“Wanted Women” in Jane Austen and Washington Irving

Pixabay engagement ring

–Photo from public access in http://www.pixabay.com


July 31, 2019

Jane Austen’s Emma and Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” use gender roles to show the devastating truth of the idea of a perfect woman in the eyes of society and how it has influenced the way women see themselves.

At Baylor the words coined “ring by spring” is something students value a lot. Over the years, women have been known as the underdogs. Women have been influenced in ways that make them feel their only duty in life is to get married and become a wife.

Emma, a rather intelligent woman, has no use for her intelligence, so she spends her time helping others find someone to marry. The amount of importance on this encourages Emma’s actions, which leads to a lot of Emma’s mistakes throughout the novel. This “role” we have created for women also comes with its standards or rules for women to live up to.

In Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” Rip finds his wife, Dame, outrageously annoying as she does not fit her role as a wife. Dame is said to constantly nag at Rip in order to get him to do his duties as a man around the house. This analogy depicts how we think women should act as a wife: to not say a thing, let men do as they please, and complete all of our house chores.

These two depictions show what everyone has expected women to do for years. The stereotypical role of a woman still influences women today because it becomes associated with what a man loves most about a woman: one who stays quiet and finishes her chores. Because marriage is so highly valued we feel a need to look up to these unwritten rules as women, so we can become a wife. By doing so, we completely neglect who we are and change ourselves.

As a woman, it is sad for me to see how women are portrayed in both these works. It also explains why so many women change the way they are for men and aspire to be the perfect wife today. When Rip finds out that Dame is dead he is not bothered by it but, in fact, relieved by the news.

Over the years, gender stereotypes are either like Emma, completely investing themselves in the idea of marriage, or doing everything to become the perfect idea of a woman. No one wants to be a Dame. Dame is not liked by men. At least, that is how the book portrays her.

In my opinion, Dame is the hero in all of this gender role nonsense. She does not follow the rules and does what is best for her family by nagging Rip to keep up with his work around the house. This is why it is so important for people today to start writing and talking about women the same as we do men. In conclusion, because marriage is so heavily valued, so is trying to mold ourselves into being the “wanted women.”

Lizzie Darwin is a special guest blogger this week. In Spring 2019, Lizzie wrote this blog specifically for the Washington Irving Society page. She submitted the blog as an optional assignment for Dr. Tracy Hoffman’s 2304 American Literature class at Baylor University. This was not a formal paper assignment, but a casual blog response to the reading. Please feel free to leave comments about Lizzie’s response here on the website.


Published in: on July 31, 2019 at 2:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Edith Wharton’s “Ethan Frome” Pairs Well with Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

adult blur bouquet boy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


July 24, 2019

Washington Irving is one of the greatest American authors. During this semester, we read Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I personally felt a deeper connection to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow because I used to live in New York state prior to my family moving to Texas.

The way that Irving describes the beautiful scenery of the North East was a trip down memory lane for me. I also enjoyed the plot of the story, as it came across as a funny story rather than a horror story, as I thought it would be. Because the story plays out that Brom was playing a joke on Ichabod, the story read out like a long practical joke and the plot of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was light and funny.

A light story (one that a reader could still think about) would pair well with the Washington Irving stories. Because we read the Washington Irving stories under the theme of romance in class, I would recommend a book written by Edith Wharton. I adore books written by Edith Wharton because the descriptions that she writes portrays beautiful scenery and pictures and the reader feels as if he or she was really there with the characters. I read a book titled Ethan Frome and Other Short Fiction and I couldn’t help but make a connection between the short stories of Edith Wharton to the Sketch book that Washington Irving made.

The story of Ethan Frome is about a man who searches for love and finds it with the wrong girl. Like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, there is a tragic love along the story. The plot is interesting because there are unexpected turns, for example the character that Ethan Frome falls in love with is Mattie Silver, the cousin to his wife. Thus, there is a love triangle between Ethan Frome, Mrs. Frome, and Mattie Silvers. This is similar to the plot of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow because the reader is aware of a love triangle between the main character, Ichabod Crane, Brom Van Brunt, and Katherine Van Tassel.

The two stories are also similar because they both have grim undertones. As a reader, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sad by the fact that Ichabod did not end up marrying Katherine Van Tassel. There was no happy ending for any of the characters because the reader does not find out about the future of Katherine Van Tassel or Brom Van Brunt. Similarly in Ethan Frome, the main couple dies in a tragic accident after finding out that they could never be together.

