English at UGA
The English Department at the University of Georgia is a diverse scholarly community of more than 40 faculty, 100 graduate students, and more than 600 undergraduate majors and minors held together by a common commitment to preserving, transmitting, and extending the rich cultural legacy of the English language. At the core of our discipline lie the complex skills of reading and writing, and though these can be productively applied to a wide range of professional goals our own work as scholars and teachers strives to deepen our understanding of the critical and creative imagination. A sympathetic participation in the verbal worlds of other times and places, drawing on the full range of linguistic tools, historical knowledge, and interpretive experience at our disposal, allows our students to enhance their appreciation for expressive possibility. The diversity of the faculty's interests and research methods helps ensure that an English major at the University of Georgia develops a sophisticated, practical grasp of the central role that language plays in the preservation of human institutions.
ENGL 4290: Medieval Manuscripts
Cynthia Turner Camp, Maymester 2015, M-F 12:30
Medieval books – handmade, unique, messy, beautiful -- were nothing like the mass-produced printed books you have on your shelf. Reading medieval literature in its original manuscript context is a multi-modal process more exciting than reading medieval poetry in a printed student edition, and this class will get you the tools you need to understand, appreciate, and even recreate medieval manuscripts. This will be a hands-on Maymester course, so expect sessions held in in the Rare Books library, collaborative activities inside and outside the classroom, the chance to make your own “manuscripts” (not just to read/write about them), and the opportunity to think about how the visual arts and literature are embedded in the material world.
Students from other majors are encouraged to sign up - please contact Dr Camp (email@example.com) for information.
ENGL4340: RENAISSANCE DRAMA
Fall 2015, Prof. Miriam Jacobson
Poisoned skulls, Incestuous marriages, wax corpses, cross-dressed lesbian lovers, Turkish pirates, topsy-turvy universes: the world of Renaissance Drama does not belong to Shakespeare alone. In many cases, plays by his contemporaries and successors Ben Jonson, John Lyly, Thomas Middleton, John Webster and John Ford had crazier plots, more biting satire, and certainly reached more heights of dramatic violence, humor, ridiculousness and all-out chaos on stage. In this course we will read eight plays from a collection of playwrights, supplementing our reading with some history of Renaissance stagecraft and materials of performance, filmed performances of plays, and our own interpretations. We’ll spend the most time on Revenge Tragedy, but also explore the genres of City Comedy, Court Comedy, Masque, and Pirate or Adventure Plays. Throughout, we’ll examine the big questions these plays raise about the social order, gender, religion, race, and the power of performance.
ENGL 4685: Postcolonial Satire
Humor, Laughter, and its Consequences in Postcolonial Literature
Esra Mirze Santesso, Fall 2015, T/R at 11:00-12:15
This course will study postcolonial satire as a genre that complicates politics of representation by using humor to comment on the plight of previously-colonized nations. Looking at literature written in India, Pakistan, the Caribbean, and Africa, we will trace the way postcolonial writing employs satiric devices such as ironic attack and parody (mimicking familiar forms only to undermine them). Our reading list will tentatively include Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger, Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, V.S Naipaul’s The Suffrage of Elvira, Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah, and Christopher Hope’s A Separate Development.
English 4590, Anthologies
Fall 2015, Dr. Casie LeGette
Anthologies play a crucial role in shaping literary history; they decide “what counts,” what should be read, what kinds of things should be read, what genres and authors matter, and which ones don’t. In this course, we will approach the topics of 19th-century poetry and anthologies from a number of different angles. We will consider the ways the Victorians anthologized both Romantic-era poetry and Victorian-era poetry, by examining a number of 19th-century anthologies, including all those pictured above. We will also think about the way 19th-century poetry was anthologized in the 20th century, during the rise of New Criticism, as well as the way 19th-century poetry appears in our own contemporary classroom anthologies. Anthologies have a profound effect on how we study literature; in this class we’ll think carefully and deeply about how our understanding of 19th-century poetry—and of literature more broadly—has been shaped by anthologies.
English in Cortona, Italy
Offered Spring Semester
These active, writing-intensive courses are designed to complement the arts elements of the Cortona Program. The program invites applications from juniors and seniors, as well as from sophomores with solid credentials.
Taught by Dr. Tricia Lootens
Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at UGA
English 3050, Introduction to Poetry: Ink, Paper, Thread
Fall 2015, Dr. Miriam Jacobson
What constitutes a poem? How is a poem like a machine? What is the relationship between a poem and the various material forms it takes? How is poetry a vehicle for critiquing, analyzing, and changing culture?
This course examines poetry written in English in all its forms, through a variety of historical periods, paying particular attention to the relationship poetry has to its tangible, material shape (faded brown pen ink on rag paper; gold and lapis on vellum; cut strips of paper; embroidery on a sampler; scribblings on a hatbox). Although the syllabus is organized chronologically, you will soon discover that many historical periods challenge traditional forms and invent new ones. Over the semester, we will read our way through the Norton Anthology of Poetry while making every attempt to hold, touch, and taste poetry, learning not only about specific poetic styles, forms, elements and diction, but how to interpret a poem, to imagine the impetus behind it, to connect it to its cultural milieu, and to think of it three dimensionally, as an object. Our assignments emphasize the inter-connectedness of reading, writing, and thinking.
