Evidently the universe at large felt my paper at the IAS lacked sufficient attention to irony1.
Or possibly having made this post about the crucial importance of PowerPoint, I was setting myself up for disaster. So guess who forgot to save her PowerPoint presentation to her USB before setting off to give her paper? Who, me? How did you guess?
Not the end of the world – I had my speaking notes (fully scripted) on the USB, so I quickly made up a Word doc with just the quotations on it, and scrolled through that as I read. That meant the audience got treated to the sight of my marked-up translations (with notes like UNSURE OF NUMBER OF FEMININE NOUNS and other embarrassing flaws that I would normally prefer to bullshit over); but I had visual aids, and that’s the important bit.2
Apparently I got the combination of ‘laughing at own incompetence’ and ‘proceeding on regardless’ right, since I was told a number of times that I’m a ‘very composed young lady’. Possibly this judgement might not have been given if I had, as planned, accompanied my presentation with BBC Merlin macros.
Moral of the story: make your PowerPoints, but don’t get too attatched to them.
While on the topic of PowerPoint – A Stitch in Time has a post about effective presentations which may be of interest.
[N.B. – ten points to session moderator G.G. for not mocking me while introducing me; I understand the temptation was dire. He also wins some kind of prize for google-sleuthing, or possibly psychic talents, after popping up in front of me suddenly and declaring ‘Political thought of Wulfstan II!’.]
1. True story: my students asked me last semester what some literary techniques were, and I was unable to think of any save irony. SIGN OF A TRUE CHRÉTIEN SCHOLAR.
2. Besides, Keith Busby had left the room. Someone did come to correct my translations, but at least Keith Busby and Norris Lacy were elsewhere at the time.