Sunday, January 12, 2014

I have to dig out my 1980s diaries for a contact with Lee Patterson

What happened? Why do I think it had something to do with Stephen Crane and not Chaucer? Was it Patterson's wife who was on the program? I was not on the podium. At this NYC MLA I was four or five rows back in the audience in a small room, next to (maybe) Noel Polk. In order to challenge Lee Patterson about something I stood up to my full 6' 3" (as I then was). I remember because my companion (it must have been ironical Noel) was vastly amused at my unwinding my stature to face Patterson's tall taut form rather than raising an issue from my chair. What was the issue? I can find out, now that I see that Patterson in his Introduction to TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCES: FORM AND HISTORY IN THE "CANTERBURY TALES" has shown himself to be the critic who, so far, has most clearly demonstrated that he understood the significance of the much-trashed FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS (30 years old this year).

Age is an issue, given Patterson's death in 2012 and the appalling last paragraph of 1994 PhD Elizabeth Scala's review I just quoted.

We have Elizabeth Scalas enough writing on Herman Melville.

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