Gerson Reading: Kevin Barry

7:00pm April 11 (Tues.), Alumni Center, in honor of Louis Gerson*

Kevin Barry is one of Ireland’s most internationally prominent contemporary fiction writers. His novel City of Bohane, winner of the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, was described by the New York Times as “an extraordinary first novel” exhibiting “marvels of language, invention, and surprise.” His 2015 novel Beatlebone won the 2015 Goldsmiths Prize, awarded to British and Irish fiction that extends the possibilities of the novel. Beatlebone is also a nominee for the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award, the world’s most valuable annual literary fiction prize for books published in English. Barry has also published two collections of short stories and is co-editor and co-founder of influential annual Irish literary arts anthology, Winter Papers.

* This year’s reading will commemorate the late Louis Gerson, who died in recent months.

M.T. Anderson for the Aetna Celebration of Creative Nonfiction

On April 11 at 6:00pm, M.T. Anderson will read at the UConn Bookstore for the Aetna Celebration of Creative Nonfiction. Anderson has written a wide variety of titles including works of fantasy and satire for a range of ages. Winning the National Book Award in 2006, he is the author of fifteen novels including Thirsty (1997), Avenue Q, or, The Smell of Danger (2010), and four picture books, Handel, Who Knew What He Liked (2001), and The Serpent Came to Gloucester (2006). Sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing.

Digital Humanities Colloquium

Digital Humanities Colloquium: Jonathan Dickstein and Elisabeth Buzay

Tuesday, April 11, 5 p.m., Austin 246, Digital English Lab


“Anxiety and the Second-Order Logic of Humanistic Algorithmic Criticism”

Jonathan Dickstein (Adjunct Instructor, Dept. of English)

Humanities appear to be studies of humans and their artifacts carried out according to speculative methods. Rigid rule-obeying or algorithmic approaches to these humanistic studies therefore seem contradictory by definition. Nonetheless, a crucial dimension of the digital humanities depends on the possibility of such algorithmic approaches. Does this point entail that digital humanities themselves make up a contradictory domain? I answer to the negative insofar as I want to argue that humanistic algorithmic criticism must be grasped through a second-order logic. What this argument entails is that the interval between a descriptive/structural account of a text and an interpretative one may be measured with reference to the essential psychosocial experience of anxiety (as defined by Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis). The culturo-political implication of this argument involves the extent to which such an experience, in contrast to that yielded by traditional humanistic practices, inspires us to have a unique kind of courage in our worldly encounters.


“Mapping Fictional French Worlds”

Elisabeth Buzay (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Literatures, Cultures & Languages)

While DH mapping tools have been used to represent aspects of literary works, and may visualize real-world sites or imaginary worlds, in my DH project, I am working to effectively and usefully combine visualizations of both of these types of locations. In the works I study—French medieval romances and contemporary French fantasy novels—the fictional universes encompass both real-world and otherworld (imaginary) locations. My project focuses on visualizing how these literary universes are structured, and more particularly mapping how certain types of objects, which function as means of communication in these works, circulate throughout these universes. In this talk I will explain the ongoing development and process of my project, the affordances and limitations of the DH tools I am using, and some of the challenges I have encountered as I develop these maps.

Twelfth Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing

The University of Connecticut’s First-Year Writing Program will host its Twelfth Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing on Friday, April 7, 2017. Our theme for this year is “Humility and Conviction,” and we’re honored to have John Duffy, Francis O’Malley Director of the Notre Dame University Writing Program, as our keynote speaker.

Regularly updated information about this year’s conference is available at

Please send questions to

Lisa Blansett Workshop on Fake News

English Department faculty member Lisa Blansett gave a presentation “Information Literacy in the Age of Fake News and Alternative Facts” on March 23 to determine the credibility of today’s news sources. In the workshop, Blansett demonstrated how easy it is to fabricate a story and present it as real and accurate information, and she encouraged her students to be critical of the available news sources.

Gina Barreca elected to Mark Twain House and Museum Board of Trustees

Professor Gina Barreca elected to Mark Twain House and Museum Board of Trustees.

Dr. Barreca earned her BA from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named an Alumni Scholar. She went on to receive her MA from Cambridge University as a Reynold’s Fellow and her PhD from the City University of New York. She is a professor of English and Feminist Theory at UConn, where she has been recognized for her excellence in teaching.

Barreca has also appeared on such television programs as The Today ShowCNN, and Oprah to discuss her views on gender, power, politics, and humor. Barreca is a syndicated columnist; her weekly columns for The Hartford Courant have been published in major newspapers across the country and globe, including The New York TimesCosmopolitan, and The Independent of London. Comedian Rachel Dratch says Barreca’s latest book, “If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?”: Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times, “contains everything a good friend would provide: honesty, insight, female camaraderie, and a lot of laughs.”

“We are thrilled to have Gina Barreca serve on our Board of Trustees,” said Joel Freedman, President of The Mark Twain House & Museum’s board. “She brings a welcome energy, enthusiasm, knowledge, and good humor to the museum. My fellow board members and I look forward to working with her and know The Mark Twain House & Museum will benefit greatly from her input and presence.”

EGSA outside speaker Kevin Ohi

Kevin Ohi will present “‘The Make-Believe of a Beginning’: The Novel and Questions of Inception” on April 3 at 4pm in the Stern Lounge. Ohi is a professor of English at Boston College.


“Looking at a series of openings of novels by Sterne, Austen, Dickens, George Eliot, Flaubert, and Proust, the paper will ask whether the “beginning of the novel” might mark a crisis as definitional for the genre as that which, in poetics, Giorgio Agamben calls “the end of the poem.” Turning, perhaps, to the curiously self-grounding gestures of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and to Henry James’s theorization of the novel through the complex, contradictory, often baffled search for particular novels’ “germs,” it will attempt to explore some of the consequences of what Eliot calls  “the make-believe of a beginning,” in which the novel as a genre confronts a fundamental structure of writing.”


Contact for questions about the presentations.

Congratulations to Sara Austin and Amanda Greenwell

Sara Austin has been awarded the Children’s Literature Association’s Hannah Beiter Graduate Student Research Grant for archival research at University of California, Riverside. She will explore the Eaton Collection for her dissertation project, “The Evolution of Monsters in Contemporary American Children’s and Young Adult Culture.”

Amanda Greenwell is the winner of Children’s Literature Association’s Graduate Student Essay Award for Jessie Willcox Smith’s Critique of Teleological Girlhood in ‘The Seven Ages of Childhood.”