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. Also be sure to check out our Facebook page for more updates.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Upcoming Info Session for the 2018 Irish Theatre Summer Studio

We know you're all ready for Thanksgiving, but put this on your radar: there's an upcoming information session for the 2018 Irish Theatre Summer Studio!

When: Wednesday, Nov. 29th at 4:30 p.m. 
Where: SAC 300

The Summer Studio, a Villanova University summer course, invites graduate students and advanced undergraduates to Dublin to immerse themselves in Irish theatre. This unique three-credit study-abroad course examines the major works and history of the Abbey Theatre and trains students in the production of Irish Theatre. From the studio to the stage, students will develop work for a final showing at the Lir Theatre, the National Academy of Dramatic Arts

Here's some more information about the program from Dr. Lennon:

Irish Theatre Summer Studio

From the studio to the stage, students will study the workings and history of Ireland's world-class national theatre while developing their own theatre skills, knowledge, and practice. Students from Villanova will work alongside students from Irish and other universities and be taught by practitioners and professors from the U.S. and Ireland. Student work will culminate in a showing of final work at the Lir, Ireland's National Academy of Dramatic Art and guided by Abbey Theatre professionals.

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. The Lir is Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art. It is part of Trinity College Dublin and is associated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

The program is a joint enterprise between Villanova University, the Lir, the Abbey Theatre, the National University of Ireland in Galway, and University College, Dublin. It offers a select group of students from Ireland and the United States the opportunity to study with Irish Studies scholars and Irish theatre professionals. Students from any college or university may apply and receive credit through the Villanova University Office of Education Abroad, in conjunction with their home university.

Financial & Application Info

The total, non-discounted tuition is $4,200, which includes tuition, theatre tickets, housing, tours, and receptions. There are graduate school scholarships available for $2,500 per student, bringing down the total cost to $1,700 per student.

The application deadline is February 1, but students interested in applying early will be able to apply next week through the Passport site. Financial aid decisions will be made shortly after Feb. 1, 2018.

Visit the Irish Studies website for more information or email: SummerStudio@villanova.edu

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thanks For Attending the PhD Forum

Thank you to Drs. Evan Radcliffe, Brooke Hunter, and Yumi Lee for hosting our PhD forum last evening!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Call for Papers: "Formations," UMD English Graduate Conference

The Graduate English Organization at the University of Maryland, College Park invites MA, Ph.D., and MFA students to submit an abstract for UMD's 11th Annual English Graduate Conference. This year's conference is titled "Formations: Intersections of Form Across the Literary, Social, and Political" and will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Visit our full posting on the Conferences Page for all the information!

As always, remember that if you decide to submit proposals to any conferences, be sure to consider applying for funding. See the Graduate Studies Office’s webpage on Conference Travel Funding. And remember that you have to apply for the funding before you attend the conference. (In recent years, the funding has tended to run out early in the spring semester.)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Come out for a reading by Alan Drew!

Shadow Man, Drew's second novel, follows Detective Ben Wade who has returned to his hometown of Rancho Santa Elena in search of a quieter life and to try to save his marriage. Suddenly the community, with its peaceful streets and excellent public schools, finds itself at the mercy of a serial killer who slips through windows and screen doors at night, shattering illusions of safety. As Ben and forensic specialist Natasha Betencourt struggle to stay one step ahead of the killer—and deal with painful episodes in the past—Ben’s own world is rocked again by violence. He must decide how far he is willing to go, and Natasha how much she is willing to risk, to protect their friendship and themselves to rescue the town from a psychotic murderer and a long-buried secret.

With fine, chilling prose, acclaimed author Alan Drew weaves richly imagined characters into the first of several thrilling novels of suspense featuring the California world of Ben Wade and Natasha Betencourt. Shadow Man reveals the treacherous underbelly of suburban life, as a man, a woman, a family, and a community are confronted with the heart of human darkness. (Penguin Random House)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Call for Papers: Nexus 2018 Interdisciplinary Conference

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, welcomes proposals for presentations at Nexus 2018, our 8th biennial interdisciplinary conference, related to the theme of Agency and Artificiality: Assembling Humanity in the 21st Century. The conference dates will be March 1 - March 3, and submissions are open to faculty and graduate students.  Visit the full posting on our Conferences page for all the info!

As always, remember that if you decide to submit proposals to any conferences, be sure to consider applying for funding. See the Graduate Studies Office’s webpage on Conference Travel Funding. And remember that you have to apply for the funding before you attend the conference. (In recent years, the funding has tended to run out early in the spring semester.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Call for Papers:“Reformatting the World: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Technology and the Humanities”

Call for Papers:“Reformatting the World: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Technology and the Humanities” at York University. Conference info: YorkU Humanities Graduate Conference, February 23-24, 2018. Visit the full posting on our Conferences page for all the details.

As always, remember that if you decide to submit proposals to any conferences, be sure to consider applying for funding. See the Graduate Studies Office’s webpage on Conference Travel Funding. And remember that you have to apply for the funding before you attend the conference. (In recent years, the funding has tended to run out early in the spring semester.)

