Monday, February 3, 2014


(I had intended to write about something else entirely, but I received some fine news this morning, and so I am going to trumpet it instead.)

Despite its seeming inability to spell, the Tales after Tolkien Society is a major concern of mine.  As I am one of the people whose papers gave rise to it, I think I may safely consider myself something of a charter member of it.  Certainly, when I go to this year's International Congress on Medieval Studies, I will be attending the Society's business meeting, and I have ideas for an agenda to push.

It is because of my association with the Society and my own predilections that, when I saw this CFP from Society founder Helen Young, I responded to it with glee.  And I am glad that I did; I received an email this morning saying that my submission has been accepted.  I would seem to have a book chapter on the way, and I am thrilled about it!

Before the commercial questions come up: I do not know what kind of compensation I will receive for my contribution to the volume other than the line on my CV--although having the publication credit demonstrably contributes to my ability to get jobs in academia.  I may get a little bit of money for the work.  I may get one or two copies of the text for my own.  But I am not sure.

I suppose that some comment may be made regarding the exploitation of the scholarly.  We labor in our cells in the ivory tower despite the uncomfortable chairs, toiling away at The Work and the teaching with which we justify our existence to the outside world. (And teaching is work for which many of us are not paid as we ought to be, with many teaching for less than $3,000 for a fifteen-week course--with no benefits and before taxes, I might add.  That comes out to $200/week/course, with most courses meeting for three hours weekly, so, yes, $66/hour of contact time.  But no instructor I know or have known, from the lowliest adjunct to the most venerable professors emeriti, is only at work during the nine hours per course; I spent at least thrice that on one of my freshman classes last week once lesson planning and grading are taken into account, and I did much the same while I was an adjunct.)  When at last we have something to show for the labor, a finely written piece of criticism that advances human knowledge and understanding, we more or less give it away, satisfied in large part to have helped people to know more (despite ourselves knowing that few will read what we write) and to get the CV line in the hope of getting a job / grant funding / etc.

Despite that, though, I remain happy to be getting my work back into the scholarly public.  Maybe I will be lucky enough to hear myself cited at a conference again; it is quite a nice feeling.

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