Sumer is nearly icumen in

This post started out as a to do list for the autumn, so this should be of interest to about one or three people (some of whom possibly pay my salary). Read closely, your money is being well spent! Read between the lines!

This fine lady hangs from the roof of the Anne of Cleves House in Lewes.

In May I spent a couple of days at the School of English in the University of Sheffield. Good times! I gave a presentation of the language of the eighteenth-century Armenian freedom fighter Joseph Emin, who I’d like to research more extensively in terms of historical ESL, and worked with my swell co-author on our article on historical mock impoliteness (wrote some, too). I also had a chance to comment on the student presentations at his  historical pragmatics course. It was great.

I also met Heather Froehlich, who is a brilliant mind. I bow before her. We had dinner, and as I talked about the network methodology I’ve been working on, Heather outlined a new and improved categorization of my system on a Wagamama menu. (I had teriyaki salmon.) Heather, when I have more time, I will descend upon you with questions like the swarming locusts upon Egypt.

And now I’m making plans for the autumn.

I’m currently working on a number of things in order to start my holidays with a somewhat clear conscience and an empty desk (obviously a figurative expression), but it feels good to think ahead. I did draw up a work plan for this year, but I’m not sure it’s entirely valid in September. Besides, the work plan is based upon time estimates, in other words, how long you assume a task or a project to take you (like filling in your hours, lol). I have no idea how long I’m going to spend reading research literature in the autumn, which is, to some extent, one of the main things in my agenda. All my estimates were based on the aim to have a nice, solid 1600-hour work plan, but I’m pretty sure those reading estimates have nothing to do with reality.

First: summer. To be spent well, in a comfortable lull. Books, friends, swimming in cold water, enjoying cold drinks. The last two simultaneously, perhaps.

After the holidays, I will borrow a stack of books on biographical writing. These will be the same books I borrowed last year from the university library and kept on my bookshelf, unread, until I had library fines that could have bought me a pair of shoes. Books, you know who you are, I’m coming for you again. The idea is to explore a) what is a biography, b) how it is conceptualized, and b or c) what sort of methodological conundrums may come up. I’d love to start reading now, but I have a panel paper to complete and a book review to write. I will attend the Pride and Prejudices: Women’s Writing of the Long Eighteenth Century conference at the Chawton House Library in July, where I’m presenting a paper on the methodological and linguistic aspects of historical network analysis.

In the autumn I’ve dealt with most of the article writing and revising hulabaloo that has occupied me since autumn last year, and I will finally have time (or the opportunity to make time!) for the core of my research plan, my main squeeze, as my Sheffield colleague so eloquently puts it – the linguistic biography of Elizabeth Montagu, née Robinson, the woman with the iron glove over a velvet hand! A recent post on the University of Helsinki website introduced a research project on the linguistic biographies of African and South American immigrants in Finland, which I will keep an eye on.

Here, have a picture of George Washington’s fake teeth.

The picture was originally posted in the Twitter feed of @ChirurgeonsAppr, the medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris. She posts the best pictures of syphilis.

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