Rochester Reunion in Manchester, trip to Lancaster
Janet Wolff, former colleague at Rochester in the 1990s, had a birthday yesterday. And it so happened that our common friend and also colleague at Rochester was in the UK at the same time as I am. Somehow we discovered this. So, we decided to spring champagne and ourselves on Janet. We had a lovely time, which made me regret we don’t see each other often enough. The photo is pretty awful - my first and probably last selfie ever - but you get the gist of the girls’ reunion. Left is Janet, middle is Michael.
I am on my way to Lancaster, for a lecture, a screening of Madame B. and a PhD seminar and tutorials.
Two days later… Lancaster was a lovely experience of encounters with great colleagues and PhD students. Madame B.was sneak-previewed in a nearly gothic old Art Centre, called The Storey, for an audience of scholars and students. The discussion was amazingly animated. And I am now getting used to the question about the costumes and jewelry. When I say it all came out of our respective closets, people can’t believe it. There was also a very sensitive response to the rhythm, the way we have managed to build slowness into a film that could have been just as easily three hours long than the 96 minutes we squeezed it into.
I also enjoyed the company of the organizer of the visit, Sharon Ruston, author
of a very creative study on Romanticism: Creating Romanticism: Case Studies in the Literature, Science, and Medicine of the 1790s (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Sharon was generous and effective, sharing her friends with me and me with her friends. And her friends are the most interesting people - creative writers, scholars of “Medical Humanities”. I am especially interested in the article “Language, mind and autism in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in Linguistics and literary studies: interfaces, encounters, transfers. Fludernik, M. & Jacob, D. (eds.). Berlin: De Gruyter, p. 279-303, by Elena Semino, the head of the department of English Language and Linguistics, co-sponsor of my visit. It’s an amazing novel, I very much enjoyed meeting Elena, and my old interest in mental illness (see A Long History of Madness) doubles my eagerness for this article.