Welcome to the official blog for Villanova's Graduate English Program! Come back often for updates on conference opportunities, guest speakers, student accomplishments, alumni news, and more.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Free Library of Philadelphia Author Events for September and October

The Free Library of Philadelphia invites prominent authors to speak in a densely-packed season of events. Tickets for Fall 2014 Author Events are currently on sale.

Subscription Orders
We're pleased to continue to offer Flexible Subscription Packages. Purchasing a subscription package is a great way to show your support for this award-winning program. Please note that your event selection is subject to ticket availability. Call 215-567-4341 to place your subscription order.

Single Ticket Orders
Order single tickets online at freelibrary.org/authorevents or by phone at 1-800-595-4TIX (4849).

Free Events
No tickets or reservations are required for free Author Events. Seating is first come, first seated. Visit us online for details about all of these events and more.

See you at the Library!


Ticketed Author Event Series Highlights
David Lynch | The Unified Field
Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM
A discussion about The Unified Field, an exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, featuring paintings and drawings by the internationally acclaimed director

Henry Kissinger | World Order
Monday, September 29, 2014
In conversation with Jeff Greenfield
The Nobel Prize-winning lifelong diplomat addresses the challenges of building international order in the 21st century


Upcoming Ticketed Events
9/10: Maureen Corrigan
9/11: David Lynch (12:00 p.m.)
9/11: Ken Burns and
Geoffrey C. Ward
9/18: Tavis Smiley
9/19: David Mitchell
9/29: Henry Kissinger
9/30: Nicholas Kristof (12:00 p.m.)
10/1: Steven Pinker
10/7: Francis Fukuyama
10/9: Mark Bittman
10/10: Leon Panetta
10/14: Jane Smiley
with Colm Toibin
10/15: John Lahr
10/16: Bill T. Jones
10/17: Cornel West (12:00 p.m.)
10/17: Norman Lear
10/20: Walter Isaacson
10/21: Marilynne Robinson
10/22: James McPherson
with S.C. Gwynne
and Karen Abbott
10/23: Azar Nafisi
10/28: E. O. Wilson
10/30: Katha Pollitt

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Graduate English Post-Graduation Reception

On Saturday, May 17, the Graduate English faculty and students gathered in the English department suite to honor the students who received their degree that day. For most, the academic stress of the semester was over, and the mood was light. The students who graduated that day had just wrapped up theses and field exams, although several students who had extended their thesis deadlines were also in attendance. Future plans were explained, goodbyes were said, and two years generally determined to be not quite enough time. We will miss all of our graduates, and we wish them the best.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Graduate English Professor Dr. Jean Lutes Interviewed by NPR's Morning Edition

This post by guest blogger Dr. Heather Hicks.

Our very own Dr. Jean Lutes was interviewed on NPR's national radio program Morning Edition this morning about the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nellie Bly, the famous female reporter. Dr. Lutes has recently edited a Penguin Classics edition of Bly's news stories. The new edition can be found on Pengun's website.

And here's the link to the interview.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thesis and Field Exam Symposium

The Thesis and Field Exam Symposium took place on Saturday, April 26th. Seven presenters explained either completed or ongoing projects to an audience of Graduate English faculty and fellow first- and second-year students.

The Symposium is designed as a format for thesis-writing students to present their work to the rest of the department. The environment was relaxed but thoughtful, as many students and professors expressed interest in the students' arguments and posed questions to clarify or expand their points.

The presenters and their work are listed below:
Adam Hembree: "Creating Negation:
'Playing the Villain' with Iago and Richard III"

Teddi Hermes: "(In)Visible Women:
The Visual in Black Women's Literature"
Katie Parks: "Rediscovering Teresa

Caroline Blasi: Solving Mysteries: Where the Gothic and
Detective Story Meet"
 Susan Pederson: "Consumed: Food, Taste, and Social
Standing in Modernist American Fiction"

Corey Arnold: "Witness: The Traumatic Logic of Literary
John Dodig: "'The Girl Looked Like Me': Touching the
Gothic in the Graphic Memoirs of Alison Bechdel"

Jill Biden, former Villanova English Graduate Student, to Give Commencement Address

The Second Lady of the United States will be speaking at this year's commencement ceremony. She has ties with the Villanova Graduate English department, as she received her master's degree here in 1991. She went on to get her doctorate in Education at the University of Deleware. She currently teaches at a community college and advocates for recognition of community colleges as an important means of educating America's workforce.

