Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Catherine Keating ('84) Named CEO of Commonfund

Catherine Keating, who graduated from Villanova as an English major in 1984, has just been chosen by Commonfund, a large investment management firm that works with non-profits, as its new Chief Executive Officer.  Keating, who was previously head of investment management at JPMorgan Chase & Co, was named one of American Banker’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking in 2013.  She is also Chair of Villanova’s Board of Trustees.

Catherine Keating

Internship with the Philadelphia Education Fund

The Philadelphia Education Fund is seeking an intern candidate to be part of a five-person development team assisting each member in the functions of Philanthropy, Institutional Giving, Stewardship and Communications. Over a six-month period, s/he will develop valuable knowledge and skills in the following areas:

* Research
* Cultivation and Recognition
* Event planning

Institutional Giving
* Proposal writing
* Sponsorships
* Government Grants

* Raiser’s Edge Development Software
* Database management
* Program reports

* Press releases
* Marketing Materials
* Social Media
* Website

Our ideal candidate will have the following traits:
* Professionalism
* Strong work ethic
* Good writing skills
* Well Organized and Detail Oriented

Our ideal candidate will already have the following proficiencies:
* MicroSoft Office proficient: including Excel, PowerPoint and Word
* Familiar and comfortable with social media

Job Expectations:
This is a 20 to 40 hour per week internship.  The ideal candidate is available parts of 3-5 days per week.

Work will take place at our headquarters on the 7th floor of the United Way building at 1709 Ben Franklin Parkway.

A small stipend may be available.

Please email your résumé/CV and a statement of interest to Jeff Baxt, Communications Manager (jbaxt@philaedfund.org).

If you are interested, you can also contact Kate Szumanski, the Associate Director for Experiential Education with our Office for Undergraduate Students (kathryn.szumanski@villanova.edu).

Internship with Entrepreneur Works

Marketing & Events Internship – Spring 2015

Entrepreneur Works is a non-profit organization that creates pathways of opportunity for talented entrepreneurs. Across the Philadelphia region our clients start and grow small businesses, create jobs for themselves and their neighbors, and strengthen the local economy. Entrepreneur Works offers access to small business loans, training and one-on-one guidance to hundreds of entrepreneurs each year, empowering individuals from all walks of life to prosper and build sustainable communities. For more information, click here.

Position Summary:
Are you interested in helping small business owners in the Philadelphia area tell their stories? Here at Entrepreneur Works we’re looking for an intern with social media savvy, excellent writing skills, event planning know-how, and a passion for working on behalf of underserved entrepreneurs. The Marketing & Events Intern will be a key member of our small marketing team and event planning committee, so expect lots of hands-on experience!

The main focus of the internship will be on helping staff and volunteers to plan and promote our annual fundraising event, Taste of Success (to be held on April 20, 2014). However, other projects may include:
Interviewing Entrepreneur Works clients about their entrepreneurial journeys, and helping to create client “success story” profiles to include on our web site
Helping staff to manage our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages
Working on stories for our e-newsletter
We are certainly open to new ideas! If you think you can make an impact through another original project or initiative, we’d love to hear about it.

We are looking for an intern to work approximately 5-7 hours per week. Exact start date is negotiable.

Compensation & Other Benefits:
This is an unpaid internship opportunity. Students looking for course credit are encouraged to apply!

The intern will also have the chance to gain experience and build skills in: writing and packaging marketing materials to promote a local nonprofit; event planning; fundraising and resource development; and the ins and outs of working for a small, community-oriented nonprofit organization, particularly one that serves traditionally underserved entrepreneurs.

Appropriate Areas of Study:
Students majoring in English, Communications, Non-Profit Management and/or Community Development are especially encouraged to apply, but the position is open to students of any major with strong writing skills and a passion for helping local small business owners.

