Acknowledgements and Anti-Acknowledgements

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Now that my doctoral training is finished and I’ve settled down in sunny South Dakota in my new role in faculty development, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s been an important part of the journey.

Let’s start with everyone who’s been a wonderful support, and then get to the airing of grievances for all of you people who know what you did.


The official acknowledgements from the dissertation:

No liturgy, even of the literary and academic sort, can be accomplished alone. I have received much guidance and support over the years of my academic formation. I must begin with the heavenly patron of this dissertation, St. John Henry Newman. Were he not already canonized, I would submit the completion of this project as one of his miracles.

I would like to thank all the people of the Emory community who have formed me academically and professionally. A special thank you to Ocean Eerie who supported the graduate students in so many ways as human persons and raised our morale more than we will ever know, and for giving me a model of the kind of staff member I want to be. The Emory Center for Digital Scholarship will also always continue to be important to me. Thank you to Anandi Silva Knuppel, Chase Lovellette, and Wayne Morse for all the opportunities and support they gave me to grow as a digital humanist.

I would like to especially acknowledge my advisors and committee. My advisor, Laura Otis has been especially kind and patient as I tried more and more to clarify my thinking. I first began linking Hardy and Hopkins in her Victorian novel class, developing a conference paper that would eventually become an article and the early draft of chapter two. James Morey, my committee member and DGS, taught me so much about Chaucer and continued to push my reasoning and writing to be the best it could. My committee member, Jill Robbins, helped me understand Levinas and Gadamer and always supported the focus on alterity. Thank you also to my teaching advisor, Joonna Trapp, who helped me grow as an educator, supported me through taking my class to read to pre-schoolers, and led me to my current work supporting teachers.

I must also thank all the people who have offered me theological formation. At Emory, thank you to Philip Reynolds who let me be a part of his History of Christianity class that inspired so many of the medieval and monastic connections in this dissertation. I am grateful also to the faculty and staff of the McGrath Institute of Notre Dame who gave me further training in liturgical theology. A heartfelt thank you to the monks of Mount Angel Abbey who trained me as a sacristan and fostered my liturgical sensibility.

So many different communities have supported me through this project. I am grateful to all the people who have formed my theoretical approach to literature, especially Creighton Lindsay for introducing me to a relational view of reading and to Walter Reed and Mikhail Epstein for helping me understand Bakhtin. The supportive people of the Victorian Poetry Caucus at the North American Victorian Studies Association, especially Amy Huseby, showed me I could have a place among Victorianists. I am thankful for my new community at the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of South Dakota who gave me work to look forward to after Emory and have been so supportive as I finished this project. And of course, a most sincere gratitude to Seymour House who has continued to be my mentor over all these years long after I graduated and offers an example of the kind of mentor I hope to be.

Thank you to my parents, Roger and Kathleen Adamson, without whose help and support we would not have been able to complete the program. To my wife, Kristen, who put up with late nights and cranky babbling, you are my beloved worthy of a sonnet sequence, and “it is better . . . with me because I have known you.” This dissertation is dedicated to our children: Eleanor, who has had to wait too often for Daddy to finish the last sentence before playing, and Felix, who taught me more how to understand Tess than anyone could. We will always remember you, Felix, with the eye of affection with “its vision of higher things.”


Wow! You’ve made it this far. Ready for the dirt? Here you go!

Festvus Airing GIF - Festvus Airing Grievances GIFs

To my undergrad philosophy professor who came in after our short Cartesian papers to tell the whole class “Well, I wish I could recommend that any of you go on to grad school, but. . . ” Thank you for the inspirational model as I work in faculty development. (The offer is always open if you would like to workshop ways to treat your students with respect).

To the colleagues who talked shit about me and continually rolled their eyes from our first seminar, I was very aware the whole time. And yes, I still made sure to get you training and teaching opportunities.

To the unhinged graduate school interviewer who asked me if I would be willing to enter as though I hadn’t completed a masters, I finished in five years, and my biggest regret about that whole ludicrous encounter is that I didn’t defend my (R1) MA institution in my surprise at how you handled that interview.

To the same unhinged interviewer who kept looking right at me when loudly saying, “My undergrads say I’m anti-Catholic, but I’m not anti-Catholic,” I’m sure you have tons of Catholic friends too.

I must especially acknowledge COVID. You were so helpful in making my bibliography a mess. Thank you for ensuring that everyone will think I don’t know about the new edition of Hopkins’s correspondence.

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