Monday, April 10, 2006
A bittersweet meditation on moving into a deceased predecessor's office at Inside Higher Ed.
Because I am a medievalist and because death is such a vital (yes I mean to pun here; I think it is appropriate) part of medieval culture, there are times when -- as I sit in my office pondering some passage or other about worldly vanities and the transitoriness of life -- I contemplate my own end. What if I were to die suddenly and some faculty member who hadn't known me was charged with emptying out my desk, bookcases and files? Sadly, I believe that person would conclude (1) that I was inordinately fond of the world's ephemera (sitting on my windowsill right now are a plastic Shriner, a troll with orange hair, and a ceramic model of Fenway Park, among many other tchokes); and (2) that I have an unhealthy Post-It note fixation (I possess more than I could ever use, in various shapes and astounding colors). This new faculty member would then toss my back issues of Speculum into the trash, empty out my fire hazard collection of polyglot xeroxes ... and I would be gone.