[As another challenging but rewarding semester comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on a handful of moments that particularly surprised me (in good ways). I’d love to hear some of your Spring reflections in comments!]
This might come as a surprise, given how frequently I’ve written about her and her works in this space and beyond, but before this semester I had never taught an entire Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton novel. I’ve taught excerpts from The Squatter and the Don (1885) many times in my Honors Lit Seminar on the Gilded Age, and had taught the opening of Who Would Have Thought It? (1872) here and there as well. I really love Ruiz de Burton (duh), but I can’t lie, I wasn’t entirely sure how the entirety of her long and chatty late 19th century novels of manners would teach here in 2023. So I was very pleasantly surprised that the conversation about Who Would Have Thought It? in my Grad class on Multi-Ethnic American Literatures not only went well, but was one of the couple best conversations of the semester (always a competitive category with our great Grad students). Guess I should teach her whole books more often!
Last surprise tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? Spring semester reflections you’d share?