Category Archives: General News

Literary Matters 3.4 Released

The latest issue of Literary Matters reflects on the ALSCW’s accomplishments at the end of 2010, and anticipates the new year with a new president and new staff.  The issue includes updates on recent member activity and accolades, as well as poems by Robert Gibb and Brent Joseph Wells, bios of the ALSCW interns, and the winning essays from our first annual secondary school essay contest.  There is a write up of the latest local meeting in Baton Rouge, where members celebrated the prevention of catastrophic funding cuts to the comparative literature program at LSU, thanks in part to the efforts of the ALSCW.  In the Neglected Authors column, Rosanna Warren champions the work of Byron Herbert Reece, a poet and novelist she calls “a casualty of modernism.”  Adelaide Russo remembers Brent Joseph Wells, and in the Portrait of a Donor column, President Greg Delanty presents a bio of novelist, translator, and donor Francis O’Neill.

 

Brendan Ryan

 

Link to new issue

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ALSCW and Foreign Language Departments

Dear ALSCW,

re: the crisis, coming or already here, for foreign language departments in US Academe

As you know, ALSCW has been supporting departments of comparative literature facing termination, and has prevailed, in collaboration with the MLA and other associations, in reversing an execution at LSU Baton Rouge, and has brought about a stay of execution and a chance for rethinking the question at University of Toronto.

1. The situation at SUNY Albany is still in play, with drama and classics also on the block.  Rosemary Feal, our cordial ally (she’s executive director of the MLA and a member of the ALSCW too) has written this forceful article, which has been published in the MLA newsletter, the MLA website, and now on Huffington Post.  If you haven’t read it, it should interest you.
.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rosemary-feal/where-in-the-world-are-la_b_787066.html

Rosemary G. Feal
Executive Director
Modern Language Association
(646) 576-5102

Your Immediate Past President,

Susan Wolfson

SUNY Letter

ALSCW & Comparative Literature

For more on this topic, see or earlier post, Foreign Language Programs in Academia

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Longman Cultural Editions

We are still energized by our last great conference, and we wonder, if you had a chance to visit the book exhibits, if you saw the offer by Pearson Longman to receive your requests for a Longman Cultural Edition (those major works on the rack with the gorgeous covers) or a  Longman Anthology of British Literature.  If you’d like an examination copy, and you don’t  have the paper form for this request, you may send your request to

Joyce Nilsen: <Joyce.Nilsen@Pearson.com>

If you need a refresher, you may visit the Longman site at
<http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/series/Longman-Cultural-Editions/10512.page>

or for the Anthology
<http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/course/British-Literature-Survey-I/91020238.page>.

Since I’m General Editor of the Cultural Edition series, and on the Board of Editors for the Anthology, I had a special interest in bringing this exhibit to the conference, and would welcome your comments and feedback.

Yours sincerely,
Susan Wolfson
Chair, ALSCW Conference 2010
Immediate Past President, 2010-2011

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Oct 22 Boston Local Meeting: Al Basile

The New England sect of the ALSCW gathered at Boston University’s Editorial Institute for its second local meeting this fall on Wednesday, October 22nd.  Al Basile, accomplished musician and poet gave a presentation, “Words and Music, and the Music of Words: the Writing of Song Lyrics and Formal Poetry” touched upon the nebulous nature of writing.  After sharing a childhood anecdote about the timing of rhyming billboards on a drive to Florida, he discussed the challenge that  lyricists face in fitting language into the constraints of tempo and rhythm.  Additionally, he addressed such topics as the intuitive nature of his writing process, the relationship between the writer and his creation, and more.  He also presented two poems, two songs, and two encores.