The two stories compliment each other because they give the reader a similar feeling. The stories also share a similar plot line and are written by notable American authors.

Christine Perera is a special guest blogger this week. In Spring 2019, Christine wrote this blog specifically for the Washington Irving Society page. She submitted the blog as an optional assignment for Dr. Tracy Hoffman’s 2304 American Literature class at Baylor University. This was not a formal paper assignment, but a casual blog response to the reading. Please feel free to leave comments about Christina’s response here on the website.

Published in: on July 24, 2019 at 3:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Irvine: Mary Shelley’s “Pet Name” for Washington Irving, Intriguing Twist to History of Irving, Texas

Irving News Record

The Irving News Record, October 29, 1959, discusses the founding of Irving. — City of Irving, Texas, archives


Published in: on July 17, 2019 at 2:23 pm  Comments (4)  

Washington Irving Wednesdays: Summer Additions

July 10, 2019


Well, it’s been awhile. And I have much to say, but I’ll try to keep it short. My purpose is simple: jump back into Washington Irving Wednesdays!

Today, I updated the Washington Irving Society page, so you can check out our recent panels from the American Literature Association in Boston over Memorial Week. We had three exceptional panels.

I can’t fully put into words how incredibly proud I am of the outstanding work graduate students, emerging Washington Irving scholars, and seasoned scholars are doing. We never have a lack of things to say and consider about the Father of American Literature.

At our business meeting in Boston, it was decided that Sean Keck would remain as vice-president and I would remain as president. John Anderson will be assisting with Facebook, and Jeffrey Scraba will be monitoring Spanish posts in Twitter.

However, we did not have a volunteer for a Washington Irving Society Treasurer. If you’re interested, please let me know. Basically, Sean Keck and I don’t feel comfortable receiving money on our website, spending such funds, and moving forward as a 501C3, without having a treasurer in place. We don’t mind hiring an accountant to take care of taxes, so you won’t have to worry about that. Again, let me know if you’d be willing to serve in this capacity.

Speaking of treasure. So, later this afternoon, I’ll be cruising over to the city archives in Irving, Texas, to continue working on my Washington Irving and Texas book project. I’ll definitely be reporting back on some of the hidden treasures I’m bound to uncover.

I’ve also been in Paris, one reason why I haven’t been blogging on Wednesdays. Irving’s visit there is once again on my mind. I’ll try to write about my trip’s connections with Irving in some upcoming Wednesday blogs.

Next week, I’m being interviewed for another podcast about The Sketch Book, so I’ll be doing some prep work for that interview this week. The big question I must address: “What’s so great about The Sketch Book?” Let’s just say that my blog next Wednesday will probably involve teasing out this question. It’s an overwhelming question considering all the possibilities, and I’ll definitely break it down to something manageable. My answer will probably begin with “Well, it’s great to me in these ways…”

Until next Washington Irving Wednesday…


Published in: on July 10, 2019 at 12:28 pm  Comments (1)  

It All Began with a $1 Purchase


By Steve Sears

Back in the early 1990s, my township library would schedule a yearly book sale, the goal being to ferret and discard any books that, per their records, hadn’t been checked out in a good period, and to accept books that had “gathered dust” from residences, all to gain money for the library support.

Purchases were a steal: .50 for paperbacks, $1.00 for hardcovers.

On a very warm, May morning, I bought one book, it being the only one that won my interest: a 1908 version of The Sketch Book by Washington Irving.

I had heard of Irving but was unaware that he had written “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. I would educate myself that day and the following day by reading, in my opinion, some of the most luscious word usage I had ever encountered. Yes, the previously mentioned classics were great reads, but so were – and maybe more so for me – “The Mutability of Literature”, “The Wife”, “The Widow and Her Son”.

This led to visits to both his beloved home, Sunnyside, in Tarrytown, New York, and his grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and frequent sojourns to Christ Episcopal Church, which is halfway between Sunnyside and the cemetery, and is often a (I feel) forgotten or unknown tourist attraction. Inside are his pew he sat in for Sunday services, a monument dedicated following his death, and a tiny library where photos, first editions, and personal notes are on display. Further proof of my devotion was my purchase of and stocking my home library with books about and by Irving, many from the 19th century, including The Crayon Miscellany, Pierre Irving’s three-volume Life & Letters of Washington Irving, and a first edition of Wolfert’s Roost (1855). Please know that I read the latter in one evening, it falling apart in my hands, and now held together by an elastic band. This may appear to be disrespect shown the book and history, but I think it better said that reading it in one night is apt respect to my writing hero more so.

