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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"The Great Catsby" Recruiting Event

The English Department is hosting a recruiting event, coordinated by Dr. Jean Lutes, for undecided undergraduates to experience being an English major for an evening. The event will be a fun and accessible way to approach a familiar text. The evening will be facilitated by upperclassman English majors as well as Graduate English students, who will perform a dramatic reading of a passage and then lead breakout discussion groups.

More graduate students are always welcome to assist with discussion groups. Let Dr. Lutes know if you are interested!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dr. Joseph Lennon Meets with the President of Ireland and the Irish Prime Minister

Dr. Joseph Lennon, Director of Villanova Irish Studies and Associate Professor of English, has just returned from a trip to Ireland with a retinue of Villanova administrators, including Father Peter Donohue. The visit included meetings with both the President and the Prime Minister of Ireland to discuss the ongoing work of Villanova's Irish Studies Program.

L-R: Teresa O'Neill, friend of Villanova University and wife of Mike O'Neill
Mike O'Neill, Vice President for Advancement, husband of Teresa O'Neill
Dr. Joseph Lennon, Director of Irish Studies, Villanova University
President Peter Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D., Villanova University
Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins
Ronnie Delaney, Villanova alumnus '58, Chapter President Ireland's
Villanova Alumni Association
Tony Ponturo, Villanova alumnus '74, Dean of Arts and Sciences's
Advisory Council Member
George Kolb, Vice President for Alumni Relations
Dr. Mary Madec, Director of the Villanova Center, National
University of Ireland, Galway

Front Row L-R:Senator Eamonn Coghlan, Villanova alumnus '76
Taoiseach Enda Kenny (Prime Minister of Ireland)
President Peter Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D., Villanova University
Back Row L-R: Harry Purcell, incoming Villanova freshman on track
and field scholarship
Teresa O'Neill, friend of Villanova University and wife of Mike O'Neill
Mike O'Neill, Vice President for Advancement, husband of Teresa O'Neill
Dr. Joseph Lennon, Director of Irish Studies, Villanova University
Tony Ponturo, Villanova alumnus '74, Dean of Arts and Sciences's
Advisory Council Member

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Graduate Certificate in Education

A new certificate program in Education is now available. This option permits students who are especially interested in teaching secondary school to take coursework from the Villanova Education Department in tandem with their English coursework. Through the certificate courses, you can develop advanced teaching techniques, learn about lesson planning, and familiarize yourself with the uses of classroom technology, as well as cultivate more specialized knowledge in a range of areas of pedagogical theory and practice.

The certificate includes three required courses and two electives, one of which can be satisfied by a graduate English course. To learn more, see the online brochure.

You can also direct questions to Dr. Edward Fierros, the Graduate Director of the Education Program, at edward.fierros@villanova.edu.

New Gender and Women's Studies Certificate for English M.A.

The graduate school just introduced an interdisciplinary, graduate-level Gender and Women's Studies certificate. This option permits you to pursue specialized graduate coursework in Gender and Women’s studies while also earning your M.A. in English. The interdisciplinary 15-credit certificate program permits you to take courses focused on topics related to gender and sexuality from a wide range of graduate programs at Villanova, including History, Communication, Theater, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Political Science, and the Law School. Two courses from your English M.A. can also be counted toward the certificate. To learn more about this program and how to apply, click here: http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/gws/academics/graduate-certificate.html.

If you have questions, you can contact Dr. Lutes at jean.lutes@villanova.edu.

English Department Outreach Event - Volunteers Needed

Interested in The Great Gatsby? Want to get some experience planning an event centered on a literary classic? The English department is hosting an event designed for first-year students, and we need students to help us.

The English Department has started doing more outreach to the undergraduates (especially freshmen) to be sure that our department and major remain visible to them now that there is no freshman English course in the core requirements for the university.

Last year we held a very successful event called "Wildcat in the Rye" in one of the freshmen dorms. The concept was to talk about a book that is taught in high school and explore how it is approached differently at the college level. A faculty member talked briefly about Salinger's novel, and then there were breakout discussions run by graduate students. Around 90 freshmen attended the event (which also included free pizza and cookies).

This year, we're going to have a similar event, "The Great Catsby"--no, that is not a typo--in which our very own Dr. Jean Lutes will be talking briefly about, you guessed it, F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, and then we'll have the breakout sessions again. We'd love to get help again this year from you, our graduate students. I've included an email below from Dr. Lutes, and we hope some of you will volunteer.

Come to a planning session with Dr. Lutes Monday Sept. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the English department lounge. Email her to let her know if you're coming -- OR if you can't make it but you want to be involved: jean.lutes@villanova.edu.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Spring Liberal Studies Graduate-Level Study Abroad Course Open to Graduate English Students

Graduate English students are welcome to enroll in this Liberal Studies graduate-level study abroad course as an elective to supplement their MA in English.

Graduate Liberal Studies presents
Currents in GreekHistory: a semester long odyssey into the Greek past and present.
Course Code LST 7201-001

In addition to selected readings for in-class discussion of Greek history and culture, students will travel to Greece for two weeks to visit ancient, Byzantine, and modern sites and to use facilities of the Harvard Hellenic Center in the beautiful city of Nafplion, first capital of Modern Greece. In addition to tuition, the approximate cost per student is $2750.

The course will be offered in the spring semester, 2015. Those interested should contact Dr. Alexander Varias at Alexander.Varias@Villanova.edu to arrange meetings and interviews in the early fall, or the Director of Graduate Liberal Studies, Dr. Marylu Hill at Marylu.hill@villanova.edu about
enrollment details.

Villanova Graduate English Student Immediately Forgets what Season It Is

At this auspicious season of the year, when Pumpkin Lattes are making their appearance in summertime, the beach and autumn overlap over Labor Day weekend, and school still seems still a bit premature, one species is even more confused about the season: the Villanova Graduate English student. So happy to be back in the library and the classroom and once again surrounded by the smell of books, this student can be sighted in carefully chosen locations with a cup of coffee in one hand and a thick book in the other. The winter hibernation begins early and he will likely remain in his cozy burrow until the snow melts.

Welcome back, everyone!

New English Department Tradition: Coffee Break This Thursday

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!