Monday, December 3, 2012

Me, at Marquette

So, two months ago today I was at Marquette, talking to Dr. Machan's Tolkien class* there in the morning ("how to become a Tolkien Scholar") and giving a talk at the Library in the afternoon about how THE HOBBIT manuscript wound up in Milwaukee, of all places, including an anecdotal account of what little is known about JRRT's planned trip there.** We had a good turn-out for the latter talk, which they recorded on video. And now they've gone through and put together a ten-minute representative excerpt from the Q-and-A session at the end. Here's the link:

It was great to see a lot of old friends there: members of the book group I helped found back in my Marquette days, which is still going strong (The Burrahobbits); a fellow former TA from my time there; a fellow student from that era who also later became a fellow ex-TSR survivor; a professor who arrived towards the end of my time in the department,*** etc.  I usually pace when I talk, and Janice says it wd have made a good drinking game to see me go back and forth; apparently I wd have made a good metranome.

So far as I cd tell, the talk went really well. I was delighted that one story I related -- based only on my memories of what a since deceased department stalwart**** told me almost thirty years ago, of events that'd taken place some twenty years before that -- got first-hand confirmation from a member of the audience,***** who turned out to have been present at those events in the early/mid 1950s: she was even able to add details I hadn't heard before.

So, a most satisfactory and enjoyable day. When I first arrived at Marquette back in August 1981, I was told by my graduate student advisor in the department that he "didn't want to catch me working on Tolkien while I was a member of [this] department".   I cd never have guessed that one day I'd be invited back to Marquette to meet with a class and give a talk sponsored by the Library and Archives.

--John R.
current reading: WAITING FOR GODOT by Beckett (re-reading)
current audiobook: TOLKIEN IN LOVE, and the Mind's Eye HOBBIT

*a bright bunch, whom I deeply envy; I'd have loved to have taken a Tolkien class in my time at Marquette, or indeed to have taken Dr. Machan's course on Old Norse and the Eddas (he having arrived after I'd already completed my coursework and was A.B.D.).
**in-between, I spent a few hours in the Archives, working on various odds and ends (mainly the Boorman script).
***really got a sense of time's passage with the discovery that there are now only six members of the faculty who were there when I was, all of whom came while I was there, plus five more who are emeritus (and who either predate me or, in one case, arrived the same time I did.
****Dr. Joseph Schwartz
*****Mrs. McCabe, widow of the late, wonderful John McCabe, who was department head during my first few years there.

1 comment:

Ed Pierce said...

Wow, very interesting talk! It was a real pleasure to watch that--thanks!