[Nancy, June 30, 1949. Click for a larger view.]
I, too, am walking on clouds today, giddy and more than slightly in a trance. After thirty years of teaching, I’m retiring. All semester long, I’ve been feeling like Bunny Colvin: “Five months to my thirty.” And then four, three, two, one — and none. Three final examinations next week, and I’m done.
The final scene of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931), which ended a look at films that owe something to Homer’s Odyssey. Tramp returning, intuitive understanding: it’s the Odyssey.
The streamside scene from the Father Knows Best episode “Betty’s Graduation,” in a class that began with Gilgamesh. There is no permanence.
In an American lit class, the end of chapter 6 of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Pnin. I am leaving academic life in very different circumstances from those of poor Timofey Pnin. What moves me most in these pages (which I read aloud): after a cracking sound, Pnin’s aquamarine glass bowl, a gift from his not-son Victor, lies not broken at the bottom of his kitchen sink. It’s a goblet that broke. The bowl still has its integrity, as Pnin has his.
I’ll have more to say about teaching and not teaching. But not now, not yet.
Friday, May 1, 2015
By Michael Leddy at 12:11 PM