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Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Formative (17): Americanness & Britishness

I have lived in the States of

Mass / Mich / California / NY / Indiana / Ohio / Missouri / Kansas. In that order. The most time in California and Kansas, with Ohio and Missouri also figuring prominently in my bio.

The Mayhews go way back in American history to colonial days. I am also related to the prominent Hinckley family. Gordon, president of LDS church, was 1st cousin to my grandmother. I have extended family in Utah. I am mostly of British descent (English and British Isles), with one great-grandmother from Switzerland.

So of course I am professor of Spanish. Otherwise I would be almost redundant. An English English professor. The American Bildung is to look beyond oneself.





3 comments:

Vance Maverick said...

Do you feel the ancestral matters (Mayhew, Hinckley) were formative?

Also, are you related to Peter Mayhew?

Jonathan said...

Don't know of Peter. I think ancestry is formative in the sense of imagining one's place in the world.

Vance Maverick said...

I'm in a similar situation -- prominent family name, etc. -- down to the Swiss exception to British Isles descent. I thought it was great, and important, when I was a kid, but soured on it in my late teens. Romanticizing the Texas Mavericks requires romanticizing or glossing over slavery and rebellion.

Peter is probably the closest the Mayhew clan has come to popular fame -- I'm sure you know his work.