I was worried that the Inklings/Shakespeare/Bible conference at the Presbyterian Heritage Center might be too geared to academics and specialists, leaving me to be always sneaking onto DuckDuckGo to see what their references were, but it was more of the opposite problem at first. It was more like a Road Scholar gathering, of retirees who were fans of Lewis or Tolkien or things Renaissance. Average age about 70, knowledge base uneven. The first day - what I saw of it when not arguing with a call center in India about swapping out my rental car (it took 8 hours and was almost certainly no more than the battery in the key fob, which I should have just gotten with a ride down to CVS) was a lot of inside jokes about being Presbyterian and grand historical narratives that were already being stripped down when I was an undergrad. I was unhappy. No new facts or ideas, and while my conversations were pleasant, they were not inspiring. The 1632 First Folio and other old books drew a crowd, but I am no longer much interested.
Side Note: My worry about The Inner Ring played out in interesting fashion, which I will write up soon.
The second day went better. There was Hannibal Hamlin of Ohio State talking about Shakespeare and the Bible, with especial reference to King Lear and Hamlet; Sorina Higgins focusing on the Grail Quest*, Charles Williams, and the influential occultists in English Lit starting around 1880 - she is less spooky in real life than she looks online; Sarah Waters of University of Buckingham, who has a book nearly finished on Shakespeare in Narnia and several papers on that out already; and Joe Ricke from Taylor University, who did not present but is known for both presentations and conference-gathering and was present, cheerfully conversing. All of these put out information that set me thinking in new directions, which I will have a go at over the next two weeks.
*This will show up in the next post on Fair Questions