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Park Hall Monitor: Summer 2014

Park Hall Monitor: Summer 2014

As usual, the English department has been productive this year.

For the past few years, Assistant Professor Miriam Jacobson has organized a major seminar for faculty and graduate students on the “History of the Book”. Run with the support of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, this seminar examines books as material objects. In the fall of 2013, she taught a graduate class related to this seminar in which her graduate students curated projects at the Hargrett Library, emphasizing Renaissance books that served useful roles in their cultural milieus. Called “Books in Action: What Books Allow Us to Do”, the student exhibits were installed in the rotunda of the Russell Special Collections Library.

Another scholar in the department who made an important contribution to the Hargrett is Dr. Elizabeth Kraft. She has been editing the novels of Samuel Richardson, one of the early novelists of eighteenth-century England, for the prestigious Cambridge University Press’s Complete Works of Samuel Richardson. This work required her to examine all editions of the novels, including editions of Sir Charles Grandison, Richardson’s famous attempt to produce a novel exploring the nature of male virtue. Professor Kraft found a rare copy of the third edition of this work online, and she needed to examine the book to determine what changes had been made from the previous edition. The department was able to purchase the novel and, when Professor Kraft had completed her analysis, to donate it to the Hargrett to make it available to all future students and scholars of Richardson’s work.

Associate Professor Charles Doyle has spent a professional lifetime studying the intersections among the areas of linguistics, folklore, and literature – what is known as philology, one of the earliest professional areas of study in English. His work has recently led to the publication of the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs (Yale University Press), which collects proverbs coined from 1900 to the present. Professor Doyle’s work often tracks down the origins of contemporary proverbs, tracing them back to previous centuries and unexpected groups of writers.

This will be my last introduction to the newsletter. I am stepping down as head and retiring from UGA. The newsletter, which we revived in 2011, has, I hope, found in you an interested audience in the goings on at Park Hall. Many thanks go to the first editors Drs. Chloe Wigston Smith and Barbara McCaskill, both of whom stepped down this year, and to Drs. Esra Santesso and Cynthia Turner Camp, who have taken over the editorial duties. Thanks, too, to Carmen Comeaux for her proofreading skills.

Please, keep in touch! In addition to the event listings on the department's webpage, you can now follow the English department on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep tabs on departmental kudos and items of literary interest. If you find yourself in Athens, we would be pleased to see you at the lively lectures, readings, discussions, and symposia that our faculty organizes each semester.


Michael G. Moran, Head

For more, please read the latest version of the Park Hall Monitor, the department's newsletter.


The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its first MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages to LeAnne Howe, of the University of Georgia, for her book Choctalking on Other Realities, published by Aunt Lute Books. The prize is awarded for an outstanding scholarly study of Native American literatures, cultures, or languages, written by a member of the association.  

Download a PDF of the full press release.

Barbarous Antiquity: Reorienting the Past in the Poetry of Early Modern England
Barbarous Antiquity: Reorienting the Past in the Poetry of Early Modern England

New book by Assistant Professor of English, Miriam Jacobson.

Miriam Jacobson’s book Barbarous Antiquity: Reorienting the Past in the Poetry of Early Modern England has just been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press this Fall, 2014. The book  explores the role of poetry in negotiating and transposing England’s newly established mercantile relationship with the East, and its vexed relationship to the classical past. It is the first full length scholarly book to examine the engagement of Renaissance English poetry (as opposed to drama and prose) with the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia, and the Middle East, and it does this by focusing on the roles Eastern imported objects and ideas—sugar, zero, Arabian horses, Turkish bulbs, oriental pearls, dyes, and ink—play in poetry by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser, and their contemporaries. Central to Jacobson’s argument is the transformative power of newly minted English words to describe these imported things, words that instigate change within the cultural and poetic landscape of early modern England.