ENGL4790, Richard Wright and Eudora Welty
Fall 2015, Professor John Lowe, TuTh 3:30-4:45
Mississippi, despite its poverty, has produced one of the richest literary traditions of any state. Two of their greatest writers are Natchez Native Son Richard Wright, and Jackson’s celebrated Eudora Welty. Wright wrote of the torments suffered by his fellow African Americans during the days of segregation, but he also included enduring portraits of white Southerners. Welty was especially attentive to the domestic lives of white women, but also attended to the struggles of the rural poor (white and black); she wrote historical fiction but had keen insights into the South’s entry into modernist society. Often she composed in a comic key; Wright, however favored tragedy. This course will compare and contrast their work, linking their autobiographies, their folk narratives, their tales of racial conflict, and their complex considerations of masculinity and femininity, respectively. We will attend to their differing approaches to the short story and novel, and also consider their forays into non-fiction.
Requirements: frequent reading quizzes, two papers (one involving research), midterm and final examinations.
ENGL 4888 - Digital Preservation
Sara Steger, Fall 2015
This course focuses on how thinking about texts as data changes, enhances, and complicates humanistic enquiry. Students will work on a series of projects designed to give them hands-on and in-depth experience with electronic text creation, markup, and preservation practices. During the semester, we will create digital archives of rare manuscripts, we will create maps that explore literature, and we will contribute to a project dedicated to collecting uniquely marked-up copies of books in the library stacks. In addition to practical skills and work on projects, we will also spend some time reading about debates in digital humanities, including how the field continues to define and redefine itself.
ENGL 4888 fulfills one of the requirements for the undergraduate certificate in Digital Humanities (DIGI).
English 4490E/6490E, Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century
Summer 2015, Dr. Elizabeth Kraft
The eighteenth century witnessed the beginning of formal Shakespeare scholarship and criticism. Important (and controversial) editions were produced (by Rowe, Warburton, Pope, and Johnson), and critical assessments were established (by Dryden, Johnson, Lennox and others) Shakespeare’s plays were produced on the Restoration and eighteenth-century stages (some rewritten in interesting ways); actors and actresses (David Garrick, Charles Macklin, Sarah Siddons) became famous for their performances of particular Shakespeare roles. The century also witnessed the beginning of Shakespeare tourism in the Jubilee staged in Stratford in 1769.
This course will take advantage of the online format in exploring each of these categories.
English 4890, Woolf and Webb: Austen, the Brontes and Modernism
Fall 2015, Dr. Roxanne Eberle
In "Woolf and Webb: Austen, the Brontes and Modernism" we'll explore the responses of two modernist women writers to their shared literary history. We'll begin by reading the novels of Jane Austen and the Brontes before going on to the modernist period and the responses of Virginia Woolf and Mary Webb to their forerunners. In an essay on Jane Austen, Woolf declared her to be "the most perfect artist among women," and drew upon Austen's experiments with narrative voice in her novels. Webb, now far less well known than Woolf, also drew upon the archive of nineteenth-century authors when writing her historical novel of the Napoleonic period Precious Bane (1924). On the allure of the past, Webb wrote: "The past is only the present become invisible and mute; and because it is invisible and mute, its memoried glances and its murmurs are infinitely precious. We are tomorrow's past." Taking Webb's words as our prompt, we'll conclude the semester by reading Jo Baker's Longbourn (2011), a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice that recreates the memoried past in our own present.
Borrowers and Lenders
Borrowers and Lenders, winner of the CELJ Best New Journal Award in 2007, is a peer-reviewed, online, multimedia Shakespeare journal (http://www.borrowers.uga.edu). The journal is indexed in the MLA Bibliography, World Shakespeare Bibliography, and other databases.
General Editors: Christy Desmet and Sujata Iyengar, University of Georgia
Associate Editor: Robert Sawyer, East Tennessee State University
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There are many changes in the Department of English, and dramatic changes in Park Hall as well.
First, new faces: When Mike Moran retired in June, I became head of the department—not a new face, really, since I arrived at UGA as the Helen S. Lanier Distinguished Professor in 2001. I’m delighted to welcome the department’s first associate chair, Esra Santesso, who barely had time to savor her promotion to associate professor before
being plunged into tackling her new administrative duties. Esra is a native of Turkey and a scholar of postcolonial literature. Finally, Richard Menke succeeded Aidan Wasley as undergraduate coordinator. Richard teaches Victorian literature, with a special focus on the modern communications technologies that arose during the nineteenth century and continue to serve as the broad backdrop of all communications today, literary and otherwise. Accompanying Mike Moran into retirement this year was linguistics professor Don McCreary, whose Dawgspeak provided a savvy summation of this institution’s unique contribution to the English language.