Dr. Jim Murphy Receives an Honorary Doctorate

Dr. Jim Murphy, emeritus Professor of English, received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland, Galway, on Oct. 18, “for his dedication in bringing an inter-disciplinary focus to the study of the history and culture of both Ireland and Irish-America.”
Jim Murphy surprise party
Visit the link below to watch the video!

Jim Murphy and Megan Quigley

“The award recognises Professor Murphy's lifetime dedication to celebrating Irish culture, developing transatlantic links, and promoting the transformative effect of studying abroad.”

Visit the university's Twitter post to see some of Dr. Murphy's advice for students starting college.

Upcoming PhD Forum - November 8th

Attention grad students! Our annual PhD forum will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 pm, in SAC 300. Drs. Evan Radcliffe, Yumi Lee, and Brooke Hunter will talk about various aspects of whether to pursue a PhD, how (and where) to apply, what PhD study is like, and the state of the academic job market. We'll also hear some insights from Ted Howell, a 2010 graduate of our program who finished his PhD at Temple in May and is now a full time Lecturer at Rowan University.

See you then!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Spooky Rosenbach Visit: Halloween Edition

Beware! Students from Professor Megan Quigley’s 1975 class and the English Expedition Club hit the Rosenbach Museum and Library on Saturday Oct. 22nd to take in the Frankenstein & Dracula exhibit and for a hands-on tour of Dracula materials with curator Ed Pettit. 

Did you know that Bram Stoker originally intended to call Dracula just Count Vampyre?  And that plenty believed, at the time, that vampires roamed the earth? Let’s hope they were wrong…

Monday, October 23, 2017

Summer Research Fellowship

The competition for Graduate Summer Research Fellowships is now open. The deadline for applications is January 20, 2018 (regardless of which day of the week it falls on).

For details regarding eligibility requirements, criteria, how to apply, deadline for proposals and review process, faculty evaluation of the project, and award recipients, please visit the “Graduate Summer Research Fellowship” webpage found hereImportant note: please read the webpage in its entirety since the application process has changed.
Villanova University students cannot receive support to conduct research in countries under a Travel Warning from the U.S. Department of State.  In the event that a country is placed on a travel warning after funding has been awarded, students must communicate with the Office of Graduate Studies to cancel travel arrangements and return any funds that have been awarded.

If you have a scholarly project for which you would like summer support, please discuss this with a faculty member in the English department who will be willing to formally sponsor your effort.

Dean Rader's Poetry Reading

Last Thursday, October 19th, poet Dean Rader visited us to read from his recently-published collection, Self-Portrait as a Wikipedia Entry (Copper Canyon, 2017).

Dean Rader’s debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize, and Landscape Portrait Figure Form (2014) was named by The Barnes & Noble Review as a Best Poetry Book of the year. He has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2016 Common Good Books Prize, judged by Garrison Keillor, and the 2015 George Bogin Award from the Poetry Society of America, judged by Stephen Burt. His most recent scholarly book is Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI (2011). 

Rader teaches English at the University of San Francisco, where he has also served as Department Chair. He writes and reviews regularly for The San Francisco Chronicle, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and The Huffington Post. Two new collections of poetry appeared in 2017: A book of collaborative sonnets, written with Simone Muench, entitled Suture (Black Lawrence Press) and Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry, about which Publisher’s Weekly writes, “few poets capture the contradictions of our national life with as much sensitivity or keenness.”

Read Rader's new poem, History, at Kenyon Review Online.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Spring 2018 Liberal Studies Course Offerings

The Tragic Sense of Life: Survey of Greek Tragedy
LST 7100 (Foundation/Ancient)
Dr. Brian Satterfield
R 5:20-7:20

Greek Tragedy originated as a genre in a religious festival for Dionysus some 2500 years, but has transcended its particular circumstances and become synonymous with a view of life. In “The Tragic Sense of Life: Survey of Greek Tragedy” we will read major works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, as well as authors who have attempted to work out a theory of tragedy, including Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, and Nietzsche, with a view to better understanding the characteristics of Greek tragedy and the tragic sense of life it engendered. 

Paris, City of Order and Anarchy
LST 7203
Dr Alex Varias
T 5:20-7:20

This course focuses on the history and cultural transformation of Paris since the French Revolution. The perspective will be on Paris as a city hovering between the fixation on order and the forces creating volatility and chaos. Creativity and art emerged from both aspects of the metropolis which was caught between tradition and the modern. Among the subjects included in our scrutiny are: Paris in revolutionary times; the rebuilding of the city; Impressionism and the Eiffel Tower as emblems of modernism; literary and philosophical change; the city’s experience during the two World Wars; and the challenges and visions of hope since. Requirements include oral reports, a book review and a research paper. There are no exams.

