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Studies in Honor of Denah Lida von Berg, Mary G. (eBook)

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Studies in Honor of Denah Lida

This volume contains several outstanding scholarly contributions written by some of the leading critics in the field of Hispanic literature. Essential reference material.

Produktinformationen

    Format: PDF
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 424
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781882528431
    Verlag: Digitalia
    Größe: 23548kBytes
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Studies in Honor of Denah Lida

How I Was Traded to Brandéis by Denah Lida (p. 15)

Edward Engelberg

I am well aware that Denah Lida could care less about sports, but she knows what a fan I am. So I don`t think she`ll mind my use of the sports analogy of being "traded" to Brandéis through her arts and crafts (especially since she knows I am out of my depths as a Hispanist). Actually, of course, I wanted to leave the Midwest and head East, and my "no-trade" clause (tenure) made it possible for me to choose where I would go.

But every trade needs a good agent, and as it turned out Denah was mine. And if you ask what did she trade me for, what did she have to give, well it was her enduring friendship. A fair trade in any sport. Before we ever met face to face, Denah and I had a lengthy phone relationship.

And long distance, to boot. Here I was, a newly tenured Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and she was chair of what was then known as the Department of European Languages and Comparative Literature at Brandéis. Since those were the days before "free minutes" on a cell phone, our conversations, usually evenings and weekends, were pretty costly at my salary. Often I called her at home, so I imagine the calls were costly to her as well. (Denah would never have asked for reimbursement from the Dean!)

It started like most trades. I was unhappy with my team and coach, we had family ties back East, and somehow I naively thought the weather around Boston would be more kindly than the cold and snowy Midwest. So one December evening I called my friend and mentor, Austin Warren, at his home and wondered whether I might come for a chat. He readily agreed.

After I unburdened my unhappiness and told him that Brandéis` heavy catalogue really had impressed me (and it had), he said, in his low and kind voice, between puffs on a cigarette, that he would write his friend Victor Harris, who just happened to be Chair of the English Department at Brandéis.

But I never heard from Victor Harris-not then-but a call came one evening from someone with a firm, friendly, professional and charming voice. Denah Lida introduced herself, and I must admit that even without knowing the spelling of either name, it sounded quite magical (was it like Yeats`s "Leda"?).

She wanted to talk to me about a possible position in the Department of European Languages and Comparative Literature. My heart sank. She knew I was in English, of course, because Victor Harris had told her, but that Department already had someone in my field (Yeats, as it was then) and her department might (and she spoke that word with all the uncertainty it could possibly imply), just might, have an opening.

I was charmed by the voice but chilled by the message. Sorry, I said, though my native language was German, and while I kept it up by minoring in German literature for the Ph.D..

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