J. J. Cohen: Medievalist, Researcher into Stone

…I write difficult prose about obscure subjects in dead languages. To find that such work resonates with scholars and writers who are for the most part distant from my field and yet who feel energized by what I’ve done, well … I mean, does it get better? Like most of us I conduct my research because I enjoy working with certain materials and questions. They preoccupy me, and it is my good fortune that I am in a profession in which I am enabled to explore them, often with students and friends. Grappling with critical problems and rich texts, coming to some tentative understanding of how things work or might work: that process is sufficiently motivating. Sharing such work to make clear that it’s part of an ongoing conversation is an obligation; and of course we then hope that this conversation will be further invigorated by our contribution, so that we can continue the dialogue. The calculation of professional success is not typically a scholarly motivator, despite the ungenerous remarks one often hears to the contrary…”

from: “The Monstrous Fantastic” (blog post), by J J Cohen (Professor of English, Director of Institute for Medieval & Early Modern Studies, George Washington University) – March 26, 2012 –


About negxl1

Rocks interest me; some fascinate me.
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