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.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Editorial Position for Recent Graduates

We've just been notified about two new editorial positions with Pharmacy Times (see the descriptions below).  If you are interested, please contact Prof. Jody Ross (jody.ross@villanova.edu).

Pharmacy Times is seeking an Assistant Editor who can thrive in a highly entrepreneurial, fast-paced environment dedicated to providing pharmacists with the information and resources they need to optimize patient outcomes.

--Pitching, writing, and posting timely and relevant news for print and online outlets
--Covering industry conferences and events (Must commit to 15%-20% travel per year)
--Researching and assigning content to freelancers and expertise contributors
--Assembling and formatting daily e-newsletters
--Copyediting online content from staff, freelancers, and expert contributors
--Engaging with the readership through social media outlets

--Bachelor’s degree from a 4-year college or university and at least 1 year of editorial experience, preferably in medical/scientific publishing
 --Experience with video interviewing, filming, editing, and formatting
--Ability to prioritize multiple tasks and assignments with tight deadlines
--Strong written and verbal communication skills
--Experience with online content management systems and strong computer skills
--Knowledge of AMA style is a plus

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dr. Megan Quigley in London

English department professor Megan Quigley recently taught at this year's T.S. Eliot summer school in London. After a week long seminar on Eliot and fiction and a lecture on Henry James and Eliot, there was also time for some literary stalking with the students.  A few of Dr. Quigley's pictures follow.
The site of Eliot's old office at Faber & Faber.
"A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many," wrote Eliot in The Wasteland.
Burnt Norton, the estate in the Cotswolds inspiring the first of Eliot's Four Quartets.
Dr. Quigley at Burnt Norton.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Christie Leonard in Russia (part 4)

Christie and the English t-shirt at Peterhoff (to date, the farthest the shirt has travelled from Villanova).

Christie Leonard in Russia (part 3)

The final resting place of the Romanov family is in the Peter and Paul Fortress Cathedral. Once the capital was moved from Moscow, all royalty were buried in this cathedral instead of the Cathedral of the Archangel in the Kremlin. Catherine the Great is also buried here.

Trotsky was held in the Peter and Paul Fortress for a time.

Catherine the Great’s Summer Palace is immense. This palace was built as a rest stop for the Empress, since she needed another palace on the way to another palace. Its grounds include a replica of a Chinese garden and village with a bridge, guarded by statues of severe-looking Chinese men. Chinese porcelain was worth its weight in gold, and palaces decorated during this era often had a room done up in “Oriental” design with silks, carved wood, and other Chinese motifs. 

This is the view of the Peter and Paul Fortress from Trinity Bridge – one of my favorite places in the city. The sea breeze and the sunset reminded me of the beaches back home. We crossed this bridge on our way to dinner, and the promise of pizza amidst all the Russian food enhanced the walk across the bridge. 

Russia Study Abroad group at Peterhoff Palace, Peter the Great’s own Versailles and fountain garden.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Christie Leonard in Russia (part 2)

We also visited Novodevichy convent and cemetery. Peter the Great imprisoned his sister in the convent after a failed coup that he suspected her of organizing. The Cemetery is famous for its graves – each person (famous people only, unless you’re very, very wealthy) has a uniquely designed grave that reflects his or her personality or achievements. Here are Chekov’s and Gogol’s graves. I was expecting something a little more eccentric on Gogol’s (like a Nose?).

Saint Petersburg – Venice of the North or City of Death and Disease? The genre (coined after the fact) of the Saint Petersburg text is characterized by themes of unnaturalness, the macabre, death, bad weather, more death, and more bad weather. During its construction, thousands and thousands of serfs perished in the swamps. Wolves (which no long lurk near the city) killed workers; many more were taken by diseases and parasites in the water (which still lurk in the water today). Fortunately, my experience of this eclectic city included no death.

