Special Events and Programs 2014-2015
New Kids on the Block
In September, Dr. Osteen and social supervisor Leslie Gilden hosted a welcome party for our new faculty, Drs. Mangiavellano, Monson-Rosen, Wilson and Wright. Drinks were drunk; speeches were spoken; eats were eaten; enjoyment was enjoyed. And all manner of things were well.
Rogues, Revenge, and Repartee
Drs. Crockett and Lobo organized the annual visit by the American Shakespeare Center troupe during Parents’ Weekend in September. The motleys performed three plays from their Method in Madness Tour: Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Once again the performances were well attended: for Hamlet, all but one of the 335 seats in McManus Theater were filled (quiz: how many attended?). Much Ado stirred up much ado, drawing 220; Faustus lured 185 to sell their souls. These plays were the thing! In six in-class workshops for English and Honors Program courses, the actors worked directly with our students, teaching them the trade, answering questions about the shows, and sharing their experiences. These performances and workshop embody the benefits of a liberal-arts education at its best.
Pages and Sages
LoCoLitSo organized two popular events designed to build interest in and enthusiasm for literature on campus. The first (co-sponsored with the Writing Department and co-organized with Professor Lucas Southworth) was a Bookmaking Workshop and Poetry Reading with MC Hyland on October 28, 2014. More than 40 people attended the event with Hyland, who runs DoubleCross Press, a small poetry publisher that issues handmade books. Hyland (and eight Loyola students) made words in a different way by reading their poetry. An exhibit of more than 50 handmade books embellished the occasion.
The second event was a roundtable discussion on The Great Gatsby, held on November 17, 2014. Squires Sean Creedon and Wes Peters (class of ‘16), who titled this event “Notes on a Page,” would like to make it a regular occurrence. The idea is to bring together faculty from different disciplines to discuss and debate a major literary work. This inaugural roundtable featured Sir Paul Lukacs from English, Sir Richard Boothby from Philosophy, and Sir Doug Harris from Political Science, chivalrous knights all, discussing whether and why Fitzgerald’s iconic novel remains relevant. The event was attended by more than 30 students, who were seen afterward rowing boats against the current.
Ya’ll Come! Of Corncobs and Critics
In October, faculty convened for a Scholarly Engagements colloquium to discuss Dr. Osteen’s essay on William Faulkner’s scandalous novel Sanctuary and film noir. Forbidden sex, perjury, kidnaping, murder: it was all there (in the novel, that is). Colleagues banded together to detect where Osteen could trim his sprawling essay. In late March, this doughty crew reconvened to converse about Dr. Girard’s sparkling piece about J. Saunders Redding (a founder of African American literary studies), New (old!) Critics and black poets. Our department’s old critics found themselves stimulated and renewed; no corncobs were required.
That is not the name of a South Asian political party or a new dance fad, but the title of the 2014 English Department feast, which mashed up foods from India, Indonesia and Italy into a delicious stew. The theme was “Laughing Across the World,” a title appropriate to the Senior Honors Seminar topic, Humor Studies. Mirth and melodies were abundant throughout the evening of December 8th. The brisk weather added a frisson to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” sung by students Tommy O’Donnell (‘15) and Anna DeBlasio (‘15), accompanied by Dr. Cole. Drs. Abromaitis and Osteen then parried vocally on “Anything You Can Do,” for which Dr. O had written “improved” lyrics. In what was likely a global first, Dr. O sang the word “micturate.” Following that duel (judged a draw), Wes Peters (‘16) accompanied himself on the tender ballad “Don’t Shoot Me, Santa Claus,” which did succeed in warding off his violent death. Next Dr. O sang about a very bad day (fleeing lover, car wreck, incarceration), but dramatically assured everyone that he remained cool. Not! Then Dr. Julius Lobo, accompanied by Brendan O’Brien (‘15) led the tittering throng in a rousing rendition of “Bombay Meri Hai,” a tribute to the city where “ladies are nice and gents are full of spice.” The musical program concluded with “Joy to the World” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Before the distinguished repast was devoured, the seminar students, along with administrative assistant Cathy Carroll, and Drs. Norman and Ellis, bravely performed “Ghar Jayegi”—a sample of Bollywood dancing. English work study student Tara Propa had trained these willing, albeit somewhat inept, troupers in this tribute to Terpsichore. A few of the gyrations, such as Tommy O’Donnell’s break dance interlude, seemed to derive from the Bronx rather than from Mumbai; still, one had to admire the dancers’ boll. . . ywood.