You can read the official article in the Villanovan for more details.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shakespeare's Birthday Party

I hope that someone will be celebrating my birthday 450 years from now, though Shakespeare may not have expected this kind of fete: On April 23, Villanova's English Department, under the leadership of the wonderful Dr. Alice Dailey, celebrated Shakespeare's 450th birthday with a book-shaped cake, a Hamlet-inspired student film, and Shakespearean door prizes such as Hamlet finger puppets.

A surprisingly large and energetic crowd filled the Old Falvey Library Reading Room, where a large screen held a projection of Dr. Dailey's "@Shakespeare" live tweets, and a birthday cake for Shakespeare sat next to birthday-cake flavored Oreos. This party whimsically assumed that Shakespeare would be quite caught up on both technology and 20th century desserts had he managed to live long enough. Old-fashioned readings of favorite passages were presented alongside a student film that, in a postmodern, non-chronological way, explored the what-ifs in Hamlet's transposition into a student dorm with Tarantino posters on the wall. The party game that had everyone engaged was a lively round of "Shakespeare or Batman?" with the Bard's most cynical quotations going up against Batman's philosophical musings and creative metaphors.

I left Shakespeare's birthday party with rich, heavy cake inside me and a Hamlet finger puppet on my finger - Gertrude, Hamlet's mom (pre-revenge, based on the lack of blood). I had a new sense of Shakespeare's relevance: his translation into a postmodern, technological, artificial-flavor-loving age was greeted with enthusiasm by a room full of Twitter-literate undergrads. I have high hopes that our fun today will translate into a richer understanding and a deeper affection for his works, and maybe a few more tweets to @Shakespeare.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Checking in with Katie Parks, a Current Thesis-Writing Second Year Student

The Yawp staff wanted our readers to become a little more familiar with the experience in the daily lives of Villanova Graduate English Students. Currently our crop of second-years is working to polish thesis and field exam, most of them trying to finish by the end of the semester. We decided to check in with Katie Parks, who is writing about Teresa Deevy, a 20th Century Irish playwright. 

The Yawp: Katie Parks. How are you? Does this email find you in the midst of writing?

Katie Parks: Hi, Yawp! I am doing well this semester. I am currently in the midst of editing and revising my thesis. Draft. Revise. Draft. Revise. Lather, rinse, repeat.

TY: Is thesis writing everything you hoped it would be? Has anything surprised you about this process?

KP: I'm not really sure what I hoped thesis writing would be like, but the process has proved that this kind of venture requires a great amount of organization and discipline. I have been surprised continuously by my research on Teresa Deevy and the early decades of 20th-century Irish theatre, which has spurred my deeper interest in this genre and love for the stage.

TY: Who is advising you? What has that process been like?

KP: Dr. Joseph Lennon is directing my thesis, and Fr. Cregan is my second reader. Dr. Lennon has been extremely supportive and helpful throughout the process and I feel really lucky to be working with him. Father Cregan has been a wonderful support, as well, and has played an active role of this process. His knowledge of Irish theatre and theatre scholarship has been critical in expanding and strengthening the groundwork of my thesis.

TY: Describe an average day. 

An average thesis-writing day is almost always a day when I don't have my assistantship, which varies from week to week. Because my assistantship allots for very little downtime during the day, I rely heavily on my evenings to get thesis work done. I'll work until 9pm or so, depending on whether or not I have work the next morning.

Okay, so back to the original question... An average day for me begins around 7 or 8 in the morning, if I'm not working at my Philly assistantship. (Un)Fortunately, I don't wake up to a normal alarm clock on these days; there's a pesky woodpecker that makes daily visits to a tree right outside my bedroom window. I'll grumble and mumble to myself, under the covers, about not wanting to spend all day at my desk, typing away to the beat of the woodpecker's peck. I'll get out of bed, eat some Rice Krispie Treats cereal, watch an episode of Law and Order: SVU, and get to work on my thesis. Around 2 or 3pm, I'll take a break. Sometimes, I'll relocate to Falvey or Starbucks for the afternoon, just to get out of the house... I tend to go stir-crazy after a few hours. Around dinnertime, I'll finish up for the day. If it's a Sunday, I'll eat a nice spaghetti/ravioli/lasagna/ziti/stuffed shells dinner with my parents. I wish every day was Sunday, but only for the pasta.

TY: Best and worst moments so far. Go.