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Councilor Profile: Rachel Hadas

As a member of ALSC, Rachel Hadas enjoys actively recruiting new members. Professor Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at Rutgers University’s Newark campus, where she has taught for many years. She especially enjoys teaching courses such as Mythology in Literature, Children’s Literature, and Literature and Medicine, and also teaches in Rutgers-Newark’s new MFA program. Author of numerous books of poetry and essays, including Halfway Down the Hall (1998), Indelible (2001), Laws (2004), and The River of Forgetfulness (2006), she has recently translated Racine’s “Iphigenie en Aulide,” and is currently coediting an anthology of Greek poetry from Homer to the present, to be published by W.W. Norton & Co. at the end of this year. She is also completing a memoir about her husband’s dementia and literature. Her new book of poems, The Ache of Appetite, is due out later this year from Copper Beech Press.

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ALSC VP to Give Clark Lectures

ALSC Vice-President Susan Wolfson has been invited to give the Clark Lectures at Cambridge University in the spring of 2011.

The Clark Lectures are on aspects of English literature. Past Clark Lecturers have included T.S. Eliot (1926, published as The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry), E.M. Forster (1927, Aspects of the Novel), C.S. Lewis (1944, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century), Dame Helen Darbishire (1949, The Poet Wordsworth), F.R. Leavis (1967, English Literature in Our Time and the University), Richard Rorty (1987, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity), Toni Morrison (1990), Rowan Williams (2005), Seamus Heaney (2006), Elaine Scarry (2007) and Frank Kermode (2007).   Two distinguished ALSC members, former president John Hollander (1999) and our immediate past president, Christopher Ricks (1991) have previously been invited to speak in this renowned series.  Susan thus continues an illustrious ALSC sub-tradition within the larger tradition.

Susan has also recently been featured in the Princeton Weekly Bulletin (in the April 6th volume). She has been teaching at Princeton since 1991. Her courses focus mainly on the romantic poets and their contemporaries.

The article highlights Wolfson’s emphasis on close reading, upon which her study of literature rests. Despite the wariness of some of her students when approaching the poetry of another century, Wolfson maintains that romanticism is accessible to anyone, given a willingness to spend time with the work. The article also showcases Wolfson’s desire to apply the skills of literary criticism to the world at large by instructing her students to analyze political language in the same way that they would analyze the language of a poem by Yeats or Wordsworth. Wolfson feels that such an approach allows students to gain insight into how language works in everyday situations as well as in literature.

In addition to her courses at Princeton, Wolfson has works forthcoming in Johns Hopkins University’s ELH, Literature Compass, entries in The Cambridge Companion To British Poets and The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Her new work Romantic Interactions: Social Being & the Turns of Literary Action will be published in 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press. Borderlines: The Shaping of Gender in British Romanticism has also been recently reprinted in a paperback edition by Stanford University Press.

– Thom Plasse

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ALSC Announces Title of the Forthcoming FORUM No. 3: THE LATEST ILLITERACY

The Association of Literary Scholars and Critics understands that it has an obligation to direct some of its force, time, and imagination to the bad examples that are set, as against the good example that the Association itself tries to set, for instance in its journal, Literary Imagination, and at its annual conferences. It was in this spirit that the Forum series has come about. Forum No. 3, The Latest Illiteracy, now brings together many instances of, as well as some reflections on, how different—largely, how much worse­—things are these days, both in print and in speech. The underlying questions are the enduring ones. Really worse, not just different? What is the evidence? Is it merely that all of us are getting older, and that the invocation of a golden age is becoming more of a lure? Is it not the case that in the Paston Letters, as long ago as the 15th century, the complaint was being voiced that servants be not so diligent as they were wont to be? Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose?

The Latest Illiteracy resists excuses and acquiescences. It is the work of two highly articulate writers—Jim McCue and Bryan Garner—who wish to help others to be no less articulate­—and, since individuality is to be respected and fostered, help them to be variously and personally articulate. This, as being able to do right by oneself as well by others because doing right by the great inheritance that is language, that is a language.

Neither of the present contributors, the one English, and the other American, is a university teacher, which was one reason why the Association, which is committed to allying the world of the university with the worlds of the arts, of the professions, and of the common reader, recently invited these two to put their experienced minds to illiteracy, new and old, and then to give the rest of us the pleasure of witnessing these two minds, their findings and their provocative speculations.

Forum No. 3 is set for publication in spring 2009.

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