Now, the new place: This summer the original wing of Park Hall was a hardhat zone, swarming with construction workers, engineers, and electricians laboring under a deadline to complete renovations before classes resumed in August. They met the deadline, leaving staff and cleaning crews one long weekend to transform a worksite into some semblance of Park Hall as generations had come to know it. The gains are immediately apparent. Thanks to university-wide green initiatives in infrastructure, we now have motion-sensitive lights in all the classrooms and offices (in the “old” wing), as well as a completely new cooling/heating system. Gone are the days of opening windows in winter to cool off an overheated classroom, and wearing a parka to class in fall term to compensate for the arctic blast from an ancient AC system. (Gone, too, are the days before air conditioning, when faculty competed for 8 a.m. teaching slots in the basement to avoid the standing temperature of 115 degrees on the second floor. This astonishing historical anecdote comes from Mary Hutcherson, an alumna whose generous gift to the department is profiled below.) Please stop by the newly renovated Park Hall if you’re on campus. It’s an iconic landmark of UGA with newly tweaked innards and a configuration of offices that offers, among other bonuses, an undergraduate lounge.
It’s my pleasure now to turn to another topic, one as consequential as Park Hall itself. It is thanks to the vision and generosity of donors that the Department of English encompasses such a wide range of dedicated teachers, sterling scholars, and inspiring students. I want to briefly profile a few of the endowments that continue to contribute so much to Park Hall.
The Martha Munn Bedingfield Teaching Award, established by English alum Laura Bedingfield Herakovich in honor of her grandmother, was presented to Dr. Barbara McCaskill last spring. The award gave her a vital opportunity to conduct archival research for her latest book. The Bedingfield award, writes Barbara, “is special to me because it recognizes the value of my teaching from my colleagues, whose own excellence in the classroom I have sought to emulate over the years.” Previous recipients of the award are Susan Rosenbaum and Roxanne Eberle.
The Jane McMullan Academic Support Fund was established in 2006 by John and Marilyn McMullan in loving memory of sister Jane (AB ’53; MA ’58); Jane joined the staff of Georgia Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr., who appointed her to the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This endowment has provided critical support to the professional development of both undergraduate and graduate students, including conference travel and funding for innovative projects benefiting the department at large.
I also want to express gratitude for two new funds that greatly enhance our ability to attract, recruit, and support talented, ambitious English students.
In spring of 2014, the Alice C. Langdale Graduate Award in English was established. Alice received her bachelor’s degree in English in 1940. She and her husband, Dr. Noah N. Langdale, Jr. were lifelong champions of higher education in their roles as the first lady and president, respectively, of Georgia State University from 1957 to 1988. An apt tribute named for a remarkable student and campus leader, the Alice C. Langdale award will recognize outstanding graduate students in the department of English.
In December of 2013, Mary Denmark Hutcherson (AB ’52 magna cum laude) established the H. Grady Hutcherson Memorial Georgia Access Scholarship in English. One of the largest endowments to the department, this need-based scholarship opens the door to education at UGA. It also honors Mary’s late husband Grady (BSED ’49, MA ’51) who served the English Department for decades as a dedicated teacher and undergraduate advisor.
The Langdale and the Hutcherson awards will be presented for the first time in 2015, and I look forward to sharing news of the inaugural recipients in the next newsletter. The generous loyalty of alumni like these and other benefactors is essential to the continued excellence of our department and the caliber of our students. We all benefit — teachers and students alike — from such magnanimity. To those of you who are not yet benefactors, let me inspire you in closing with these lines from William Butler Yeats:
Look up in the sun’s eye and give
What the exultant heart calls good
That some new day may breed the best
Because you gave ...
… the right twigs for an eagle’s nest!
From assorted twigs to a whole trunk, please consider the greater good that a culture of giving can attain. Please come see me in Park 134: I would be glad to welcome anyone who cherishes memories of this “eagle’s nest.”
- Jed Rasula
For more, please read the latest version of the Park Hall Monitor, the department's newsletter.
This year's Walden Woods "Live Deliberately Essay Contest" was won by UGA English major Laura Georgia.
“Many an object is not seen, though it falls within the range of our visual ray, because it does not come within the range of our intellectual ray, i.e., we are not looking for it. So, in the largest sense, we find only the world we look for.” –Henry David Thoreau, Journal, Vol. IX, July 2 1857
The prompt for the contest was "In 750 words or fewer, using your understanding of the quote and the narrative of the image as creative inspiration, discuss and expand on their meaning while integrating your own experiences and observations of the world."
Hilary Hilgers, who is graduating with an English degree in May, has poured her heart and soul into everything she’s done during her time here and says UGA will have an impact on her for life. She was recently featured as one of UGA's "Amazing Students."
Hilary writes, "in the past four years this university has taught me so much, has served me so well, and has given me the possibility to inquire into any passions and dreams that I have desired to explore. I am forever thankful for the truly incredible experience I have had at UGA - I may only spend four years on this campus, but this place will continue to impact me for a lifetime."Tweets by @UGAEnglish