scoundrels at the end of a term that has also included Bleak House, Adam Bede, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a good way to bring home the truth of  Jennifer Crusie’s remark that a lot of great literature is really toxic to women. In romance fiction, […]

This Week In My Classes: Subversive Women

The March madness continues – indeed, I’ve been wondering how I managed not just to read but also to blog about actual books more than once last week. I felt quite on top of things for a bit, but two sets of papers have just come in, more paper proposals are incoming even as I write, and […]

“Multiplicity of the Self”: Kerry Clare, Mitzi Bytes

The problem with the multiplicity of the self — an idea that appealed to minds as wide-ranging as Virginia Woolf’s and Lolo’s, not to mention Cher’s — was that you never knew which part of you anybody was talking about. The problem with the multiplicity of the self was that there could be enough of […]

“Mourning in a Drawing Room”: Helen Simonson, The Summer Before the War

This was the confusion of war, thought Beatrice. That some should sit mourning in a drawing room, or smoothing the brow of a dying boy, while in a cottage on a cobbled street, two young lovers could only choose to stand against the shocking burden of death and loss with their love and their passion. […]

This Week In My Classes: March Madness and #IWD

I can’t believe Reading Week is already two weeks ago — but that’s what it’s always like when we come back. I don’t like to say that it’s all downhill from there, but it does always seem as if the term accelerates, even as the work accumulates. And there are just so many moving parts! […]

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