“Why do we read novels and why do we write novels? We live inside of our heads, which is a place of dreams and fantasies and wishes and desires, but we live out our lives in this shared real world,” says Barry McCrea, the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies in Notre Dame’s Department of English. “Novels offer us not just a map of the human mind but a way to understand how the individual human mind interacts with the world outside.”
Melissa Mayus never planned on specializing in Old English. The current English Ph.D. student took an Old English class as an undergraduate at Notre Dame that sparked an unexpected passion that has taken her all the way to Iceland.
Recent books from the Department of English faculty.
The University of Notre Dame’s Department of English has strengthened its expertise across the historical spectrum and the globe with five faculty appointments that span medieval literature, Modernism, and digital media.
Elliott Visconsi, associate professor of English and concurrent associate professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed the University’s inaugural chief academic digital officer by Provost Thomas G. Burish.
“When you’re working on a dissertation, you’re stuck in your own head a lot, so I wondered if anyone cares about this other than me,” says Hilary Fox, who received her Ph.D. from Notre Dame’s Department of English in 2012. “Having a group of people tell you, ‘Yes, we actually do care and find it really interesting and important,’ that’s a psychological boost.”
The Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Dissertation Completion Fellowship Fox received offered her that validation and quite a bit more. The fellowship awards exceptional doctoral candidates in the humanities a stipend and research funding to aid in the completion of a dissertation. ACLS awards just 65 fellowships per year nationwide.
Despite the competition, the English graduate program in the College of Arts and Letters has seen two of its scholars receive this honor in the past three years—Fox and current doctoral candidate Patrick Mello, who was awarded a fellowship for 2012-2013.
Chris Abram, associate professor of English in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, is interested in the literary cultures of early medieval northern Europe. In this video, he discusses the large body of manuscripts found in Scandinavia written in Old Norse and what the stories within can tell us about pre-Christian culture.
Imagine you have just completed 26.2 miles of running, with legs like Jell-O, a headache, and worn-out lungs. Now imagine running that same marathon in the searing heat of the Sahara Desert or the blistering cold of the North Pole. That’s what Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters alumnus Michael Collins ’87, ’91 M.A. does. In addition to being an “ultra-marathoner,” Collins, who has a Ph.D. in English, is also a successful novelist and playwright.
“What I love about the English major is that it challenges you in a completely unique way,” says Michael Fronk, a senior English and math major at the University of Notre Dame. “Just the critical dialogue that you’re able to have about these esteemed works of literature that have survived throughout the ages, discussing the human condition, and the way you’re required to just think critically about these and to form your own novel intelligent thoughts and formulate them into writing, has just been an experience that I’ve found tremendous and invaluable.”
The Spider-Man series, The Avengers, the X-Men series—these films, produced by Marvel Comics’ production company, Marvel Studios, are some of the highest-grossing films of the 21st century. All are based on characters and stories from Marvel comic books, and it’s the job of Bill Rosemann ’93 to keep those characters and stories coming. Rosemann, an editor at Marvel Comics’ New York office, read comics in his youth and majored in English at Notre Dame.
Sandra M. Gustafson, professor of English and concurrent professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship to write a book on conflict and democracy in classic American novels. Faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters Notre Dame have been awarded 49 NEH fellowships between 1999 and 2013—more than any other university in the country.
A conversation with American Studies Professor Emeritus Ronald Weber helped change the life of Notre Dame alumnus Jim Greene ’85, today a homelessness policy adviser for the Boston Public Health Commission and director of the Boston Emergency Shelter Commission.
Peter Holland, associate dean for the arts in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies in the College’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, has been selected to receive the 2012 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award. The award ceremony will take place on December 5, 2012, at 3:30 p.m. at the Notre Dame Conference Center in McKenna Hall and is open to all faculty and students.
With words such as “aggressive” and “attack,” President Barack Obama’s aides prepped him for his “comeback” Tuesday night, asserting that his first debate was “too polite.” But if the president of the United States was deemed “too polite,” where does that leave the notion of civil discourse in political debates?
Two essays published in Notre Dame Magazine last year have been named to the “Notable Essays of 2011” in this year’s collection of The Best American Essays, edited by David Brooks and Robert Atwan. Both essays were written by graduates of the University’s College of Arts and Letters.
The Society for Disability Studies recently presented its Tyler Rigg Award to Essaka Joshua, a teaching professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English and the Joseph Morahan Director of the College Seminar program in the University’s College of Arts and Letters. Joshua received the accolade—given annually to the best paper in literature and literary analysis published in Disability Studies Quarterly—for “The Drifting Language of Architectural Accessibility in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris.”
For her contributions to Emerson studies, Laura Dassow Walls, the University of Notre Dame’s William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English, has been awarded the 2012 Ralph Waldo Emerson Society Distinguished Achievement Award.
Like many other veterans, Michael Zacchea ’90 returned from service in the Iraq War after an injury and struggled at times to readjust to life outside of the military. Now, the English and classics major is helping other disabled American troops on the same return journey to civilian life.
Orlando Ricardo Menes, director of the University of Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program, recently was named winner of the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry for his manuscript “Fetish,” which will be published by the University of Nebraska Press.
Founded in 1927, Prairie Schooner is a national literary quarterly published with the support of the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.