A literary blog featuring my thoughts on daily reading, ruminations on literature and other arts, and close readings.  The menu should include much experimental/avant-garde literature, a lot of the canon, and an increasing amount of Southern (U.S.) literature.

I am a librarian (Assistant Curator of Special Collections, Duke University) and wildly unpublished fiction writer; sports addict, with particular emphasis on the Celtics, Red Sox, and Nebraska football; and weiner dog aficionado.  Born and raised in Nebraska, I lived for six years in Chicago after college and currently reside in Durham, NC with my wife Jaime, cat Malachi, and dog Bruno.

§ 9 Responses to About

  • ara13 says:

    I read a bit of your reviews. I may even tackle Infinite Jest. Let me know if you’d be interested in reviewing Drawers & Booths by Ara 13 and I can send you a copy. Thanks. ara13c@yahoo.com also ara13.com

    • willhansen2 says:

      Hi Ara13,

      Thanks for taking a look. With the state of my to-be-read shelf, it’d be quite a while (as in, years) before I’d get to it, but it does look interesting. I guess it depends on how much patience you have!

  • Seth says:

    Hi, Will? My name is Seth (duh), and I’m also from Nebraska and also love DFW and also interested in going into Library Science–I was wondering if you could do a post about how you arrived at your job, what your education was, any advice you have for someone thinking about going into it, &c?

    • willhansen2 says:

      Hi Seth,

      It sounds like you might be my doppelganger. Let’s hope we never meet, for both of our sakes.

      My painfully obvious advice, if you’re interested in librarianship: get some experience and get your degree. I landed an entry-level job at the Newberry Library in Chicago for four years; halfway through my time there, I went to school for my Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois (they have a really good distance learning program). The Newberry’s one of the world’s great libraries (no hyperbole necessary); most of my rare-book and archival knowledge came from working there as a circulation assistant (staffing one of the reading rooms, paging books from the stacks, completing photocopy requests, etc.) and reference assistant (working the reference desk and helping with all sorts of collection development and reference projects).

      You really need your Master’s in Library Science if you hope to make a living wage in libraries. But you also really need to get some experience to make sure it’s the career you want (and to get into a good library science program); I know I had all sorts of fanciful ideas about what being a librarian would be like when I first thought about it as an undergrad at UNL. It’s a lot tougher now to find an entry level job; depending on what kind of library work you’re interested in, it could be even tougher if you’re in Nebraska, which has fewer college and university libraries than many areas. Volunteering or interning might be an option, if you have the time and commitment.

      Good luck to you.


  • penitentialpelican says:

    Will! I found your blog, literally minutes ago, by googling “unfractioned integral.” I’m on my third reread of Moby Dick, and I keep hoping that every time I reach “The Carpenter” chapter and google “unfractioned integral” there might be an actual definition of the term SOMEWHERE on the web. You wouldn’t happen to know what an unfractioned integral is, would you? I asked a couple math professors and they seem to think it’s just another term for infinite limits or something, but I have no proof.

    Also, I’m an English writing undergrad, and naturally I love your blog and look forward to reading more of your entries.

    • willhansen2 says:

      Hi Pelican! Thanks for the compliment and comment, I appreciate it.

      As far as “unfractioned integral” goes… I’ve always thought that this was just Melville’s 19th-century lay-mathematics term for a whole number or undivided number (read “integer” for “integral”). A whole and complete entity, in other words, rather than a portion or fraction, dependent on another number. There’s probably an interesting paper to be written there if you really wanted to get into 19th-century mathematical/numerical ideas.

      • Rooney says:

        Ah, thank you! That makes perfect sense. I just assumed that he HAD to have meant the calculus integral, because I love calculus.

        And yes, math paper would be amazing. There’s another part in the Try-Works chapter where Ishamel says something about all points converging to a circumference or something like that (don’t have the book handy!).

  • MPF says:

    You wrote beautifully on The Art of Fielding. I loved this book; your musings on the faux fielder Aparicio Rodriguez’ koans helped uncrack some of the mysteries of the American pastime and of this new classic baseball novel.

  • Brigid says:

    I like your blog!
    Just now I googled “and but DFW” and found your wonderful and but so piece. Just finished Broom of the System and rereading IJ – alongside GTW and U and always MD!

    With best wishes,

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