2019 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of The Sketch Book, and I’ll close by saying that I think it’s wonderful that Irving’s great Headless Horseman legend is kept alive each fall, but I think he’s deserved of more adulation than just a month or two out of the year. Yes, visitors visit Sunnyside and Irving’s grave year-round, but he I note is often forgotten when mention is made of our country’s and the world’s better 19th century, historic writers.

Dickens, Poe, and good company are all mentioned and deservedly so, but shouldn’t Washington Irving’s sun rise just as high – and maybe higher?


– – –

The Washington Irving Society would like to thank Steve Sears for writing this week’s blog. Feel free to comment here to communicate with Steve. You can also contact him at:


Published in: on May 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Washington Irving in Paris, Part II


Washington Irving and Islam, edited by Zubeda Jalalzai, is now available. Irving’s 1821 journal from Paris gives us more to consider about his early interest in writing about Islam.



April 24, 2019

I decided to look through Washington Irving journal entries written in April. I was hoping to find something on this exact day, April 24, two-hundred years ago. I’ve done this sort of activity with classes in which we look to see what was happening in the newspapers on this day: 10 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago, etc.

In the process of looking through Irving’s April journal entries, I came across journal pages from April of 1821. Irving writes of Paris and his first conversation with actor François Joseph Talma.

In the second volume of journals, 1807-1822, edited by Walter A. Reichart and Lillian Schlissel, we are given this note: “Irving’s meeting with the great actor, François Joseph Talma (1763-1826), occurred on April 25, 1821. Irving had first seen him on the stage on May 29, 1805, and saw him repeatedly in the theater and socially in 1823, as indicated by his journal entries. Irving utilized these notes almost verbatim in his ‘Conversations with Talma,’ first published in The Knickerbocker Gallery: A Testimonial to the Editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine from its Contributors…” (386).

Reichart and Schlissel correctly state that the journal entries are very close to the article (https://archive.org/details/knickerbocker00newyrich/page/n8).

Irving makes some insightful comments about Paris in 1821. For instance, he writes: “He [Talma] received me in a very cordial manner, and asked if this was my first visit to Paris. I told him I had been here once before, about fourteen years since” (archive.org).

The bulk of Irving’s Knickerbocker Gallery article deals with Hamlet and the French theater since Irving had seen Talma perform in a French version of the play in Paris.

But what I found fascinating was another connection Irving must have had with Talma: the Arabesque and the Prophet Muhammad (once spelled Mahomet).

In a preliminary dig into Talma’s biography, we find “his professional debut…on Nov. 21, 1787, as Seide in Voltaire’s Mahomet (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Francois-Joseph-Talma).

Evidently, in 2005, readings of Voltaire’s Mahomet, which is a very anti-Mahomet play, created a small riot in France (https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/blame-it-voltaire-muslims-ask-french-cancel-1741-play).

In 1821 upon meeting Talma, Irving had not published his own biography of the Prophet, nor had he traveled to Spain where he would have access to the Spanish archives.

I have often wondered why both Mary Shelley and Washington Irving wanted to publish a biography about Muhammad, and why their publisher rejected them both initially. François Joseph Talma’s performance in the 1787 Mahomet adds yet another layer to Irving’s fascination with the subject.

The influence of the theater in Irving’s writing cannot be overstated. In fact, we could use some scholarly work which delves into this subject. I have yet to find a list of all plays Irving attended. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. We need to change that.

Until next week, please feel free to add to the conversation wherever you like: Twitter, Facebook, on this page. Comments are very much welcomed. Also feel free to message me at Tracy_Hoffman@baylor.edu. I try my best on Wednesdays to blog on the WIS website, to respond to all correspondence, and to update the WIS page.

Published in: on April 24, 2019 at 11:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Washington Irving in Paris

the greek statues

The decapitated St. Denis at Notre Dame Cathedral. –Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com



April 17, 2019

With the recent fire at Notre Dame, as well as comments made on Saturday by “Washington Irving” (a.k.a. John Dennis Anderson) about staying in Paris, I’ve been thinking about Washington Irving’s connections to Paris.

“The Adventure of the German Student,” a sketch included in Tales of a Traveller  (1824), takes place in Paris at the time of the French Revolution.