KP: Best moment: Crossing the sixty page threshold in drafting. (Making it to 70 was exciting.)

Worst moment: Making (heavy) edits to sixty or seventy pages only to find that I now have sixty, fifty, or--no, wait--45 pages.

Next worst/most difficult moment: Trying to scale to the top of the sixty-page mountain again, only to find that the sixty-page mountain is a plateau...the mountain's height is undetermined. I'm still scaling this mountain, after round #349054896103 of editing. I'll let you know when I reach the top.

TY: Who holds the tissue box when you cry?

KP: Lil Bub, between her lil paws. Juuuust kidding. I wish Lil Bub were my writing companion, but I'm allergic to cats... Luckily for me, my wonderful friends and my director have held the tissue box when necessary. I'm not allergic to any of them.

TY: Since we will all be following in your eminent footsteps, what words of wisdom can you offer to first years and incoming students about the thesis-writing process?

KP: I thought for a long time about my response to this question. I think the best advice I can offer to those who will write a thesis is to be as organized as possible and to start the thesis proposal and research processes early. Figure out your thesis topic and the professor(s) with whom you'd like to work. I think it's important to do this as early as possible, ideally before the fall semester of your second year. Once you've determined your topic and the professor who will direct your project, start your research! Most importantly, love what you're doing. If you enjoy research and writing, you'll have a rewarding thesis experience.

The Yawp offers its best wishes to all the current Second-Years who are writing theses and field exams, although each of you will certainly be missed!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lee Nevitt Wins Best Graduate Essay at ECS Conference

Current Villanova graduate English student Lee Nevitt won a prize at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Conference for Best Graduate Essay. The conference is organized annually by the Gender and Women's Studies program and showcases the work of undergraduates and graduate students from area schools.

Lee's paper focused on the novels The Good Soldier and Mrs. Dalloway, particularly paying attention to the repressed homosexuality of the characters John Dowell and Septimus Smith. He argued that the investment of both protagonists in war service and its attendant social values (upholding the institution of marriage, fostering the imperial myth, and valuing a violent masculine identity) is at odds with their socially prohibited desire, resulting in characters who are fundamentally at war with themselves: a fact that is crystallized in their inability to feel grief and express desire through language.

Sex before Sexology Mini-Conference

Travis Foster's "Sex before Sexology" class will be presenting a mini-conference at 7:30 PM on April 22 and April 29. Location and a full schedule can be found below or at http://sexbeforesexology.wordpress.com/.

April 22
7:30 – 8:10 p.m.

Jonathan Kadjeski, “Ormond, or a Frozen Witness: Reading Antimimetic Narrative through the Paralipsis of Intimacy”

John Polanin, “’Born of the smoke and danger of death’: Political Productions of Sexual Identities”

8:10 – 8:50 p.m.

Katie Miller, “Fate and Predestination in The Hermaphrodite and ‘The Amber Gods’”

Theresa Kircher, “Simultaneously Sexed: A Transgender Reading of Winterson’s Written on the Body and Butler’s Gender Performativity”

8:50 – 9:00


9:00 – 9:40 p.m.


Samantha Vitale, “Perpetuating Progeny: Racial Reproductive Politics in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Lee Nevitt, “Queer Reproduction and Its Contents”

April 29
7:30 – 8:10 p.m.


Sara Radtke, “’Queer Little Gardens’: The Erotics of Nature in Hawthorne and Jewett”

Samantha Sorensen, “’And All So Luscious’: Corporeal Eroticism in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855)”

8:10 – 8:50 p.m.

Jeff Howard, “Not So Poor Joanna: Materiality, Smooth Space, and Being as Becoming in Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs

Eric Doyle, “’The Waiting Place’: Elegy and History in The Country of the Pointed Firs

8:50 – 9:30


All sessions held in 410 Saint Augustine Center.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Women's Networking Brunch March 30th

The Villanova Women's Professional Network and Graduate Women in Business are holding an annual "Marketplace Cafe" networking event and would love to extend the invitation to current female graduate students and alumnae in Arts & Sciences.

The event is designed to connect graduate students and alumnae, and will feature "A Candid Conversation about Confidence," facilitated by Kimberly Strickland, SPHR, Market Inclusion Leader, PwC.

What: "Marketplace Cafe," a Sunday brunch networking event
When: March 30th, from 11am to 2pm
Where: West Lounge of Dougherty Hall on Villanova's campus.

