Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chaos Controlled

The chaos of this past week is under control. Barely, perhaps, but it no longer has the upper hand. Professor O is gone (leaving his office full of...stuff and looking like it was struck by a tornado). No white knight has ridden over the horizon, ready to teach Professor O's classes. The teaching schedule has been reshuffled once again---for the third time in less than two months---and all the courses that are supposed to be taught this semester will be taught, except for one graduate class. Of course, to ensure that all those courses are taught, three professors (one of whom is me) will be teaching an extra class, but the students won't suffer due to Professor O's last-minute resignation.

Now, if only peace (and sanity) will prevail.

James Gillray's famous caricature on the Peace of Amiens, entitled "The first Kiss this Ten Years!---or---the meeting of Britannia & Citizen Fran├žois", published 01 January 1803. The French officer's hat and sword lay on the carpet. Britannia's shield and trident rest on the wall behind her chair. Above them are portraits of George III and Napoleon, facing each other. They almost appear to be shaking hands, but with very bad grace.

The French officer says, "Madame, permittez me to pay my profound esteem to your engaging person!---& to seal on your divine Lips my everlasting attachment!!!" Britannia says, "Monsieur, you are truly a well-bred Gentleman!---&, tho' you make me blush, yet, you Kiss so delicately, that I cannot refuse you, tho' I was sure you would Deceive me again!!!"

The Peace of Amiens lasted only a few months after this caricature was published. A few months of peace sounds divine. A few years sounds better.


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