...for every undergraduate who happens to pick up this volume. Whenever.
This is the best time of your life. You get that, right?
Look here, five sprightly essays written by dead-clever students typing furiously about classic stories that matter to them and have moved them. That's all it took. But it can only happen in this Utopia you find yourselves in -- in serious and committed undergraduate life. All this mountain of effort -- months of reading, thinking, editing, revising, banging foreheads against the doorjam at 3 am when you can't think of a better metaphor than doorjam -- all this stomach-jellifying hard work subsidized by simply being in college, marinating in the society of eager readers and thinkers and guessers and what-if lovers and their sometimes amazed teachers.
You know this is a rare treat, right? And you may never experience it again. Pinch yourself. Notice the buzz. Take notes. Because in a year or so, weeks in some cases, a lot of you will be leaving the groves of academe to agonize inside the blinkered world of bottom-lines, of bland and obvious utility, of bloody-minded seriousness. A world that doesn't give a toss what you may think of the deliciously impractical hints and allegations raised in the next black-and-white pages of the eternal book that you are right now holding in your hands.
Oh, bland new world that has such creatures running it! Because these five essays are magic! They can defy time. I guarantee you 250 years from the very moment that these particular liver-spotted fingers are typing this phrase -- "this phrase" -- some inquisitive soul will be reading these pages again, in some form, and being delighted to see what five young scholars once had to say about Tristram Shandy and William Faulkner and Paul Auster and John Lyly and Confucius.
This is art. This is criticism. This is news that stays news. Enjoy.
And pass it on.
Department of English, University of Maryland
Graduate Student Reader
- Robert M. Berman
- Aidan Boyd *
- Tajah Ebram *
- Brady Fauth *
- Corinne Galanko
- Mary Garhart
- Shannon Goff
- Shane Goodhue *
- Ariel Jones *
- E. Jackson Molleur *
- Theresa Park
- Monica Parks *
- Yevgeniya Portianko
- Charles Powell
- Laura Russell
- Ethan Salem
- Lenaya Stewart
- Emily Tuttle
- Madeline Wilson *
Those with an asterisk (*) provided additional editorial support.
- Amy Merritt
- Professor Thomas Moser
- Catherine Bayly
Spring 2013 Essays
Southern Literary Onomastics: The Civil War and Its Post-structural Consequences in Light in August
William Faulkner’s literature can be seen to operate thematically around a close attention to names and naming, as a way of highlighting issues of memory, lineage, objectification, and identity in the antebellum and post-Civil War South. The war shredded all notions of permanence of objects and places by giving former property legal personhood, turning wealthy plantation-based communities into ghost towns, and renaming counties in honor of Southern nationalists.
The Confucius of Europe, The Tillotson of China: Oliver Goldsmith and the Construction of Chinese Otherness
Imagining his own epitaph as written by a Chinese man of letters, eighteenth-century author Oliver Goldsmith once described himself as “justly styled the Sun of Literature and the Confucius of Europe” (Spence 73). As generous a designation as it is, why Goldsmith would liken himself to the figure of Confucius is somewhat unclear. Perhaps it had something to do with Goldsmith’s widespread celebrity or his advocacy of certain social and political mores.
The Interplay of Genders in Lyly's Galatea
Taking into account the strict codes of both play-making and gender that abounded in Renaissance England, it may be surprising to consider how much cross-dressing and gender bending occurred in the theater. In John Lyly’s late sixteenth-century play, Galatea, we see two women, played by boy actors, disguise themselves as men and fall in love. Given Galatea’s plot, it is unsurprising that the gender issues of the period pervade it.
Trauma, Shattered Reality, and a Return to Narrative Structure
“Trauma, in order to be communicated and integrated into one’s personal knowledge of the past as well as that of the collective, must be narrativized.”—Ilka Saal (459)
Uncle Toby and the London Gazette: The Use of Contemporary Text in the Re-Creation of the Past
Text can both make and tell a life. Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman heavily utilizes text in order to tell the life that one experiences. Tristram’s Uncle Toby lives his life constantly recreating the memory of the Battle of Namur through both text and physical fortifications. Outside in the yard, Toby and Trim spend their days building defenses to reenact the battle in which they both fought and experienced injuries.