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Department News & Events

Shakespeare and Politics website launched, featuring Professor Paul Cantor
Sunday, September 7, 2014

Professor Paul Cantor explains what Shakespeare can teach us about politics on a new website in the Great Thinkers series. The centerpiece of this website is a set of 25 lectures given by Cantor on Shakespeare and politics, covering eight of Shakespeare's plays. Check out the website, facebook page, and twitter feed!

Emeritus Professor E. D. Hirsch in Politico
Sunday, September 7, 2014

UVa Emeritus Professor of English E. D. Hirsh, writes Politico, can be credited with the foundation of the Common Core teaching standards, currently adopted in 43 out of 50 American states. Developed in 2009 by the National Governors Association to better prepare students for the demands of college and the workplace, the Common Core spells out learning goals for grades K-12. According to David Coleman, who is often called the “architect” of the Common Core, Hirsch’s research showing the fundamental connection between knowledge and literacy “is absolutely foundational.”

Read the Politico article here.

Author James Salter to take up Writer in Residence position
Sunday, September 7, 2014

This fall, American author James Salter will teach and lecture for the semester as the University of Virginia’s Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer in Residence. The residency, which begins with Salter’s visit, exists to create an open, unconstrained conversation between students and a literary master. Salter takes up a position first held by William Faulkner, who came to the College to consult, speak, reflect and write for the spring semesters of 1957 and 1958 - advising the library staff on American literature and working on his novel The Mansion. “With Faulkner, it was this notion of a significant person of letters coming and spending time, with maximum engagement with students. I picture a similar tone with Salter,” says Chris Tilghman, director of the Creative Writing Program. Along with other English department faculty, Tilghman has envisioned a program that’s purposeful in not prescribing specific topics or a particular approach, allowing Salter and future distinguished guests the freedom to reflect upon their art and experience. Salter, too, is keen on the idea of exploration. “I’m excited, really, about discovering [the writer-in-residence experience]. I expect interesting students,” he says.

Read the full article on Salter and the residency here.

PhD candidate Andrew Ferguson quoted as literary expert in The Guardian
Thursday, August 14, 2014

PhD candidate Andrew Ferguson was quoted in The Guardian speaking about the works of science-fiction author RA Lafferty. The article credits Ferguson, alongside fellow enthusiast Neil Gaiman, for rekindling interest in Lafferty, described in the article as "the most important science-fiction writer you've never heard of." Ferguson is currently writing a biography of the author for the University of Illinois Modern Masters of Science Fiction series and will chair a panel on Lafferty on 14 August at Loncon, the World Science Fiction Convention, being held at London's Docklands.

Read the full article here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/aug/13/ra-lafferty-secre...

English PhD Audrey Golden wins third place in National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest
Sunday, August 10, 2014

Audrey Golden, a recent PhD and lecturer in the English Department, has been named third prize winner in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. Contestants include the winners of three dozen book collecting contests held at colleges and universities across the country. Her entry, “Pablo Neruda and the Global Politics of Poetry,” had won first place in the 50th Student Book Collecting Contest sponsored by the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia last spring.

The press release from the Bibliographical Society of UVA explains further:

Golden will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Library of Congress on October 17. Her prize includes $500 and a $250 gift to the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. The national contest is sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), the Center for the Book, and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division (the Library of Congress), with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation.

As Golden explained in her contest essay, Neruda’s “writings traverse borders of time and space, speaking to ideas of freedom, resistance, and the power of written speech in the face of tyranny.” Golden compiled her collection in her travels on five different continents, visiting each of Neruda’s three homes in Chile, and trolling bookstores from Buenos Aires to Prague and Moscow to Australia. The result is a very extensive collection of Neruda’s works published in seventeen different countries. As Golden describes it, “the assemblage is as diverse as the regions it represents--some books are miniatures with intricate engraved text, while others are too large for traditional bookshelves. Paper covers and inserts reflect the unique colored inks of Argentinian and Chilean presses, the woodblock printings of German and Israeli artists, and the hand-sewn care of bookbinders in Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia.” Her interest in Neruda, who “[emphasizes] the deep connections between imaginative literature and resistance,” is fueled by her academic work in international law and contemporary world literature. She looks forward to expanding the collection “to reflect Neruda’s import across the globe.”