Hollow, Sleepy Hollow

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It was recently announced that Fox has renewed Sleepy Hollow for a fourth season. Please! No spoilers in the comments (as if)! I’m running a season behind so I want to protect my innocence. The announcement coincided with the happy news that my article on the Bible in Sleepy Hollow has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. I’m irrationally chuffed about this since my past publications have been primarily textual explorations of documents in languages nobody reads any more. Having something contemporary accepted for publication felt—dare I say it?—cool. As if I were part of the supernatural television crowd. It also affirmed my decision for which book to pursue next. When I say “pursue” I mean “write.”

You see, as a young scholar I struggled trying to decide what direction my research would take. After writing my book on Asherah, I was a bit sated with Ugaritic goddesses, although I started a book on Shapshu, goddess of the sun. The sun gave way to the weather and I wrote Weathering the Psalms. I lost my job in the midst of my revision of that project and it has taken a decade to find my way back to academic publishing. Research, however, takes on a vastly different form when you’re not hired to do it. Colleagues say, “I can get you access to my university library.” Such a kind thought, but my mind always says “when?” When would I have time to visit a library? I get up at 3:30 for my commute and get home in time to go to bed so that I can wake up again at 3:30 the next day. Research reading on the bus is dicey at best. Weekends are for getting the things done that are neglected all week long. Research has to be squeezed into the interstices.

That’s why I’m pleased about Sleepy Hollow. Watching television, even if on DVD, can be research. I’ve got decades of backlogged reading upon which to draw. When my tastes for light horror integrate with what I’m interested in researching it is a happy day. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” captured my imagination as a child. It was probably based on the Disney version, but even so, I never lost the fascination. Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow is still one of my favorite movies. Watching the episodes of the Fox series takes time, but now I know that time is not just simple relaxation. No, it’s research. Now to find the time to write that book that’s brewing in my head. Inspired, perhaps prophetically, by a Headless Horseman.

3 responses to “Hollow, Sleepy Hollow

  1. I watched some of the tv show. I maybe got through the first season. It was mildly entertaining. But it never really pulled me in. Part of it is that I’ve never had any serious interest in the Sleepy Hollow story. What do you like about the story and the tv show?

    Like

    • It’s hard to say what I like about the original story. It “spoke to me” as a child and I’ve always enjoyed that chilly feeling that spooky stories give. As I’ve discovered by watching them, I’m not really a fan of hardcore horror movies. The mood’s the thing.

      For the TV show I was drawn in by the biblical element, to begin with. The Bible is central to the plot in the first season. I also found having an African-American woman lead to be compelling. By the end of season 2, all the principals left are African-American, except for Ichabod Crane. Overall, season 2 was flashier but less satisfying than season 1.

      I’m currently working on a book on the subject, and as I do more analysis it should become easier to articulate an answer to your question. For the time being, it is simply the mood.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. David longstreet

    I think the research is always a great excuse to binge

    Liked by 1 person

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