Author Archives: Rohan Maitzen

A New (and Final) Open Letters Monthly

I have often but not always marked the occasion of a new issue of Open Letters Monthly here. The thing about publishing on the first of every month, regular as clockwork, is that it seemed predictable enough that people who cared shouldn’t have any trouble remembering the schedule and finding the new issues on their own! I […]

This Week In My Classes: Slouching Towards the End

I was about to open this post by saying “it has been a tough week” when I realized it’s only Monday! On the other hand, it has been a challenging week if we start it back at last Monday, and since I haven’t posted here since then, I think that’s fair enough. It’s nothing in particular making […]

Piffle: Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

“If anybody ever marries you, it will be for the pleasure of hearing you talk piffle,” said Harriet, severely. Strong Poison was the first Peter Wimsey novel I ever read. It was the right one for me to start with, as it is the first one that features Harriet Vane, who is superb from the […]

“According to the Peruzzi”: Antonio Pennacchi, The Mussolini Canal

I make no claim to be telling you God’s own truth, the perfect and absolute truth which is known to Him alone. I’m telling you the truth according to the Peruzzi, as my uncles told it to me, as they themselves had lived it. To hear the other side of the story, and about other […]

This Week In My Classes: After This, The Deluge!

I was talking with some colleagues last night and we all agreed that it is going to be hard to regain the momentum we’ve lost in our classes after this unusually long fall break–it’s extended because today is a holiday “in lieu of Remembrance Day.” A fall break itself is a relatively new thing: last […]

Nevertheless, I Persisted: One Year Later

One year ago this week, the members of my promotion appeal panel wrote up their final decision: in their view, my file (“with its heavy reliance on non-peer-reviewed on-line venues”) had not met the requisite standard and therefore “promotion to full professor is not merited at this time.” Though they claimed to “see merit in […]

“The Resurrection of the Ordinary”: Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

So the wind that billowed her sheets announced to her the resurrection of the ordinary. I was actually tempted to take my title and epigraph, not from Housekeeping, but from Middlemarch:  “It is painful to be told that anything is very fine and not be able to feel that it is fine — something like being blind, […]

This Week In My Classes: Keeping Up

I am, mostly, but today I had my doubts about my students, many of whom seemed pretty tired and some of whom I’m reasonably certain were also (probably not unrelatedly) too behind on the reading to have anything to say in class. That’s OK: it happens, especially around this time of term. It is startling […]

“Detaching the Threads”: May Sarton, A Reckoning

Yes, Laura thought, it’s like a web. Whatever the secret, the real connections, we are inextricably woven into a huge web together, and detaching the threads, one by one, is hideously painful. As long as one still feels the tug, one is not ready to die. I don’t think May Sarton is a very good […]

“The Game Is Up”: Georgette Heyer, Regency Buck

The moment when the dashing, exceedingly well-dressed, but annoyingly remote Earl of Worth declares “The game is up!” is the moment I finally understood fully that the reason I hadn’t liked him much throughout the rest of the novel is that he’s both the romantic lead and a detective hero–part Regency rake and part Sherlock Holmes. […]

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