Irving begins the story:“On a stormy night, in the tempestuous times of the French revolution, a young German was returning to his lodgings, at a late hour, across the old part of Paris. The lightning gleamed, and the loud claps of thunder rattled through the lofty, narrow streets—but I should first tell you something about this young German.”

As Irving scholars know, “The Adventure of the German Student” features a female decapitated goblin. Contemplating this sketch and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” alongside Irving’s commentary about the French Revolution, beheadings naturally come to mind when mentally mapping Irving’s paths to Paris.

In “The Adventure of the German Student,” Irving mentions specific places in Paris, such as the Pays Latin, the “monastic walls of the Sorbonne,” and “the great libraries of Paris, those catacombs of departed authors.” Though he doesn’t specifically name Notre Dame, we can imagine it looming in the background since it’s a short walk from the Latin Quarter.

Irving also kept a journal while in France in 1823.

On Sunday, August 3, 1823, he writes: “Arrive at 11 oclock at Paris get a room at the Hotel de Suede Rue Du Baillay — drive out in cabriolet to Mr Storrows — find the girls much grown & improved — dine there a Mr & Mrs (Arnold) Everett there with their little son & daughter — Walk in, not being able to get place in carriage — roads thronged with carriages — water works playd at St Cloud” (Reichart 205).

His Paris journal entries consist of items such as visits to the theater and opera, sleeping arrangements, and dining parties.

While in Paris on Saturday, August 9, 1823, Irving says he met with John Howard Payne, the playwright. And numerous visits with Payne are mentioned throughout his journal entries.

The two worked on some projects together, and Payne was also part of the love triangle with Mary Shelley. Payne proposed to her, but she declined, saying she preferred Irving.

For several days in Paris, Irving was troubled by a nightmare. He writes on Monday, August 11, 1823: “Woke at 4 oclock this morning—with a strange horror on my mind—a dread of future evil—of failure in future literary attempts—a dismal forboding that I could not drive off by any effort of reason” (Reichart 209). The next day, he writes: “Awake between 3 & 4 with same horror of mind” (210).

One might think with these troubling nightmares, Irving would have some beverage to settle his nerves, or take something else, but I don’t see any such references.

On Saturday in Irving, Texas, someone asked “Washington Irving” about his favorite wines, which stumped the Father of American Literature. And to be honest, I don’t recall any specific comments by Irving about a favorite wine, and for the past few years, I’ve been studying wassail and drinking in his writing.

Now, I’m noticing in his Paris journals numerous references to coffee, not wine. No wonder I like this guy! I’m more of a coffee connoisseur than a wine aficionado myself.

On Thursday, August 14, 1823, he comments about his breakfast of coffee, bread, and butter: “Breakfast at caffe—had caffe au lait, pain & beurre” (Reichart 211). And on Saturday, August 16, he scribbles “go to coffee house & breakfast” (212). Again, on August 18, it’s “Coffee au lait & bread & Butter –18 sous” (213).

Speaking of waking up to coffee and Irving’s nightmares, I came across a vampire reference in Irving’s journal. I have the Black Vampyre on my list of must-reads, since its reception history connects to Irving, so that’s no doubt why I noticed this entry this round.

On Friday, August 15, Irving notes his theater doings: “go to Theater St Martin—see L’homme Gris—Le Cuisinier de Buffon (good – father) & Polichinelle Vampire –very extraordinary” (Reichart 212).

On Friday, September 19, Irving leaves Paris. From August 3 to September 19, 1823, he’s in Paris. In his journals, I don’t see any references to Notre Dame. But I’ll keep looking. You typically come across these kinds of references when you’re not actively looking for them, kind of like the vampire and coffee references I spotted while scanning for Notre Dame.

Until next week, please feel free to add to the conversation wherever you like: Twitter, Facebook, on this page. Comments are very much welcomed. Also feel free to message me at Tracy_Hoffman@baylor.edu. I try my best on Wednesdays to blog on the WIS website, to respond to all correspondence, and to update the WIS page.

Published in: on April 17, 2019 at 5:38 pm  Comments (1)  

Celebrating Irving in Texas



April 10, 2019

For this Washington Irving Wednesday, I want to mention some events sponsored by the City of Irving, Texas, which is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The city’s theme for April is: “Irving: The City and the Man.”

