This Week in English | March 25 – 31, 2019

Elizabeth Neiman Presents Research on Minerva Press Wednesday at 2pm

Elizabeth Neiman’s monograph on Minerva’s Gothics: The Politics and Poetics of Romantic Exchange, 1780-1820 was published in March. This Wednesday afternoon, she’ll talk about “How ‘Anxiety’ becomes an ‘Exchange’: Minerva and the many writers of Romanticism.” Here’s a preview of her presentation:

Between 1790 and 1820, William Lane’s London printing press, Minerva, published an unprecedented number of novels by obscure female authors. Because Minerva novels catered to the day’s fashion for sentimental themes and Gothic romance, they were and still are generally dismissed as formulaic ephemera. This presentation will focus on the questions and research methods that ultimately led me to rethink the Press’s position in literary history and that inform my first book, Minerva’s Gothics: The Politics and Poetics of Romantic Exchange, 1780-1820 (March 2019, University of Wales Press). Reading Minerva novels for their shared popular conventions demonstrates that circulating- library novelists collectively recirculate, engage, and modify commonplaces about women’s nature, the social order, and most importantly, the very Romantic redefinitions of authorship and literature that render their novels not worth reading. I begin with the earlier scholarship that sparked my interest in Minerva’s “imitative” novels and conclude by reflecting on how these novels are now influencing my new research on Romantic-era life writing.

The Faculty Research and Scholarship Presentation Series, which Neiman coordinates, is intended to advance conversation and community among students and faculty. This Wednesday’s event will be at 2pm in the Writing Center. Refreshments will be provided courtesy of  the Lloyd H. Elliott Fund.


The Maine Council for English Language Arts (MCELA) held its annual conference at beautiful Point Lookout in Northport last Thursday and Friday. As part of the proceedings, Master’s candidates Kaitlyn Hanson and Victoria Hood led a workshop on “Bridging the Gap Between Secondary and Post-Secondary Education.” Here’s their description:

This workshop will address the differences and similarities between high school and college writing and how the transition can be made more smoothly for students. Examining high school standards, the WPA outcome statement, and the University of Maine’s outcome statement, we will analyze what is expected at the end of high school and what is expected at the beginning of college. Presenters will focus on aspects of writing such as the five paragraph essay, the view of grammatical and syntactical error and how instructors approach writing assignments.This workshop will acknowledge how this gap was created between both secondary and  post-secondary schools and brainstorm how both sides can work to bridge this gap

The conference keynote address was given by young adult literature author Gillian French, who earned her BA in English here at UMaine. Her bio reads:

Gillian French’s debut novel, Grit, was an Indie Next List pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and ALA Booklist, was an Edgar Award Finalist, and received both a 2018 Lupine Award from the Maine Library Association and a 2018 Maine Literary Award from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance.

Her other novels include The Door to January, The Lies they Tell, and The Missing Season (forthcoming this spring). She is a member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. Currently, she still lives in her native state of Maine with her husband and sons, where she’s perpetually at work on her next novel.

Ophelia Author Lisa Klein on Campus April 12-13, 2019  

Stephen E. King Professor Caroline Bicks asks that you mark your calendars for this semester’s final series of King Chair Speaker events:

Friday, April 12  5:00pm-6:00pm. Neville Hall 101

Lecture: “Hamlet’s Girlfriend Gets a Life”  (free and open to all)

Lisa Klein, author of the young adult novel Ophelia, discusses her reinterpretation of Hamlet as a tale told from Ophelia’s point of view. Klein will talk about the process of transforming the heroine from Shakespeare’s stage to her page, and now to the screen in the forthcoming major movie picture based on her novel starring Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, and Clive Owen. In giving this character a new voice, Klein invites us to consider how we retell great stories to make them meaningful for our time.

Saturday, April 13th, 9:30am-12:00pm. Foster Innovation Center

Writing Workshop: Crafting the YA Novel. (Free. Requires pre-registration.)

“I have an idea for a novel but how do I even start writing?” In this 2 1/2-hour workshop, Klein will introduce you to the planning process and the use of character and conflict to generate plot. The emphasis will be on the young adult novel, but the principles apply to adult fiction as well.  Space is limited. If interested, contact the Stephen E. King Chair, Caroline Bicks.

Upcoming Events

Fall 2019 enrollment opens for seniors this week. Faculty advisors are asked to make additional office hours available as necessary through mid-April.

The English Department meets this Thursday, March 28, at 2pm in Neville 208.

The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) invites proposals for this year’s symposium, to be held Tuesday, April 19, from 2-7pm in the Bodwell Lounge. Proposals submitted to by 5pm this Friday, March 29, will receive first consideration.

On Wednesday, April 3, McGillicuddy Humanities Fellow and English major Kimberly Crowley joins professors Danielle Pafunda and Jennifer Moxley for “The Personal Is Poetic: A Panel on the Therapeutic Usages of Poetry.” The event starts at 3pm in the Writing Center (Neville 402).

On Thursday, April 4, the New Writing Series will feature the novelist Bess Winter. The reading, which will be introduced by Gregory Howard, takes place in the Allen & Sally Fernald APPE Space (Stewart Commons 104) at 4:30pm.

The deadline for submitting work for the Grenfell (poetry), Hamlet (playwriting), and Turner (essay) awards is Friday, April 5, at 1pm.  


This Week in English 52 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, March 25, 2019. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line. Earlier installments are archived on our website.

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