Sunday, June 11, 2006

Comings and Goings

It’s that time of year; some of the Fulbrighters are getting ready to go home, or at least to go somewhere else. On the other hand, what with many schools already being out for the summer, other people are heading back to Prague. It looks like we are going to get quite a collection.
Deborah, who was here on Fulbright during the fall, couldn’t stay away from Prague and is back to take a language class. She says that at home she led a dual life, in which during the work day she kept her nonprofit consulting business going, and in stolen moments she was reading my blog and pretending to be in Prague (!).
Barbara, who used to ride the tram to Czech class with me in 2004, also couldn’t stay away, and will be spending the summer working on a data-gathering project for the EU with a Czech colleague. In the meantime, she has developed a fondness for panelaky and Karel Teige. I can understand Teige, but panelaky? (One of these days I will actually do a photo essay on panelak renovation.)
Alice, who had a Fulbright two years ago, is back for a few weeks to scout out dissertation sources. We met in the literary archive and she is responsible for my having gotten the Fulbright-Hays grant, as had she not told me about it, I would probably never have heard it existed. At least, not until getting here on the Fulbright that I turned down to take the Fulbright-Hays. Today we got together for brunch with some of her other friends, one of whom proved to be my former roommate Deanna. Brunch was excellent and there was lengthy discussion of research and archives. For reasons of her own, Alice persuaded me to expound on such matters as Nezval’s political history and Devětsil’s relationship to Paris and Moscow (not to mention Ilya Ehrenburg’s slurs about the surrealists).
Other characters can be expected in the near future, including my friend Joe, the inimitable leader of the University of Pittsburgh Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee. Joe has plans to cook a feast at my place for as many of our associates as we can fit into the space. (I have warned him that this is not likely to be all that many people, but he is used to cooking for multitudes in a small space.) If I know Joe, he will probably want me to present a Toyen slide show.
Unfortunately, scheduling problems have prevented John from coming to Prague in early July according to our earlier plan, but as he is moving back to San Francisco, we’ll see each other shortly anyway.
In the meantime, I have tried concatenating the various dissertation-chapter files, and the pages are legion. I do not take the view that the final product must therefore be gigantic, however. Many notes can presumably be cut to make room for additional vital text. It will all fall into place somehow, eventually. One hopes this will be before anyone demands a chapter from me.

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