First off, if you’re anywhere near Irving, Texas, on Saturday, April 13, 2019, you must come out to one of John Dennis Anderson’s performances. At 10 a.m., Anderson will be performing at the Irving Arts Center on North MacArthur, and the Chautauqua performance will be at 2 p.m. in the South Library on Schulze.


On Washington Irving’s birthday, April 3, I showed my American Lit classes the 20-minute YouTube clip from a few years back of the Google Hangout discussion between Anderson and Irving ISD students. You can check this out to get an idea of what to expect. My students have listened to me rattle off facts and stories about Washington Irving, so I’m sure they appreciated listening to an equally reliable, yet more creative source.


But here’s something you may not pick up immediately from Anderson’s performance—he’s steeped in scholarship! He’s not just acting like Irving; he’s speaking the scholarship. He has Irving’s words memorized, and when asked questions, John often responds with what scholarship has to say about the matter.

John Dennis Anderson graduated with an undergrad and master’s from Baylor University and a Ph.D. in “Speech Communication/Performance of Literature” from the University of Texas. He retired from a professorship at Emerson College in 2016. Sic ’em Bears!


And if you’ve in or around Irving, Texas, on Saturday, April 27, you’ll also want to check out the Irving Trivia contest, which begins at 9:30 a.m. at 801 West Irving Blvd. The trivia teams take the contest seriously, often showing up in team uniforms, but they have a lot of fun with it, too. In years past, they split the contest into multiple days, but for 2019, it’s a one-day event.

I’ll be at the Anderson performances and at the trivia contest. I hope to see you there!

By the way, I love the coffee, the people, and sweet treats at Argentina Bakery in Irving. The City of Irving has many great restaurants to try, but this is my must-stop coffee shop when flying through town. Maybe I’ll bump into you there as well.


Argentina Bakery reminds me of Washington Irving because I think about his interest in South America, his translation work on Chile, and how I need to get busy working on that. I’m also reminded of Pope Francis and Argentina. I may have been the only customer to have asked the fine folks at Argentina Bakery what they thought about the new pope when he was selected.

Until next week, please feel free to add to the conversation wherever you like: Twitter, Facebook, on this page. Comments are very much welcomed. Also feel free to message me at Tracy_Hoffman@baylor.edu. I try my best on Wednesdays to blog on the WIS website, to respond to all correspondence, and to update the WIS page.

Published in: on April 11, 2019 at 12:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Sketch Book Vampires


backlit dark dawn environment

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


March 27, 2019

While contemplating a blog topic for today, the following post came across my email account: “JTO: Fall 19: The Black Vampyre; A Legend of St. Domingo.”

The message came through the L-C19-Americanists ListServ, signed by Duncan Faherty and Ed White. First off, if you’re not familiar with JTO, it means “Just Teach One.” The project encourages professors to teach an understudied, neglected text.

The request to teach The Black Vampyre asks instructors to teach the text this fall and then submit a blog post about the classroom experience.

What struck me in this call for a blog: Washington Irving and Lord Byron are mentioned. The Black Vampyre was published in 1819, the same year Irving began publishing The Sketch Book.

I have not read the book, and I’m not clear on the loop between Uriah Derick D’Arcy, who signed The Black Vampyre, Washington Irving, and Lord Byron. But it sounds like an intriguing connection.

I’ve been arguing for years that Irving’s comments about Native-Americans could easily be translated into similar sentiments for African-Americans, and I’m even more convinced of that as I have been studying “The Devil and Tom Walker.” A look at this neglected novel, which deals with race, might add much to the conversation I’ve pursued with Irving.

Katie Bray’s 2015 American Literature article deals with the issue, so I’ll be investigating Bray’s study and checking out the text in the weeks ahead, to see if I can make it work for the fall (American Literature, Volume 87, Number 1, March 2015 DOI 10.1215/00029831-2865163 © 2015 by Duke UP).

Until next week, please feel free to add to the conversation wherever you like: Twitter, Facebook, on this page. Comments are very much welcomed. Also feel free to message me at Tracy_Hoffman@baylor.edu. I try to respond to all correspondence on Wednesdays, and I also update the WIS page on Wednesdays.

Published in: on March 27, 2019 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Invoking the “Spirit of Rip Van Winkle,” Awakening to Research Opportunities

adult book boring face

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


March 20, 2019

Last week, my Spring Break, I thought about posting a Wednesday blog, but then the “spirit of Rip Van Winkle” came over me. I got a little lazy, wanting to relax more than write, so I rationalized how even Washington Irving would want a respite if he had been offered a Spring Break back in the 1800s.