The Challenge of Peace: Modern American Perspectives
LST 7302 (Peace and Justice Studies)
M 5:20-7:20
Dr. Guy Aiken

This course will trace various antiwar, pacifist, and nonviolent movements and philosophies in the United States from what is often called the birth of the American Empire in the Spanish-American War to its haggard middle age in the present. What challenges have the partisans of peace offered American imperialism and militarism over the past 120 years? What challenges have American pacifists, antiwar advocates, and nonviolent activists faced as they defy the organized violence of the state? To answer these questions and more, our primary readings might include speeches, essays, and books by Mark Twain, William James, Jane Addams, Reinhold Niebuhr, A. J. Muste, Dorothy Day, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Martin Luther King Jr., among others, as well as various memoirs by young men imprisoned throughout the twentieth century for draft resistance and conscientious objection. Our secondary readings might include Stephen Kinzer's The True Flag (on Twain and Teddy Roosevelt), Michael Kazin's War Against War (on resistance to the Great War), Lynne Olson's Those Angry Days (on FDR and the isolationist Charles Lindbergh), Kip Kosek's Acts of Conscience (on Christian nonviolence), and Guenter Lewy's Peace and Revolution (on American pacifism during the Vietnam War). Finally, Chris Hedges's War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning will frame the course with its unflinching account of the perennial attractions of war, reminding us that the greatest challenge of peace might be overcoming our instinctual fascination with violence.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Spring 2018 Course List Now Available!

Check out our upcoming courses (descriptions on the grad English program website), ranging from topics in science fiction, civil war literature, epistolary writing, and much more.

Dr. Kevin Dettmar's Joyce Lecture

On Tuesday, the Villanova English community was treated to a fantastic lecture on Joyce's correspondences from guest speaker Dr. Kevin Dettmar. Dettmar discussed the profuse use of correspondences throughout Joyce's fiction, the mode of the correspondences Joyce himself wrote during his lifetime, and, in particular, the illuminating importance of the letters exchanged between Joyce and Grant Richards, his publisher.  Dettmar also discussed his in-progress project: the gathering, transcription, and publication of a massive collection of Joyce's previously unpublished letters. Thank you to Drs. Megan Quigley and Kamran Javadizadeh for organizing!

English Colloquium faculty and guest speaker Dr. Kevin Dettmar / Prof. Megan Quigley / Prof. Kevin Dettmar (Pomona) / Prof. Mary Mullen / Alex Brodin / Prof. Kamran Javadizadeh / Prof. Paul Saint-Amour (Penn) / Christie Leonard (behind camera)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Very Own Stephen Reaugh in Villanova's Production of Godspell

By Angela Christaldi

Stephen Reaugh, a second-year graduate student studying English literature, didn’t plan on pursuing the theatre, especially in grad school. However, a few months in Ireland changed his mind.

While studying English as an undergraduate at Allegheny College, Reaugh spent “almost all [his] time” in the theatre department, performing in shows like Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” He hadn’t walked through the doors of Vasey Theatre, though, until he was persuaded by his fellow Abbey Theatre Summer Studio students.

“I hadn’t done a lot of theatre [since undergrad] until this past summer,” Reaugh said. “I did the Abbey Summer Studio. There were some theatre students, who were also part of the class, and as part of the Summer Studio, at the end of your time in Dublin you put on a devised show at the Abbey Theatre at the Peacock Stage…After two weeks, I kept thinking, ‘I forgot how much I love this.’”

The show that Reaugh and his peers devised was called “I’m All Wounds.” He describes it as “a series of brief scenes, interacting with the Irish theatre we had read up to that point. We were making fun of it sometimes, and paying respect to it other times.”

After realizing how much he’d missed being on the stage, Reaugh started to think about auditioning for this fall’s show at the Villanova Theatre: “Godspell.” He got a little push from the theatre students he befriended in Dublin, saying he was “lovingly coerced” into auditioning. He wouldn’t change a thing.

“We had so much fun rehearsing [Godspell]. It’s the most banal thing to say, but we actually enjoyed it,” Reaugh said. “That doesn’t often happen in shows--we had so much fun. We just played. ‘Godspell’ is all about playing, trying to reckon with this crazy narrative of Jesus’ life. They do this primarily through clowning through it. We took that and sort of ran with it.”

Reaugh performed in the ensemble, portraying the character of Herb, who he describes as a class clown type.

“He has one moment where he gets serious and he sings this beautiful little solo,” Reaugh said. “I had a lot of fun doing it. It came at a point in my life where I really needed it…It’s been light and really fun.”

While “Godspell” is known for its revolutionary nature, Villanova Theatre took it even further, choosing to do a gender-blind casting. For those unfamiliar, that means that the directors chose whoever was best for the roles, regardless of if their gender corresponds with the character’s written gender. At Villanova, this choice led to the two main characters, Jesus and Judas, being played by women.

Reaugh said that the company’s choice to do a gender-blind cast was “particularly useful,” especially in our current political climate, and mentioned that Villanova Theatre has a history of pushing boundaries.

“Villanova Theatre isn’t afraid to shake boundaries, and they’re definitely aware of when they do it…This show, in particular, was a good choice because it showed how important it is to hear voices that don’t often get heard,” Reaugh said.