My Montagu Publication Is Among Most Read/Downloaded Articles

 
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I learned recently that an academic article I co-authored in Literature Compass has become one of this journal’s most downloaded articles this past year. The popularity of the article clearly has less to do with me than its far more fascinating subject matter: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters. Montagu, an eighteenth-century British aristocrat, penned her letters while accompanying her husband on a diplomatic trip, and they provide an enthralling narrative of her journeys.

On a personal level, it was my encounter with her letters that inspired me to pursue a PhD in English. I can still recall my college English professor (now the chair of my dissertation committee) suggesting that I read Montagu’s writings. I went straight to the NYU library, where I found several volumes of her letters. I think it was several hours before I finally set those volumes down, so easily had I slipped into the worlds she was creating on each page of each letter.

Featured Collaborator: Mark Purdy of Hopkins, Minnesota

 
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Owner

Blackstone Manor Clock Repair


It is not uncommon for the clock owner to pay much more to have the clock repaired than it was ever worth financially. But it is their connection to someone or something.

It’s often assumed that the analytic and creative minds operate in opposition to each other. Clockmaking would seem to attract thinkers who are as mechanically inclined as they are artistic. What drew you to clockmaking, and do you see your work in artistic terms?

I do not consider myself an artist. I graduated college with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. I used my degree for 10 years working in security before I began apprenticing with my older brother, a trained watchmaker and jeweler.  He taught me the basics of clock repair. I then begged my way into a company that made kits for customers to build their own clock cases. I was the only young guy in the company. They are now gone, and I learned a lot from that experience, eventually surpassing the caliber of clock repair their shop offered.

Most of us depend on digital technology to such a great extent each day that we aren’t even aware of its presence anymore. What do you believe is the value of analog timepieces in a smartphone era?

The type of mechanical clocks we repair are far removed from today's smartphones and related technology.  We help connect people with a different era, and our repairs often are like a reunion for people, reuniting them with memories, with loved ones who have passed away, with a past that we have brought back to life. It is not uncommon for the clock owner to pay much more to have the clock repaired than it was ever worth financially. But it is their connection to someone or something.

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What machine(s) are we listening to on your recording(s), and what are their functions?

You are listening to many types of clocks -- Westminster chiming clocks, 200-year-old English Bell strikes, Cuckoo clocks, etc. The machines were various lathes, one with a pivot polisher attached, an old jewelers lathe, and a newer small machinist lathe.