Saturday, July 19th: The day began with a flood of nerves. After waking up long before the alarm, I sought out breakfast on the unfamiliar campus, intending to rehearse my paper and escape the Mississippi heat over iced coffee. Afterwards, I arrived at the conference center quite early, where my fellow panelists chatted and rehearsed their own papers. For many of us, this was our first time presenting our work at a conference -- the Southern Writers, Southern Writing graduate conference proved a welcoming and inviting introduction to the world of academic conferences. The presentations all went smoothly and spurred stimulating questions and discussions.
Sunday, July 20-Wednesday, July 23: The following conference, Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, kicked off with a catfish dinner on Faulkner's own lawn. The three days involved copious amounts of caffeine, hours of gripping presentations, evenings of sightseeing in town, and discussions over dinner about research and dissertations.
Thursday, July 24-Saturday, July 26: I returned home with new ideas and motivation for my URSP project. I finished sifting through my notes in Joyce's Ulysses, completing a document of passages, sorted by country, that show the international influences upon the novel's Dublin. By Saturday, I began the same process for Faulkner's Sound and the Fury. Both the upcoming process of mapping these findings and the vastly international attendance at the Faulkner conference have started to prove my initial hunch that Joyce's Dublin and Faulkner's Mississippi are not nearly as provincial as they may seem.