English MATTERS — SPRING 2011

The Battersea Shield
© Trustees of the British Museum
Dr. Stevick explains the principles and methods underlying the shield's construction.

Robert Stevick

Onset of my emeritus-hood in 1998 (age 70) was cushioned by five years of “retirement with partial reemployment,” during which I was able to teach, twice, probably the best pair of courses since beginning my college teaching (Freshman English, of course) in 1949. It turned out not to be an administrative problem to schedule “Introduction to Language Study” and “History of English” so that students could enroll in both courses at the same time (and no one could sign up for one and not the other). Students learned five times as much as they would have done if the courses had been sequential. Attrition rate was under two percent both times. So it was a good wind-down from teaching at Tulsa University (as TA), University of Wisconsin (as TA), Fresno State, University College of the West Indies, and from 1962 University of Washington.

Before onset of emeritus-hood there was already a bridge between linguistics and literature from which I benefited in a number of ways, and there evolved in those years a spanning of disciplines in studies of medieval poetry, languages, architecture, manuscript illumination, fine metalwork, stone sculpture in England and its near neighbors, from which I benefited as well. To benefit meant also to participate. To my good fortune, my participation has continued past retirement, bombinating between print and “web” publication. I have recent print papers on aesthetics of large forms in Anglo-Saxon poetry (2010), design of two Pictish cross-slabs (2011), noun-phrase structure in Early English (2010), a web paper at http://journals.cambridge.org/repo_A61VnjPH, and teaching materials at http://faculty.washington.edu/stevickr/graphotactics/sounds.html.

Emeritus-hood is thought to be a terminal condition.

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