Software & Technology Used for Position:
- Microsoft Office Suite (including Publisher)
- WordPress
- Drupal content management system (similar to WordPress)
- Adobe Creative Suite 5.0 (particularly InDesign)
- HootSuite

Skills and Attributes:
- Superb written communication skills 
- Social media savvy
- Excellent verbal communications skills
- Experience in social media, marketing and/or event planning
- Passion for working on behalf of a diverse population of entrepreneurs 
- Interest microfinance and entrepreneurship development
- Ability to work both independently and collaboratively

To Apply
Please email a brief letter of interest and resume to Rebecca Gerber at rgerber@entre-works.org. Please write “Social Media & Marketing Intern” in the Subject Line.  No phone calls, please!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas with Dr. Quigley

English majors (mostly from Ways of Reading and the Virginia Woolf senior seminar) celebrate the end of classes at Dr. Quigley's home.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dr. Alice Dailey's Renaissance Revenge Tragedy Class Visits New York City: Dr. Dailey on Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire

Dr. Alice Dailey and several students from her fall course on Renaissance Revenge Tragedy recently took in an exhibit at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Dr. Dailey's narrative follows.

"Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire” features mourning fashions from Europe and America dating from 1815 to 1915.  The exhibit includes full ensembles, including dresses worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra, as well as exquisite accessories such as hats, parasols, mourning jewelry, and hair pins.  It highlights the development of elaborate conventions for mourning attire across the 19th and early 20th centuries—conventions disseminated through mediums like the fashion magazine to a middle class eager to emulate high-class bereavement etiquette and style.  Having just studied an early 17th-century play about a widow, John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, our group was attuned to the rigid decorum that such increasingly elaborate mourning standards imposed, especially on women.  We were also struck by the echoes of another play we had recently studied: Hamlet.  Hamlet complains of the inadequacy of outward mourning conventions—the “inky cloak,” the “customary suits of solemn black,” the “forms, moods, shapes of grief”—to express his inward sorrow (1.2.81-84).  As “Death Becomes Her” notes, the potential substitution of decorous mourning clothes in place of genuine grief became a theme among critics of an expanding and lucrative industry devoted to outfitting female mourners.  The exhibit is at once beautiful and eerie, and our group highly recommends it to anyone visiting New York.  It’s open until February 1, 2015.

From the "Death Becomes Her" exhibit

Dr. Alice Dailey's Renaissance Revenge Tragedy Class Visits New York City: Lauren Clem on the Irish Arts Center

Lauren Clem from Dr. Dailey's Renaissance Revenge Tragedy attended the November 8 readings that were part of the Irish Arts Center's sixth annual Poetry Fest, which, according to the Center, celebrates Ireland and America’s great literary connection by showcasing an unparalleled array of much-published and award-winning poets."

Lauren reports that "The Irish Arts Center’s annual PoetryFest featured artists from both sides of the pond. Saturday’s readings included American poets Adam Fitzgerald and Kevin Young and Irish poets Miriam Gamble and Vona Groarke. The reading was intimate, with all four artists covering serious topics through the lens of such minutiae as gardening, growing up in Massachusetts, and the 90s computer game fad Oregon Trail. Vona Groarke was Villanova’s Heimbold Chair in 2004. Peter Fallon, scheduled to present the following day, also served as a Heimbold back in 2000."

Dr. Alice Dailey's Renaissance Revenge Tragedy Class Visits New York City: Stephen Purcell on the Argosy Book Store

Dr. Dailey's Renaissance Revenge Tragedy class also visited the Argosy Book Store during its visit to New York City.  Stephen Purcell's account of the bookstore follows.

The Argosy Book Store is New York’s oldest independent bookstore, and quite possibly its most awe-inspiring. Outside, an eclectic assortment of books cover a table and three walls of shelves. Countless suspense novels, travel guides, history books, magazines, and literary journals surround customers as they find their way inside. Past the oak entrance stand tall rows of bookshelves, covered in a multitude of luxuriously-bound texts. Glass display cases protect the rarest of the Argosy’s collection, but the majority of the books invite perusal. The selection includes everything from Plutarch’s Lives to treatises on gardening, from unliftably-heavy Bibles to slim children’s books. Piles, stacks, and boxes of books await sorting and shelving, giving the bookshop a pleasant tinge of chaos. Between the walls stand tables that support innumerable prints from various eras. Portraits of serious men in baroque wigs commingle with caricatures from 19th century French satirical magazines. More exotic and expensive prints are kept safe in a display on the wall. The abundance of words, images, and ideas are mesmerizing, and make the Argosy Book Store one of New York’s most intriguing places.