At the very least, Washington Irving would have traveled over Spring Break, carrying a sketch pad to scribble ideas for future books, but I’m pretty sure he would have resisted blogging, too.

So I’m back to posting on Washington Irving Wednesdays, after taking off last week.

This morning, the character Rip Van Winkle and his sketch are still on my mind. I’m thinking about ways we could research children’s versions of the story, perhaps gathering useful data on “Rip Van Winkle.”

Over the years, I’ve thought about conducting a project where undergraduate students and I would read “Rip Van Winkle” to children in schools and libraries, to get feedback on the tale. But I’ve never jumped into this arena. Baylor even runs a childcare center, perhaps a good place to conduct such a study. But again, I’ve been lazy about getting into this business.

Several years ago, I maneuvered my way onto a Children’s Literature panel at a national conference to talk about “Rip Van Winkle.” Audience members tore apart my research! Basically, I was applying the wrong scholars. These experts were correct, since I’m an Early Americanist/Irving scholar, but I felt like I was being scolded in the principal’s office.

We scholars often do this sort of thing: dabble in areas outside our comfort zones. I’ve been involved in panels on Muslim Studies because of Irving’s writings on Islam. I’m not an Islamicist, but these experts always make me feel very welcomed. And I could go on and on, as most scholars could, about giving talks on areas outside our fields of study. They typically go very well.

I’m laughing out loud to myself thinking about this Children’s Literature episode, but I need to get over this odd, rare exception to friendly circles of scholars, and reconsider Children’s Literature as an avenue of study.

Yesterday, a former student awakened my thoughts on Rip Van Winkle. This student, who took one of my classes in the fall, sent me a questionnaire about undergraduate research grants. She needs answers for a project she’s working on for a professional writing class. Evidently, she wants professors to request more grant money for undergraduate research.

Typically, an undergrad will do research under my guidance if the student is working on an Honors College thesis, a smaller version of a master’s thesis. These students approach me because they’ve taken me for a class and our research interests intersect. But that’s about it.

I have memories of undergrad professors using we students to help them work on their books, and I don’t want to manipulate my students in that way. However, I should be more open to setting up win-win situations, where their research benefits them and compliments what I’m studying and/or teaching.

December 2017, I could have used some undergraduate research funds when a senior English major and I traveled to Yosemite National Park to attend the Bracebridge Dinner. She’s now headed to grad school pursuing Medieval Literature. Our interests collided because she wanted to witness a madrigal dinner, and I wanted to see the Irving-inspired extravaganza. In one of my junior-level classes, she had also worked on an extensive research project regarding Irving’s Christmas stories, inspired by medieval tradition.

Sadly, the deadlines for grant money didn’t align with our time frame. If I had applied for grant money when we realized we needed money, the student would have graduated by the time we received the grant. And that’s my general spin on grant money with undergrads. I’m not working with the same students every semester, so plotting research projects with them would require extraordinary measures. And like I said, I’m lazy too often to muster up such energy.

I’m wondering, though, if someone were teaching in a smaller high school or university setting where they see the same students often, if research projects could be managed efficiently, making grant money an easier grab. I’m thinking about a small school district near me where all students are housed in one building. Surely, a small school district like that would be excited about studying some “Rip Van Winkle” and getting funding to do so.

But I also wonder if small districts have greater needs than learning about Washington Irving; grant money might be needed for higher priority requests. If so, then bringing in a team from the university would be a better approach, if we can get funding from our end.

I haven’t forgotten about “The Devil and Tom Walker” and ways we might teach this story. Thoughts about “Rip Van Winkle” and research have me thinking about the Walkers, too. What data might be useful when studying the miserly couple?

Washington Irving studies, like most areas of literary research, needs digital archiving. Master’s students tend to take on these very important tasks. Nevertheless, I should be thinking about smaller digital projects for undergrads.

Thanks to my former student for reminding me of undergraduate research efforts. We will do better!

Until next week, please feel free to add to the conversation wherever you like: Twitter, Facebook, on this page. Comments are very much welcomed. Also feel free to message me at Tracy_Hoffman@baylor.edu. I try to respond to all correspondence on Wednesdays (unless it’s Spring Break!), and I also update the WIS page on Wednesd

Published in: on March 20, 2019 at 5:44 pm  Comments (1)  
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