The Bronze Horseman was commissioned by Catherine the Great to Peter the First. (The monument contains both Russian and Latin: Petro Primo Catharina Secunda.) Pushkin’s famous poem “The Bronze Horseman” features this statue. Some of its themes are death and bad weather.

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is breathtaking. The columns are made of tiny pieces of lapis lazuli and malachite, fit together to look like a seamless, fluted column. This is one of several iterations of the cathedral. The first was a small wooden church, constructed quickly so Peter the Great could marry his barmaid love (who later became Catherine I, Empress of Russia). The subsequent churches all sank into the swamp, but this version didn’t! We climbed to the top for an incredible view of the city.

During the Soviet era, this cathedral was a Museum of Atheism and thus a popular fieldtrip destination for Soviet schools. Our tour guide had gone to school then and referred to it as “brain-washing school.”

This sign for a speed bump at the entrance to the Peter and Paul Fortress reminded me of the Little Prince’s drawing of the snake that ate the elephant.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Christie Leonard in Russia (part 1)

From English major Christie Leonard:
I visited Moscow and Saint Petersburg in May with a great study abroad group. From browsing museums and galleries to paying (and probably getting ripped off) for squat toilets, we navigated Russia despite the language barriers with various degrees of success. I have over a thousand pictures and more many stories, but here’s a handful:

We visited one of the most iconic buildings in Russia on our first day in Moscow – Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. According to legend, Ivan the Great took out the architect’s eyes so that he could never create anything as beautiful again. (That didn’t really happen, though, thank goodness.) We walked from our hotel near Paveletskaya station to Red Square; after crossing the Moscow River, we could see the Kremlin towers and the Cathedral’s domes come into view.
Seeing the Cathedral in person was a strange experience; photographs prepare you to some extent, but the style is so different from anything in the States that it appears almost as if it rose from the pages of Hansel and Gretel. I couldn’t decide if it looked more like a painted cardboard model or a jaunty mosaic, and yet it wasn’t a fantasy, but an immense, breathtaking – dare I say sublime? – structure designed and built by human hands.

The Tsar Cannon was cast in 1586. It’s 20 feet long, weighs 39 tons, and stands guard near the Kremlin cathedrals. Russia is incredibly fond of large things: the Tsar Cannon’s friend, the Tsar Bell, lies just a few yards away – all 202 tons of it.

Can you guess who ordered the construction of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower? Legends say that Ivan the Great used to drop small animals from the top of the Bell Tower. It had more productive uses though;  its 21 bells are the first to ring on church holidays, signaling all the other churches in Moscow to ring theirs.  Napoleon had a go at the tower in 1812, but was thankfully unsuccessful in destroying it.

The Cathedral of the Annunciation was almost blindingly bright on the day we visited it; its golden domes symbolize flames of heaven. 

The Dormition Cathedral is dedicated to Mary, the Theotokos (“God-bearer”). An icon of the Dormition crowns the arching doors of the Cathedral, depicting Mary’s Assumption and her reunion with God.

We visited the State Duma while we were in Moscow. That was a rather… interesting experience. We went to the four major “Oppositional” parties (whose leaders are Putin’s friends, according to the Duma worker who gave us a tour). The Liberal Democratic Party (which is actually a fascist party) gave us party bags full of party things like hats, a book of Party songs, buttons, and a watch.

We also encountered a very dour-looking man who introduced himself as a prominent member of the Communist Party. He was eager to take a group photo with us, though for some reason this request sounded rather ominous coming from him. I was amused to discover that the Communist Party office lounge sports a red grand piano in the corner. So much depends upon a broken piano / glazed with bright polish / beside the red couches. (Christie is at the far right in this picture.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Jess Swoboda (2015) at Virginia Woolf Conference

Former English / Honors major  (2015) Jess Swoboda was quoted as a Woolf scholar at the 2016 Virginia Woolf conference in Leeds, UK.  Watch a short video from the conference to see Jess.

Jess Swoboda (left) at the Virginia Woolf conference.