Writers House Hosts Dinner with Julie Orlemanski


On Thursday, November 2, 2017, several English graduate students joined visiting colloquium speaker Julie Orlemanski for a mentoring conversation over a lovely dinner at L’Albatros Brasserie. This opportunity was generously funded by Writers House, an initiative to construct a university-wide hub centered on the act of writing in all of its rich permutations. John Orlock, Samuel B. and Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities, currently serves as the inaugural director of Writers House.

Dr. Orlemanski is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago, where she specializes in late-medieval literature and literary theory. She has just completed a monograph entitled “Symptomatic Subjects: Bodies, Signs, and Narratives in Late Medieval England,” and her new book project is “Things without Faces: Prosopopoeia in Medieval Writing,” which addresses fictional bodies in the Middle Ages. Her work has appeared in Exemplaria, postmedieval, JMEMS, Textual Practice, JEGP, and numerous edited collections. For the academic year 2017-2018, she is a Visiting Associate at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Orlemanski discussed her own academic career and research and shared advice on coursework, teaching, publishing, conference presentations, graduate student activism, and work-life balance. Students enjoyed her and one another’s company in advance of Orlemanski’s colloquium the next day.

“Embodying Fiction and the Limits of Literary Theory, in the Middle Ages and Beyond”
Date: Friday, November 3, 2017, 3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Location: Guilford Parlor

What, exactly, is fiction? And does fiction have a history? Recent scholars have argued that fictionality only “arose” or “emerged” in the nineteenth century, with the rise of the realist novel. Against this claim, Professor Orlemanski argues for the importance, but also the difficulty, of investigating medieval fictionality. One way such an investigation might proceed is through medieval literary theory, or the corpus of commentaries, prologues, and treatises in which medieval thinkers described the nature of textuality. Though Orlemanski attends to this body of thought, she also points out its limits. The practice of fiction-writing in the Middle Ages, especially in the vernacular, often developed at a remove from such explicit theorization. Accordingly, Professor Orlemanski explores how concepts of fiction are embodied, immanently, in medieval poetic writing. In particular, she shows how the fictional bodies of literary characters incarnate ideas about these characters’ ontology, or the nature of their being. Finally, Professor Orlemanski turns back to the charge of anachronism that might be leveled at her approach, and she seeks to address the question of whether fiction can truly be said to have a history.



Melissa Pompili Wins the 2017 Neil MacIntyre Essay Prize


The winner of the 2017 Neil MacIntyre Essay Prize is Melissa Pompili!

Congratulations go to Pompili, a fourth-year Ph.D. student, for her essay “Strange Encounters with Dead Selves: Medical Memoir, Apostrophe, and (Re)animating Subjectivity.”

Please join the entire Department on Friday, December 8, 2016 for a presentation and celebration of this winning essay.

Melissa Pompili’s research focuses on the sometimes contradictory subjectivities that are required by the biopolitical state from the early twentieth century to the present moment. Her dissertation, “Internal Medicine: Bioaffect, Medical Discourse, and the Making of a Physician,” attends to the paradoxical subject position that physicians come to occupy through medical training, and the aesthetic products that they produce during their education in order to affectively (as in emotionally and psychologically) accommodate that subjectivity. Her theoretical investments include biopolitics and affect theory, and her work falls at the intersections of literary studies, the rhetoric of health and medicine, and the medical humanities. Pompili also currently serves as the President of the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA).

Chaloupka and Horton Take Part in “Demystifying the Archive” Roundtable


Date: Friday, December 2, 2016
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Location: Guilford Parlor 

learning_education_default_1Ph.D. students and Dean’s Fellows Evan Chaloupka and Ray Horton will discuss their recent and ongoing work with archival materials, as a means of illuminating the possibilities of research using primary sources.

They will be joined by representatives from three University Circle Institutions: Jennifer Nieves, Archivist & Registrar at the Dittrick Medical History Center; William Claspy, Humanities Research Services Librarian and Melissa Hubbard, Team Leader, Scholarly Resources & Special Collections, Kelvin Smith Library; and John Grabowski, Senior Vice President, Research & Publications and Krieger Mueller Historian, Western Reserve Historical Society.

Following brief descriptions of the collections and materials available for scholarly use, questions from the audience will explore the challenges and opportunities for humanities research with archival and special collections materials.

Megan Griffin Wins the 2016 Neil MacIntyre Essay Prize


Illustration of a 1776 “Oroonoko” Performance

The winner of the 2016 Neil MacIntyre Essay Prize is Megan Griffin!

Congratulations go to Griffin, a fourth-year Ph.D. student, for her essay “Unbearable Representations: Dismembering the Sovereign in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko.”

Please join the entire Department on Friday, December 9, 2016, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Clark 206, for a presentation and celebration of the winning essay.

Megan Griffin’s main area of specialization is in Early Modern literature, with a particular focus on issues of genre and on the development of the rhetoric of sovereignty from the English Reformation to the English Civil War. She also has secondary interests in 20th and 21st century sci-fi/fantasy literature and television.