“This was the best part of my job visit…”


Professor of English and Comparative Literature

The visits started at ten in the morning. I had an interview with the chair, who was David Damrosch. Then there was a lunch with a lot of the faculty in American Literature. There was a talk. So a bunch of people came to the talk, but really then the only other thing was they put me in the little seminar room that’s a few doors down. I was supposed to meet with graduate students. I think it was a Friday and two people showed up. Then the day was over. I figured they’re not serious about me at all. This is not a real visit. I went over to Ann Douglas’s apartment. She made clear that she really liked me and we had tea, but that was not an official part of the visit.

The other piece was that I was sent to IRWAG to—I don’t know why I was sent there. I had an interest in gender studies. I actually thought of myself as a women’s studies person, and I was a women, but if I’m remembering right, Jean Howard was the director, but she was not there. So I was sent there and I chatted with Kathleen Savage, who was the most—this was the best part of my visit because Kathleen, she was completely schlubby and she had this gray, unassuming hair, and these glasses that magnified her eyes really big, and just very relaxed and unthreatening. I don’t remember who was shepherding me around, but they dropped me off there and she said, “Well, I don’t really know why you’re here. There’s no one who’s really an officer to meet with you. We can just sit here and chat.” I liked her so much. I was very grateful. It was purple. It was much more in this older women’s studies vein at the time. So that was a very fond memory of the job visit. I had a feeling of this must mean that I am not going to get the job. They just stuck me off here to fill up the day, but she’s very nice and this is the only time I can relax in the entire day.