Dear blogpals (and others, most of whom have ended up here because this blog is improbably on the first page of results when one searches for Henry VIII),

I’ve been inexcusably incommunicado lately, because I’ve been grading papers for the first half of the British literature survey. It’s going well enough, with some fine papers I am quite happy to say, but there is one tiny obstacle: it isn’t yet done.

In saying this I’m hardly speaking for my fellow academics, who are a large and vocal bunch when it comes to complaining about grading. I would like to endorse those gripes, however, by joining in the chorus of people who seek comfort for their pain by telling the world that grading sucks. Or, as my students are fond of putting it, grading truly sucks. By which I mean, of course, that it doesn’t suck in some half-hearted or ironic way, but deep down in its marrow. And in its liver. It sucks in its essential substance, or, if you prefer, in its substantial essence. If you want a sense of just how badly it sucks, just imagine: while sitting here grading papers, I’ve been daydreaming about how much fun it would be to write my final exam instead. Yea, verily, it doth suck, forsooth.

So that’s why I haven’t been forthcoming with the updates. But never fear, I will return next week with a vengeance–there’s nothing like blogging to break up a lengthy holiday visit from the relatives. Hoping this finds you well, I remain yr humble blogpal (or accidental internet search destination),