This will be my final blog entry; I return to the United States at the end of the week! The delivery of my paper on Monday was a terrific success. The audience was very generous in their reception of my work. One of the most exciting parts of the lecture was the Q&A session. I was offered such wonderful feedback–I can’t wait to read some of the new criticism that has been recommended to me.
I want to take this time to thank my wonderful English professors, Professor Raji Mohan and Professor Stephen Finley. I am so deeply grateful to these brilliant people for introducing me to the Romantics in the first place, and for their guidance and support this past year. Haverford College is a truly remarkable place; I feel so lucky to have such incredible scholars working on my behalf.
Part of me mourns the end of such a blissful six weeks. As usual, in such moments of transition I like to turn to the poets for counsel and solace (which is why this final musing will be replete with quotations!). The poet Tony Hoagland writes: “What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle. What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.” In other words, this trip to England may be temporally over, but the work that I have started here has only begun. Over the past month and a half I have put out my hand and felt the curve of the future I want. What I desire more than anything else is a life filled with study, scholarship and meaningful conversation. I can pursue that life at Haverford just as I have in London and at Grasmere. “There is a moment in each day that Satan cannot find,” William Blake writes, “nor can his Watch Fiends find it, but the Industrious find this moment and it multiply, and when it once is found it renovates every moment of the day if rightly placed.” I have had many of these sublime, “Satan-free” moments here in England, and these “spots of time” (Wordsworth) have, indeed, illuminated whole portions of my trip with a kind of halo of happiness. I know, however, that if I live my life with the curiosity and passion that has marked my traveler’s mind this summer, I can find this same kind of “accessible bliss” (Stevens always gets the last word!) at home in Northampton and at Haverford.
Peace out, England!
I can’t wait to see you all.