Monday, April 16, 2007

Borges, The Place in Letters

So, I'm back safe and sound from the University of Iowa and all its cold, snow, windchill, and cool architecture. The bifurcated campus seems to be chopped up into even more pieces by churches, streets, parks, and whole sections that town that seem to be interstitial placements into the folds of a very odd campus. I like the river going through the campus, but the train tracks are probably an eyesore they could do without.

I was a little starstruck. I got to meet Slyvia Molloy, one of the foremost Borges scholars around. The image of her I had in my mind was nothing like I had constructed. She looks like my maternal grandmother. I was amazed at her ability to riposte those attendees that acted like they wanted to ask her a question but really had nothing important to say. I also got to meet Evelyn Fishburn, and was shocked to learn that she wasn't Argentine, but Brittish. I gave her my most sincere thanks for her work, etc. I also met Sergio Waisman, whose book on Borges and Translation I've found very useful during the writing of my dissertation. It was nice to meet him.

I got to see my old friends David Laraway, from BYU, and Miguel Rivera (formerly at Tulane, now at U of Virginia). I also met two other Mormon guys in our field. One was from the U of Nebraska-Kearney, and the other was the remarkable Andrew Brown from the Washington University in St. Louis. I had never heard of him (he didn't attend BYU) and it was great to get to know him, get some excellent feedback on my paper, and have him moderate the panel on which I presented. I look forward to meeting him again.

One of the keynote speakers, Dan Balderston, author of the impeccably researched Out of Context, singled out and mentioned my research on Zoroastrianism during his address. It was an honor to be mentioned in front of many of the major Borges scholars in the world. He has given me a hand up in the profession, and I am truly grateful for the reference.

It was good to be there. It was good to come home. My presentation went well. I got some good feedback and some good suggestions on how to better it. I don't know if I would go every year if they held the conference, but I would consider a 2, 3, or 4 year rotation.

Iowa in April=cold

1 comment:

karie said...

I was so pleased to read about how well the conference went. It is incredibly satsifying when your work is recognized not just by your peers, but by those you have yourself admired and respected. It is also good that you are out of the cold in Iowa - you are such a baby about the cold. I do have to agree that your luggage getting lost and having to wear your standard shorts and sandals was probably pretty bad.