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The Balcony Room, Adoph von Menzel

A member of our team, blog writers, wrote me a kind note in which he wondered where I gathered my information.

I sent him a reply, but feel I should also tell others.

As a former university teacher, I have had to research all kinds of topics and have always enveavoured to give my students information concerning the background to what we were learning.  The concept of honnête homme  didn’t simply pop up.  There had to be a history and I knew that in the case of seventeenth-century French literature, it helps to see what was happening in Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance (rebirth), etc.

In other words, I am simply sharing information that may otherwise require lengthy research.  It has been difficult for me to leave the classroom, so I have made a classroom for myself.

Britannica has asked me to provide information, but I have done so only once.  I am now preparing a book on Molière using my PhD thesis (the pharmakos [the scapegoat] in Molière’s comedies).  I would have done so earlier, but obstacles were put in my way.  Life can be cruel and colleagues, selfish.  During my last sabbatical leave, I had to prepare two new courses, one of which was on Beast Literature.

Beast Literature is a fascinating subject, but I was devoting that sabbatical to publishing my book.  Publishing my book will now be difficult because I lack the financial resources to buy new books on the subject.  Moreover, I no longer live near a campus.  I will have to use my ingenuity.

There is another obstacle.  It stems from a health problem:  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  On bad days, it affects my ability to concentrate and I may foreget how to spell a word I know well.  However, I always reread my blogs to make sure all I have written is accurate.  I have kept the texts of my lectures, which helps.  Whenever I could, I would give my students a copy of these texts.

As for my book on Molière, I will make sure the manuscript is read by a person who can stop typos and repetitions.

In other words, I am simply sharing and I hope the information I share can be helpful to someone else.  I want to live in a world where people have a sense of community, and that is done one blog at a time.

My blogs are not always easy to prepare because I want them to be concise.  People tend not to read long texts.  They have other things to do.

I enjoy sharing.

PS Adolph von Menzel

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October 11, 2011