Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"like Elizabethan miniatures"

Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619)
Possibly Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex (1566-1601)
Miniature Painting
Museum No. P.163-1910

I don't get much scholarly attention, perhaps deservedly, but occasionally somebody says something nice. Recently, a fellow Milton scholar privately informed me that my published articles (or, at least, some of them):
"are like Elizabethan miniatures: short, very finely crafted, exhibiting superb taste."
Of course, that was in the context of explaining that such a style is about 400 years out of date. But he added some words of comforting advice:
"And I would also think hard about the present academic environment, in which state systems are being cut at a rate that exceeds the speed with which our retirement funds have shrunk. While at the same time, you have the rise of "assessment" and other noxious, related discourses. It occurs to me that the present situation is enough to make one yearn for the days of the culture wars. At least then, what we taught seemed to matter."
Actually, now that I think about it . . . that's not especially comforting (other than as a misplaced shadenfreude on my part). But it does help by describing the context to my stalled career.

Did I say 'stalled'? I meant retrograde. I'm actually moving backward, like one of those 'erring' planets on a Ptolemaic epicycle. For that matter, I'm also a bit eccentric.

One should ever strive for accuracy of expression.

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At 3:11 AM, Blogger Malcolm Pollack said...

Ah, but Jeffery, those planets only appeared, to their lowly and befuddled Earthbound observers, to be moving backward. In actual fact they were simply following, as always, their lawful, natural path through the celestial realm.

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Eshuneutics said...

Worth a pause! There is a lot of criticism today which tends towards the global. It manifests in nebulous words and offers cosmic sweeps of thought. Unfortunately, I like the microcosmic and the miniature.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Right, Malcolm, appearances can be deceiving, and while I may appear to be in retrograde motion, I am in fact simply following my own "lawful, natural path through the celestial realm."

Unfortunately, I am probably moving through that celestial region that Milton labeled a "fool's paradise"...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Eshuneutics, I stand as a giant among the minatures!

Jeffery Hodges

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