English Faculty Attend South Atlantic MLA Convention

A number of Meredith English faculty and students – both current and former – were busy this past weekend (Nov. 4-6, 2016) in Jacksonville, Fla., at the annual convention of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.

Professor of English Rebecca Duncan presented her essay “Landscapes of Fear in the Fiction of Zoila Ellis,” a reading of this Belizean writer’s fiction drawing upon the work of cultural geographer Yi-Fu-Tuan. The essay examines postcolonial spaces and identities characterized by a system of collective and unconscious human fears.  She also chaired a session entitled “Utopia/Dystopia and a Sense of Place” that featured place-based readings of Henry David Thoreau, Middle Eastern women, and 19th century American prisons. Also presenting at that session was Meredith senior Macy Allen, who offered a revised and updated version of her honors thesis on “Orwell, Twentieth-Century Russia, and the Disruption of Place.”  Two former Meredith adjunct English faculty, Margaret O’Shaughnessey and Lucy Melbourne, presented their scholarly work in the same session.  O’Shaughnessey’s project, entitled “Out of the Ashes: Thoreau’s Rise from Woodsburner to Woodsman,” discussed the emotional, social and ecological effects of the fire in the Walden woods accidentally caused by Henry David Thoreau.  Melbourne explored the notions of Islamic paradise portrayed in recent literary works from Africa, Turkey, and France, in an essay entitled “Heaven on Earth: Submission, Sex and the City.

Assistant Professor of English Martin P. McNamee presented a paper at the Romantic Utopia/Dystopia panel, an affiliated session of the Keats-Shelley Association of America, at the conference. McNamee’s presentation, “Keats’s The Eve of Saint Mark and the Reader’s Struggle to a Literary Utopia,”  considers how a close reading of the poem, in light of nineteenth century theories on reading, can further understanding of Keats’s own ideas regarding the interaction of reading and poetic creation.

Adjunct English faculty member Tina Romanelli organized a session on early modern literature that featured her own work (“Sour Beer and Salvation”) and that of several Meredith colleagues. Professor of English and Dean of the School of the Arts and Humanities Garry Walton pre-viewed his upcoming faculty lecture in his essay entitled “The Shakespearean Sacrament of the Disobedient Daughter.” Meredith English alumna Toni O’Steen expanded her undergraduate thesis in a presentation asserting the value of the work of Philippa Gregory in understanding Shakespeare’s history plays: “Historical Fiction and Richard III.”

–Submitted by Garry Walton, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities

Melyssa Allen

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