Wednesday, September 19, 2012

5 Questions Series - Jonathan Mayhew

1. How did you arrive at your dissertation topic or most recent project of considerable scope?

My projects tend to develop out of earlier ones. My current book-in-progress, What Lorca Knew, arose out of my previous two books, attempting to complete them or taking my ideas to a logical conclusion.

2. If you could go back and teach your grad school self one important thing about reading/writing/teaching/etc. that you learned after grad school, what would it be?

It would probably be the "Seinfeld chain," a simple method of keeping track of successive days of work.

3. What aspect of being a professional scholar and teacher do you find most difficult?

The work itself is not difficult. I do find it hard to do other things, like fix a leaky faucet.

4. What do you like most about being a professional scholar and teacher?

What I most value is the sense of personal autonomy, the ability to set one's own agenda and make the case for what one thinks is most important.

5. What kinds of things do you do to maintain your intellectual curiosity?

Reading books in languages I don't wholly master; exploring musical interests.


Jonathan Mayhew is Professor of Spanish at the University of Kansas. He received his A.B in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Davis, and his PhD in the same field from Stanford University. He has taught at Ohio State University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Mayhew has blogged at Bemsha Swing since 2002 and remains involved in other blogging projects, most recently Stupid Motivational Tricks.

His interests fall into a few broad categories: Spanish and Spanish American poetry; contemporary American poetry and poetics; translation and translation theory; prosody; jazz; scholarly writing and how to get it done. He has written and published four books:Claudio Rodríguez and the Language of Poetic Vision, The Poetics of Self-Consciousness,The Twilight of the Avant-Garde, and Apocryphal Lorca: Translation, Parody, Kitsch. His articles and reviews have appeared in prestigious academic journals of the US and Spain, including Diacritics, Hispanic Review, PMLA, Insula, and Revista de Libros.

Currently, Professor Mayhew is working on a project with the title: What Lorca Knew: Spanish Poetics and Intellectual History.

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