Monday, September 12, 2022


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


Douglas2 said...

Golly I know one of those names, then a young-adult in a church I was attending -- also a volunteer/part-time employee at a non-profit where I worked. A search reveals it to be indeed the same person.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to post about it though, perhaps I hope that mentioning my one-time proximity some reflected erudition will be accounted to me?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It is unlikely to be Waters (English) or Hamlin (Canadian) and Ricke is not quite as old as me, so by elimination I would guess you mean Sorina Higgins, who seems to have a few New England connections.

Douglas2 said...

Yes, -- I thought I responded earlier on this, you are right.
Hamlin completed his 2nd Bachelors and Masters in Canada at about the same time I was starting my Masters in Canada. So -- while I lived in Ontario for years -- I suspect he is a few years older than I am and he wouldn't have been a "young person" in my perspective.

In the last significant conversation I recall having with Dr. Higgens (who was then not yet a PhD) we spoke about the process of enrolling in a UK university as a foreign postgraduate student -- something she was considering at the time. This was during one of my summer forays to New England during the decade+ that I was domiciled in the UK.

I've a harder time pinning dates to Dr. Waters based upon available online biographical info, but it seems that she was probably still in primary school when I remigrated to the USA.