The Rogue Scholar:
(Or–why I write/research Gothic fiction and the history of medicine)
I have a relatively useful bio or rap-sheet that I use when introducing myself. It’s short and to the point, and it says a bit about my choice to be an independent scholar and alternative academic:
A medical humanist alt-ac (alternative academic), Brandy Schillace spends her time in the mist-shrouded alleyways between the literary humanities and medical history. Taking a cue from Edward Gorey and John Bellairs, Dr. Schillace writes and illustrates teen Gothic with a medical twist. She is also the author of the Fiction Reboot and Literary Medicine’s Daily Dose blogs, bschillace.wordpress.com. The Reboot provides useful tips and information for writers, weekly fiction features and interviews with authors of fiction and poetry. The mission of the Dose is to honor, support, and share perspectives about medicine and humanities across cultures and disciplines. Dr. Schillace’s research and writing span these twin interests; in addition to multiple published articles, she is completing a research book titled A Subject Dark and Intricate about 18th century medicine and Gothic narrative. She is also working on two YA series, a mystery series, and a novel of rogue scholarship and nefarious goats. Dr. Schillace manages a journal, does consulting and free-lance work, and spends a lot of time in museums. She has taught Gothic literature, history of psychology, YA fiction and creative writing at Winona State University and Case Western Reserve University… and in Paris. Let’s not forget Paris.
It certainly gets the job done. But of course, it is only part of the story. We all have much more to tell, and I am inaugurating a new subsection of the blog called the Rogue Scholar Salon. These days, salon brings to mind hair-dryers, but I mean it in terms of the intellectual community of independent scholars popular in 18th century France and England. There was once a time when intelligence required no niche. In this series, I will be hosting my friends and colleagues (many of whom will be cross-listed with the Dose) who have stepped away from traditional academic careers or who have otherwise engaged the life of the mind without the usual trappings. Perhaps, in the progress of our intellectual development, the niche idea of scholarship is once more a dying beast. Inter-disciplinarity is the way of the future, even though individual scholars are making the change much quicker than the lumbering systems of which we are part. In general, these intrepid folk have stories to tell… stories about the way life, interests, aptitude and luck brought them to their chosen paths.
If you would like to hear my own story--