This Week in English | September 30 – October 6, 2019

English Majors Loveless and Penney Named Humanities Fellows

Earlier today the McGillicuddy Humanities Center announced its new cohort of Undergraduate Fellows, which includes English majors Noah Loveless and Sarah Penney. Here’s a snipped from the announcement:

Noah Loveless, Sarah Penney and Matthew Ryckman are the 2019–2020 Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellows at the University of Maine.

Fellows serve as ambassadors of humanities for their peers, the campus and beyond. They each will receive $4,000 for two consecutive semesters while they work on their respective research projects.

Loveless, from Cumberland, Maine, is a fourth-year English and philosophy double major, with a creative writing concentration.

For his project titled “The Task of the Critic: The Philosophy and Aesthetics of Walter Benjamin,” Loveless will examine Benjamin’s innovative approach to philosophy and literary criticism.

Using Benjamin’s “The Arcades Project” as his central text, Loveless will explore how Benjamin’s ideas influenced his contemporaries, as well as current scholarly discourse in multiple disciplines, thereby changing the way critics engage with the material.

Penney, of Thomaston, Maine, is a third-year English major with a minor in media studies and an interest in folklore and literature.

For “The Origins of Fate: Analyzing and Reconstructing the Proto-Indo-European Fate Deities,” Penney will concentrate on the nature of folkloric adaptations and reconstructions, and trace them in Norse mythology, poetics and linguistics.

She’ll investigate how these manifestations of faith imply how ancient peoples saw their lives, and how the survival of these views connects with modern beliefs.

The full announcement can be found here.

Caroline Bicks Guest Lecture on Montaigne 

King Chair Caroline Bicks writes:

A few weeks ago, I gave the opening lecture for Honors 211 on Michel de Montaigne’s essays and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I connected these texts to my current research on early modern girlhood and cognition, and explored how the loss of a great man’s daughter (or daughters, in Montaigne’s case) signaled a specific intellectual loss—a failure to progress beyond one’s books and myopic visions and toward the brave new world of knowledge based in observation, feeling, and experience.The title of the talk was: “‘I have lost two or three’: Fathers, Daughters, and the Advancement of Knowledge in the Early Modern Period.”

In Classes This Week

Students in Professor Bick’s English 471: Sex, Gender and the Body in Early Modern England have been presenting their supplemental research projects in class these past few weeks. “So far,” she writes, “they have presented on anti-cosmetics tracts, love-melancholy, conduct literature, gender and weeping, and male-male friendship. This week, we’ll hear presentations on cross-dressing controversies, representations of Sappho, and wet-nursing vs. maternal breastfeeding. Never a dull moment!”

In Professor Harlan-Haughey’s three-hundred level course on Outlaws, students are discussing the Middle Scots poem The Wallace, which details the life of the Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace (the open-access text can be consulted here). Students recently wrote short papers about the Saga of Grettir the Strong.

In English 131: Nature of Story, also with Harlan-Haughey, students are discussing the ways in which narrative was transmitted before the advent of print, and reading—among other things— Ursula Leguin’s “It was a Dark and Stormy Night” and the tragic tale of Dierdre and Naoise.

Writing Center Update

This week UMaine’s Writing Center is highlighting Connor Ferguson, a senior peer-tutor and English major in literary analysis, and creative writing minor. Connor recently published his article “Accessibility and Visibility in Writing Centers” in this summer’s 2019 edition of the Dangling Modifier, an online Writing Center journal. His article was the product of a research study and academic conference presentation he delivered at NEWCA this spring.

Connor will submit a proposal to present at this year’s UMaine Symposium 2020 (UMSS, formerly known as CUGR), and he’s recently submitted a proposal to present at this year’s annual Maine Writing Project conference with Writing Center Director, Paige Mitchell, and Orono High School’s Writing Center Director, Erika Dixon.

If you’re a student interested in crafting a proposal for publication, academic conference presentation, or if you’d like to speak with Connor about his experiences, please schedule a Writing Center appointment with him here. He works in two of our satellite locations: Tuesdays 7-9, in Fogler Library behind the Reference Desk and Wednesdays 1-3, in the Memorial Union’s Multicultural Center.

Rogers and Segal Review New York Tavern for British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Deborah Rogers and Howard Segal reviewed the Fraunces Tavern, which houses historical artifacts from colonial America and offers contemporary vittles, for the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies blog “Criticks Reviews.”  Here’s an excerpt:

In colonial America, taverns were places where serious discussions of current affairs mixed with gossip, games, drinks, and grub. The Fraunces Tavern soon became one of the city’s leading gathering places, where one might find the likes of George Washington, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. But once the colonials lost control of the city, the British occupied The Tavern until the war ended in 1783. After the British evacuated, Washington used The Tavern’s Long Room to deliver an emotional and eloquent farewell to his officers.

Libra Professor Madeline Sayet on Campus in October

Mohegan playwright, director, and Shakespeare scholar Madeline Sayet will be the Visiting Libra Professor at UMaine from October 1-23, 2019. Sayet visited Orono in April 2018 to participate in the Tan Katotsanin New Native Tribal Plays Festival. The festival was started in 2017 by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr., and it is to his credit that we were able to bring Sayet here then, and again this fall. For more information about her activities as a Libra Professor, and to learn about student volunteer opportunities related to her visit, please contact Margaret Lukens, director of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, or William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.

Poets Featured in New Writing Series Event on October 10

The New Writing Series continues its twentieth-anniversary season with a poetry reading by Sara Nicholson and Sarah Green on Thursday, October 10, at 4:30 in the Allen and Sally Fernald APPE Space (Stewart Commons 104). Jennifer Moxley will host. For more information, check out the NWS Facebook group.

King Chair Sponsors Shakespeare Residency in November

The Stephen E. King Chair is sponsoring an education residency that will bring two members of the American Shakespeare Center (Staunton, VA) to campus November 5-7 to conduct a series of workshops with various classes at UMaine and at Orono High School. On Wednesday, November 6th, 5:00-7:30pm in the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre, they will be facilitating a community-wide performance workshop using scenes from Othello to engage us in a conversation about Others and Othering. Please encourage your students (and anyone from beyond the UMaine community who you think would be interested in this event) to come join us. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Caroline Bicks.


This Week in English 62 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, September 30, 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.

If you would like to support the mission of the English Department, please consider a donation to the Annual Fund through this secure online portal.