This week’s curator returns us to Norway so prepare to grow envious over funding and landscapes again. As Camilla explains below she did her undergraduate degree in Everything and, as a result, I spent most of the time I was reading her post scribbling a list of people I wanted to tell about her curation – there’s something here to keep everyone interested. I say ‘most of the time’ because the rest was spent trying to stifle my giggles at my desk; she has a wonderful way of putting things and I think we’re in for another fab week.
My name is Camilla Ulleland Hoel (in my daily Twitter existence I go by the rather unimaginative handle @camilla_hoel), and, as I suspect will become evident during the week ahead, I have trouble choosing between interesting things.
I have sometimes been a little envious of academics who can limit themselves to one field, but I am having too much fun with the range of the humanities to envy them very much. Starting university, I felt like a child in a sweets emporium, and it got worse when I realised everything became more interesting the closer you looked at it. My undergraduate studies were a strange hodgepodge of humanities subjects (what can I say? It was the happy pre-recession days when unicorns of happiness were bathed in rainbows around every corner, and my main concern was learning Everything; also, studying is free in Norway). I studied comparative religion, history, ancient cultures and comparative literature, and it was not until I got to the latter that I realised what had really interested me about the others was the way in which they told stories.
Then, to make matters worse, I fell head over heels in love with literary theory (I know!); I threw caution to the winds and went to Edinburgh to write a Master’s thesis on parody in Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Malcolm Pryce; and I liked it so much I stayed for my PhD.
My PhD was an analysis of the importance of the figure of the author in how readers have approached unfinished Victorian serial novels. This may sound dry, but that is not taking into account the plethora of oddness written after Charles Dickens died and left The Mystery of Edwin Drood only half finished. I analysed the speculations about how Dickens might have completed it, the actual completions attempted and the reactions to them. They range from spiritualist completions purporting to be written by Dickens (posthumously), via three-volume melodramas, to postmodern treatments of the problem. I am dedicating at least one day to Dickens, Victorians and all things Drood this week; however, as I warned you initially, I am not very good at sticking to just one topic.
I spent last semester working on an annotated bibliography on Sherlock Holmes, thoroughly immersed in Sherlockiana and Holmes studies, and I have every intention of discussing Holmes and detective novels in detail and at length with anyone remotely willing. Moreover, I finally got to indulge another interest of mine this semester, creating and teaching a course on Science Fiction (and I am spending the week writing a talk on androids, aliens and “the other” for a science fiction convention here in Trondheim), so Science Fiction, otherness and geek culture is most definitely on the agenda. And I am desperately trying to finish an article on another science fiction author, so I would like to hear your thoughts on writing (and will take any kind of advice on getting past the impostor syndrome).
In addition to being an academic, I am also a bibliophile, a geek, a knitter (& a spinner) and a feminist, all of which I am happy to talk about if you are.