Author Archives: Rohan Maitzen

This Week In My Classes: Politics and Moral Complicity

The 2016 U. S. election has given some books I regularly teach new resonance–and not in a good way. In March 2016, Hard  Times was indeed “for these times,” with Mr. Bounderby running for President: He was a rich man: banker, merchant, manufacturer, and what not. A big, loud man, with a stare, and a metallic laugh. […]

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving today. If you aren’t Canadian (or even if you are) and you’ve never understood why we celebrate Thanksgiving (“isn’t that an American thing?”), here’s a really informative post by Andrea Eidinger at “Unwritten Histories” on just that topic. I was industrious last week and returned two sets of assignments, plus with today off, […]

“The Lesson Will Live”: Daniel Mendelsohn, An Odyssey

One of the strange things about teaching is that you can never know what your effect will be on others; can never know, if you have something to teach, who your real students will be, the ones who will take what you have to give and make it their own . . . can never […]

This Week In My Classes: Keeping Up

The first couple of weeks of the new term are always deceptive: you anticipate them with so much anxiety after the slower pace of summer work, but then for a while, though the logistics are a bit hectic and there are more day-to-day deadlines, it doesn’t seem that bad. But then the first significant assignments […]

This Week In My Classes: Blather, Rinse, Repeat

I’ve put off writing this post, hoping that I’d get some bright idea about what to say in it. Is it possible that I’ve been reporting on my weekly class business for too long? Everything I have to say seems like something I’ve said before. Actually, that in itself might be worth considering, because I […]

This Week In My Classes: Every Word Counts

We’re one week into the fall term and I’m starting to feel that I’ve got my sea legs back. Every new term seems a bit herky-jerky at first, but before long it smooths out, or at least becomes routine again. In Close Reading, where my initial goal is to foster a habit of paying close […]

Burning Down the House: Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

On the very first page of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, Elena Richardson’s house burns down. Everyone, including Elena, immediately and rightly identifies her renegade youngest daughter Izzy as the arsonist, but it’s not until three hundred pages later that we learn why she did it–that to her it was not act of destruction, but […]

This Week In My Classes: (Bad) First Impressions

Or maybe not. I hope not. I don’t mean that my students in the classes that started up today made a bad impression on me–far from it, in fact, as they seemed pretty attentive and ready to go, which is impressive considering the circumstances of my first class meeting this morning, at least. But their […]

Summer Reading, 2017 Edition

There was an undeniable nip in the air when I went on my run this morning–the overnight forecast even included the ominous words “risk of frost.” Though we are sure to have some more warm weather as September unfolds, it will be nice fall weather: the season is definitely changing. The other sure sign of […]

“My Own Way”: Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes

“Say you won’t leave us, Lolly.” “I’m afraid I can’t do that.” “But Lolly, what you want is absurd.” “It’s only my own way, Henry.” In many ways, Lolly Willowes is a familiar book. Like Villette or The Odd Women or The Crowded Street, it is the story of a woman whose life does not conform to the expected […]

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I recently took the widely recommended step of securing a “domain of my own” and I am gradually consolidating my online content there, including Novel Readings. I’m posting at both locations for now, but I have disabled comments at this location. You can leave comments on my new site; you may want to update your RSS feeds to follow me from there.

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