Dr. M. J. Toswell
Professor, The University of Western Ontario

Manuscript Cut

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I travel a lot, and my count of countries visited is now over fifty. I spent a year in Valencia during my undergraduate degree (the best decision of my undergrad career); although my family did camping trips across Canada when I was a kid in North Bay, the year in Spain really cemented my delight at heading off in random directions. When I was a grad student in England I discovered how much cheaper it is to travel from there to the rest of Europe or Asia or Africa; during grad school the best I could do was one-day trips on the ferry to France, but more recently this has meant boating to the Nile temples over New Year's, climbing around in Petra for a week in the summer, and slightly more elegant train trips to Paris or Brussels to commune with a manuscript than the ferry rides of yesteryear.


During the process of getting tenure I decided to start my first sabbatical with something faculty members in North America used to do a lot; I took a freighter to England. Since then, every now and again I take another, across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, across the Pacific. The first four and a half months of my last sabbatical (2010-11) were spent on a freighter round the world, going east from Houston and including both the Suez and Panama Canals. The winter term, from January to April 2011, I spent as Visiting Fellow in New College, Oxford. In total, I avoided cooking and grocery shopping for over nine months. On the freighter round the world, the most interesting places were Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Shimonoseki in Japan, and the Panama Canal -- and the passage through the Suez Canal as we prepped the razorwire and sandbagged the bridge for getting past Somalia.


In the last four years Iíve been more settled at Western, because of involvement in Senate (2013-2017 most recently, but with many previous tours of duty) and the Board of Governors (2014-2018). I moved out of London to the beautiful town of Parkhill, to a place which might have enough room for my books once I finish organizing and plan the move of my research collection (or as much of it as will fit) back into University College. And Iíve been working hard on governance issues, and especially on accountability.


 German missal, ca. 1125 - Donated to Weldon Library

German Missal


University of Western OntarioDepartment of English • Email: mjtoswel@uwo.ca HomePast and Current CoursesRecent Publications 411