Category Archives: Uncategorized

Antebellum Slavery Law on the Separation of Children from Parents

In the first edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin with reasonably thorough historical annotation, by Phillip Van Doren Stern, he notes that Stowe’s “[s]aying that Eliza was only eight or nine years old when she was sold in Louisiana gave Mrs. … Continue reading

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George Harris’s “machine for the cleaning of hemp” and Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin

I have been unsatisfied with how Harriet Beecher Stowe’s footnote on George Harris’s “machine for the cleaning of hemp” has been annotated in editions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Generally, editors annotate only Whitney’s cotton gin, the well-known antecedent to which … Continue reading

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A Close Reading of a George Will Editorial

I wasted three hours on this a while back, about twice as long as it took George Will to write the column that I analyzed. Out of the draft bucket and into the public, little commentary: it’s still a pretty … Continue reading

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Despair and the Textual Scholar

Despair seems the most apt way to describe how I felt about my work when I drafted this post. And I’ve decided to rescue it from my drafts and clean it up a bit for public appearance. So here goes. … Continue reading

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What is Candidacy?

This is a memo that I sent to graduate students, to explain candidacy. As this is a question coming up frequently, candidacy is permission to go forward with a dissertation, by passing what we call “qualifying” and what the university … Continue reading

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Remarks for Graduate School Luncheon: A Short Story about Me and a Frog

This is a talk that I gave to the graduate student luncheon, on August 24, 2017, for students entering the English department to pursue a degree or certification in one of our various graduate programs. Several faculty colleagues enjoyed it, … Continue reading

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On Trump’s Election

This is my reminder to myself, that before the election I was concerned that Trump was ill-prepared to be president, and that his words and actions were consistent with attitudes that I find abhorrent. Because I am an academic, I … Continue reading

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