[Journal passage, 23 April 1981]
wrote a letter to my step-father thanking him for sending down that Norton Critical Pudd’nhead Wilson—actually it’s the last thing I need at the moment, another distraction with all the term papers coming up and everything, but it’s damn good to have (particularly since the library down here is not too good on Twain—and what stuff they do have has been checked out by professors for the past three years. Or graduate students. However.) Sidney Berger is the guy who was supposed to be doing the Pudd’nhead Wilson for the University of California definitive edition—I wonder if he still is, or what? I notice that the remaining unpublished passages from the text have been omitted from this text for copyright reasons—apparently they can’t be published until the U of C press publishes them. One of those passages, about the society of freethinkers in the town, is of crucial importance (I am convinced) for understanding the development of the novel, since it was in that passage that the main character was originally introduced—if I am correct in my understanding of the way the novel developed.
I’m deeply bogged down in papers and the like at the moment. One of them I don’t even know what it’s going to be about, and I may have to take an incomplete on it. That’s what almost everybody seems to do in Dr. Robinson’s classes—I wonder how he stands it. One of the students in the class—he’s working on his PhD—is supposed to present a paper in the NT seminar this week; at the end of the class session, as Dr. Robinson was leaving, he said, “Oh, by the way, I’ll have to leave at eight—I’m presenting a paper on Gnosticism on the East Coast.” I couldn’t see how Dr. Robinson took it, but I’m afraid that everybody else broke up—that’s something that’s virtually Dr. Robinson’s trademark.
The library is giving me shit again—I put a hold on a book I needed, so by the law of library karma somebody put a hold on a book I was using. The last time that happened I turned in the book and whoever requested it had the gall to either not pick it up, or to turn it back in at once, and nobody of course informed me of it. This time I went in and asked how I could be notified. Now I know damn good and well that there is a way, for the simple reason that when I’ve requested books the guy who has it has done such things as put a hold on it right after me, but the girl at the desk (who is relatively new) insisted that no, it couldn’t be done. Well, fines or no, I’m not turning in the book until I have some guarantee that I get it back as soon as possible.
The M_s just got back from a week in Hawaii—just resting at the beach, according to Mr. M_. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but I’ve lost my Turkish fellow-boarder—he’s moved to Artesia, New Mexico. Oh, yeah, David M_ is planning to go to South America next fall, and spend a year to a year and a half down there. He’s interested in the Mayas and the Incas and all that—also knows some people down there he can visit.