PLEASE REGISTER: http://www1.villanova.edu//villanova/business/about/wpn/events/marketplacecafe14.html

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

English Graduate Student Sam Vitale wins Summer Research Fellowship

Sam Vitale, first year English graduate student, was recently awarded a Graduate Summer Research Fellowship. During the summer 2014 term, She will undertake a research project to examine the relationship between J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Darwin. Specifically, she plans to investigate the character of Gollum; for instance, Darwin's claim about "changing conditions of life" suggests that Gollum's ocular evolution--his "throw-back eyes"--are the result of his subterranean environment. She hopes to present my work at the Mythopoeic Society's annual August conference and perhaps publish in their accompanying journal, Mythlore.

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Gender and Women's Studies Course Fall 2014

Villanova's Gender and Women's Studies Program is offering a new interdisciplinary graduate course during the Fall 2014 semester.

Course Code: GWS 8000-001
Course Title:   Critical Perspectives on Gender
Professor:       Dr. Jean Lutes
Schedule:       Wednesday 5:20-7:20 PM

An interdisciplinary study of gender, women, and sexuality, this course surveys contemporary developments in feminist, gender, and queer theory. It also applies those theories to a variety of topics, such as the representation of gender, the history of sexuality, the science of sexual difference, gender in the workplace, and gender in the digital age. Throughout the semester, we will consider how ideas about gender are bound inextricably to ideas about race and class. Likely theorists include Sandra Bartky, Karen Barad, Simone de Beauvoir, Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, Michel Foucault, Elizabeth Freeman, Judith Halberstam, Alison Jaggar, Chandra Mohanty, and Eve Sedgwick.

Email Jean Lutes at jean.lutes@villanova.edu for more information.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Abbey Theatre Summer Studio Now Open to Graduate Students - Tuition Remission Available

Beginning this June 2014, the Abbey Theatre Summer Studio will be open to dedicated graduate students. The Studio will be an intensive study of the Abbey, its history, literature, performances, and operations—and it runs from June 1-20 in Dublin Ireland. The cost, including tuition and housing, will be $3500. Students will also have to pay for airfare and food. For students on Tuition Fellowships and Graduate Assistantships, tuition remission will cover both the cost of the program and housing.

The course will have a performance element, as well as a written scholarly element, and count for 3 graduate credits. Selected graduate students will also be responsible for assisting and directing undergraduate discussions and rehearsals.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please talk with either Heather Hicks or Joseph Lennon at your earliest convenience. Places for tuition remission students will be limited.

ACCOMMODATION: Housing and breakfast will be provided at University College Dublin, Belfield campus, a short ride to the city center for classes and studio work. Rooms are in a suite with a self-serve kitchen. Morning sessions take place in a university setting on St. Stephen’s Green and the afternoon sessions will take place at the Abbey Theatre on Lower Abbey Street. The program will consist of lectures in the morning on St. Stephen's Green in the city centre of Dublin. Afternoons will be over at the Abbey Theatre, just a walk across Trinity College and the River Liffey.

COST: The program cost will be approximately $3,500. Students are responsible for airfare, as well as lunch and dinner expenses. The cost of the program covers tuition, housing, theatre tickets, inner-city bus ticket, pool and gym at UCD, travel insurance, among other things.

HISTORY: The Abbey Theatre, the national theatre of Ireland, has long showcased great Irish drama. Emerging out of theatre societies founded by W.B. Yeats, Edward Martyn, Lady Augusta Gregory, John Millington Synge, the Fay brothers, and others, the Abbey Theatre has fostered playwrights and premiered productions by Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Sebastian Barry, and Marina Carr, among many others.


For More Information:

Contact: SummerStudio@villanova.edu
Dr. Joseph Lennon, Director of Irish Studies
Phone: 610.519.4647

Visit the Abbey Theatre Webpage for more information.

Monday, January 27, 2014

David Gilbert Kicks Off Villanova's 2014 Literary Festival

The 2014 Literary Festival begins with a reading from critically acclaimed fiction writer David Gilbert on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7 pm at Speaker’s Corner in Falvey Library. 

Travis Foster Lecture: "Darwin, Jewell, Freud, and the Ecology of Queer Life"

Please join us this week to hear a lecture by Travis Foster, who teaches in the Graduate English department. His lecture is entitled "Darwin, Jewell, Freud, and the Ecology of Queer Life," and will take place at noon on Wednesday, January 29 in the Connelly Center.