Welcome to the official blog for Villanova's Graduate English Program! Come back often for updates on conference opportunities, guest speakers, student accomplishments, alumni news, and more. Also be sure to check out our Facebook page for more updates.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Nick Manai

Congratulations to first-year student Nick Manai for getting his paper published in The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies! Nick’s paper will appear in the 2018 issue, Volume 18.

The title of Nick’s paper is “Turning Inward: Using Insight as a Catalyst for Change in The Corrections.”

Nick’s paper looks at the ways Jonathan Franzen's characters make meaningful change to their lives in his novel The Corrections. Nick argues that they are able to expand strict moral perspectives through reflection that yields insight into their own lives or the lives of their family members. Franzen's thematic commitment to insight is indicative of Marilynne Robinson's belief in the mind’s introspective powers and Foucault's concern, later in his career, with knowledge of the self. This reading also confirms Rachel Greenwald Smith's sense of the "affective hypothesis" in contemporary fiction where characters actively seek to improve their emotions, but Nick argue that rather than isolating characters, Franzen uses insight as a way to strengthen social networks (Smith 2).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stephen Reaugh

By Angela Christaldi

Stephen Reaugh, a second-year graduate student studying English literature, didn’t plan on pursuing the theatre, especially in grad school. However, a few months in Ireland changed his mind.

While studying English as an undergraduate at Allegheny College, Reaugh spent “almost all [his] time” in the theatre department, performing in shows like Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” He hadn’t walked through the doors of Vasey Theatre, though, until he was persuaded by his fellow Abbey Theatre Summer Studio students.

“I hadn’t done a lot of theatre [since undergrad] until this past summer,” Reaugh said. “I did the Abbey Summer Studio. There were some theatre students, who were also part of the class, and as part of the Summer Studio, at the end of your time in Dublin you put on a devised show at the Abbey Theatre at the Peacock Stage…After two weeks, I kept thinking, ‘I forgot how much I love this.’”

The show that Reaugh and his peers devised was called “I’m All Wounds.” He describes it as “a series of brief scenes, interacting with the Irish theatre we had read up to that point. We were making fun of it sometimes, and paying respect to it other times.”

After realizing how much he’d missed being on the stage, Reaugh started to think about auditioning for this fall’s show at the Villanova Theatre: “Godspell.” He got a little push from the theatre students he befriended in Dublin, saying he was “lovingly coerced” into auditioning. He wouldn’t change a thing.

“We had so much fun rehearsing [Godspell]. It’s the most banal thing to say, but we actually enjoyed it,” Reaugh said. “That doesn’t often happen in shows--we had so much fun. We just played. ‘Godspell’ is all about playing, trying to reckon with this crazy narrative of Jesus’ life. They do this primarily through clowning through it. We took that and sort of ran with it.”

Reaugh performed in the ensemble, portraying the character of Herb, who he describes as a class clown type.

“He has one moment where he gets serious and he sings this beautiful little solo,” Reaugh said. “I had a lot of fun doing it. It came at a point in my life where I really needed it…It’s been light and really fun.”

While “Godspell” is known for its revolutionary nature, Villanova Theatre took it even further, choosing to do a gender-blind casting. For those unfamiliar, that means that the directors chose whoever was best for the roles, regardless of if their gender corresponds with the character’s written gender. At Villanova, this choice led to the two main characters, Jesus and Judas, being played by women.

Reaugh said that the company’s choice to do a gender-blind cast was “particularly useful,” especially in our current political climate, and mentioned that Villanova Theatre has a history of pushing boundaries.

“Villanova Theatre isn’t afraid to shake boundaries, and they’re definitely aware of when they do it…This show, in particular, was a good choice because it showed how important it is to hear voices that don’t often get heard,” Reaugh said.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Maria Klecko

On Sunday, March 19th, Maria Klecko presented her paper, “Sympathetic Relationships: Emotional Vulnerability in Middlemarch” at the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies national conference.  The conference theme was “odd bodies.”


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Samantha Sorensen

Samantha Sorensen presented her paper, "'I came to love myself in defiance': Embodied Political Resistance in Kincaid's Autobiography of My Mother" at the Literature and Social Justice conference at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA in March 2015.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Katharine McIntyre

Katharine McIntyre presented her paper, "'Time Be Time': The Intertwined Nature of Time and Technology in William Gibson's Neuromancer" at the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association conference in Baltimore, MD on November 7, 2014.

Kristin Danella

Kristin Danella presented her paper, "Piers the Plowman: A Medieval Conservative in the Midst of 14th century English Rebellion" at the Southern Atlantic Modern Language Association last weekend (11/8).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Jon Kadjeski

Jon presented his paper, “Mercy through Catholicism: Apocrypha in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice,” at the New Voices Graduate Conference on Origins, Identity, and Authenticity at Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA in January 2014.