June 2013 Archives

5 X Friday: PhD Candidate Caitlin McHugh

Caitlin McHughThis spring Caitlin McHugh won the Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, which allows her to take a break from teaching in 2013-14 to focus on finishing her dissertation. "I have two more chapters left to write," she explains. "I also need to travel to the Folger Shakespeare Library [in Washington D.C.] to look at a seventeenth-century prompt book, and the fellowship gives the time and the funds that I need to do so." A "prompt book" is a copy of a play production script that includes cues for speech, sound, and light; stage directions; and drawings of the set, among other essential information. McHugh's dissertation focuses on adaptations of Shakespeare in the Restoration era, which she feels have been unfairly maligned. This July, she'll be presenting her paper "The Linguistic Adaptation of Nahum Tate's King Lear," in Ann Arbor, Michigan, thanks to a travel grant she was awarded through the Association for Documentary Editing. More . . . .

Cheers to Successful PhD Candidates

Between March and May, nine PhD candidates successfully defended their dissertations. Congratulations to Tai Coleman, Renee DeLong, Will Kanyusik, Eun Joo Kim, Chris Larkin, Heather McNeff, John Pistelli, Adam Schrag, Maurits van Bever Donker, and Jewon Woo!

5 X Friday: Professor Andrew Elfenbein

Andrew Elfenbein"English professors now study everything except English," argues Professor Andrew Elfenbein in his 2009 book Romanticism and the Rise of English (2009). By "English" he means the history of the English language--and how its particular forms at any one time influence how writers write. That volume, which won Outstanding Academic Book Award from Choice, sets out to brush off contemporary literary criticism's blind spot, specifically looking at how literary authors responded to new usage rules in the 18th century. In the book's afterward, Elfenbein confesses that his examinations of Romantic English are leading him into psychology "as a means of investigating language production, reading comprehension, and writing strategies." Sure enough, this spring he won an American Council of Leaned Societies Fellowship for 2013-14 to work on a project that brings together cognitive science and literary criticism. (Elfenbein also received a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry & Scholarship this spring from the U's Office of the Vice President for Research.) How did he get interested in that topic? Where does he see literary criticism going? What does he love about teaching large survey courses? Read on. . . .

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