Students from Dr. Dailey's class, Taylor DeLaPena and Stephen Purcell, in the Argosy Bookshop

Dr. Alice Dailey's Renaissance Revenge Tragedy Class Visits New York City: Rebecca Watson ('15) on Sleep No More

Dr. Alice Dailey's English / Honors course on Renaissance Revenge Tragedy visited New York City on November 9.  English major Rebecca Watson's review of Sleep No More, the principal destination of the trip, follows.

In a dimly-lit hallway, as murmurs from crowds of people at the bar slowly disappearing behind you, a woman in a full length sequined dress and bobbed hair escorts you into a holding room. You are given a mask by two silent men in all black, and fumble to put it on as you step inside an elevator. Your friend’s hand finds yours and gives it a quick squeeze: you know these are the final moments you will recognize each other. The elevator jolts upwards as the elevator attendant growls the rules: no talking, keep the mask on, you’re free to do as you please, fortune favors the bold. A stop, the doors open, and the group inside the elevator collectively inhales. One man steps out into the misty red darkness. You begin to start for the same unknown when the attendant slowly raises his arm, barring your passage. Silently the doors close in front of you, and the elevator jolts again. The attendant repeats it once more: fortune favors the bold. The doors open once more and you step into another kind of misty unknown, this one black and blue, smelling of dust and old books. There is no turning back now.

It is not a traditional play, one where you sit down in a velvet seat and ignore the wine-drenched breath of the women next to you for two hours. No, Punckdrunk’s Sleep No More defies conventions of theatre at every turn. The set is a five-story warehouse in the New York neighborhood of Chelsea, transformed by the production into the haunting McKittrick Hotel. Each visitor is given a mask to wear the whole night, and is free to wander the five stories at their leisure for three hours. There is no linear narrative, but rather coinciding events which happen simultaneously on all five floors. There is barely any speech uttered by the actors, who rely more on dance and movement than language to convey emotions or action. Your experience is completely up to you. You can choose to follow one actor the entire night, or stay in one room for an hour if you so please. It is a truly immersive, avant-garde type of theatre which has been gaining traction since its premiere in 2011.

Sleep No More combines touches of Hitchcock and witch trials and folk lore in a novel telling of Shakespeare’s chilling Macbeth. Transplanting Macbeth into a decrepit Gilded Age hotel, the production incorporates Hitchcock’s characters as side narratives to the traditional political drama. Audience members are invited to peer into desk drawers, read letters, and explore this world while the action unfolds. It has become an addictive phenomenon with followers of the show going back multiple times in an effort to unfurl all of the mysteries so tightly bound in the hotel.
Dr. Alice Dailey’s Renaissance Tragedies class was among that audience one night. The course, titled Revengers, Murderers, and Malcontents in Renaissance Tragedies seems to integrate everything in the McKittrick Hotel into its coursework, which includes the likes of Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy and Webster’s Duchess of Malfi. The class had just finished their study on Shakespeare’s Scottish Play, and it seemed a natural fit to embark on a trek to see this renowned production. And so the class packed into university vans and traveled to New York City for a class field trip.

After the show, students swapped stories about their time in the Hotel. A couple of students had been taken aside personally by the actors, and one even helped with costume changes. Everyone had different experiences over the three hours, and they could not stop talking about it all. It gave a breadth of new things to talk about in regards to Macbeth, as well as other plays on the syllabus. Themes, images, sounds, and ideas resonated long after the masks came off, further informing readings of the Renaissance texts. Subsequent classes could not pass without at least one reference to that night, it remained so vivid in the minds of each student.

Plays and dramas are meant to be seen live, to have the language on the play given life through actors and staged actions. Though readings of the text are effective and provide interesting discussion topics ranging from the sanctity of kingship to what it means to be human, it is important to experience these words as they were originally intended. And while Punchdrunk’s production was by no means traditional in its staging of Macbeth, it did what any good theatre does. It brought together members of the audience through shared, though vastly different, experience, and it stimulated deep discussion which lingered for weeks afterwards. It is unusual for students of Shakespeare to go see any show at all, let alone one of the most exciting, experimental and new productions which has become the buzz of theatre-goers worldwide. The small class of only 14 students has benefitted from the experience beyond the expression of words, proving that the adage the elevator attendant gave remains true:  fortune truly does favor the bold.