Appetites whetted, the masses queued up for chow, which included Indian dishes (chicken tikka masala, cinnamon basmati rice), Indonesian yummies (vegetarian stew and a scrumptious fruit salad), and Italian munchies (spinach rigatoni, lasagna, pizza fritta and pastries). The dishes sat harmoniously beside each other on the trays and in the tummies.
Then came jokes and more jokes, as faculty and students tried their hands (and feet) at standup comedy: Dr. Wilson relayed a naughty double-entendre; Dr. Wright spun a yarn about Oscar Wilde; Amanda Jenks, Virginia Calistro, Annie Waschko and others split our sides. As in Special Olympics, everyone got a prize, although some of the awards, such as Most Mediocre Joke, Joke Inspiring the Loudest Crickets, and Most Pretentiously Literary Joke, were perhaps less than entirely welcome. Nevertheless, all eighty or so attendees tittered, tee-heed, giggled, guffawed, chortled and chuckled their heads off.
Tintinnabulation and Thumping Hearts
In late March, students and faculty, led by Drs. Miller and Mangiavellano, undertook a Macabre Readathon as part of the Relay for Life (by way of gruesomely depicted deaths). As always, students and faculty voted on the text; this year’s winner was the Divine Edgar. For ten-plus hours students and faculty read from the horrifying works of Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe. Yo! The intriguing suggestion that the last reader be gradually bricked into a small chamber, or that each reader be suspended over a pit, with a pendulum saw above, was vetoed by department killjoys. Rumors that one reading was interrupted by a loudly beating heart beneath the Boulder Café floor have not been verified.
Special Events and Programs 2013-2014
“A round unvarnish’d tale deliver”
The American Shakespeare Center touring troupe visited Loyola again in late September, and performed all three plays in their “The World Is Mine Oyster” 25th Anniversary Tour. In the past, these exuberant thespians have leavened their Bardic repasts with the flavors of other early modern playwrights, but this year it was All Will All the Time. The production of I Henry VI drew 215, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, 162; Othello filled the theater. There’s nothing like a good murder to put rear-ends in seats. Drs. G. Lobo and Bryan Crockett organized this spectacle.
“[T]he splash, the forsaken cry”
Loyola alumnus and well-known writer Rafael Alvarez visited Dr. Crockett’s EN 101 class on Oct. 15th. The students had read and prepared responses to his story “The Long Vietnam of My Soul,” alongside Flannery O’Connor’s “Parker’s Back” and Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts.” Mr. Alvarez talked about his story, the writing process, and the vicissitudes of the writing life; students asked questions to which he gave frank, thoughtful answers. Meanwhile, dogs went on with their doggy lives and the torturer’s horse scratched its innocent behind on a tree.
You Can Go Home Again
The English Alumni Career Panel took place on Monday, October 21st. It featured brief presentations and a Q & A with five English alumni, Elizabeth Berry (‘12), sales and marketing, Baltimore Convention Center; Olivia Ceccarelli (‘10), project manager, Division of Neighborhood Revitalization, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; Nadia Firozvi (‘04), policy advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Kevin Hattrup (‘04), English teacher, Calvert Hall; Anna Idler (‘12), account coordinator, Bravo Group.
At this well-attended and successful event, nostalgia jostled with promise as students learned about the wide variety of jobs and career paths our graduates pursue. Ms. Idler wrote about it for the Bravo Group’s blog: http://bravochat.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/back-to-college-loyolas-english-alumni-jobs-panel/. The panel was organized by the Student Futures Committee: Drs. Cole, Norman, and Girard.
Where Have All the Books Gone?
From January 14th-Feb. 5th, visitors to the Loyola-Notre Dame Library were treated to a literary and visual feast: an exhibit of books and materials created by the students in Dr. Cole’s course, EN 369, The Novel in America. Interested parties, such as deans, may view the exhibit online at
The exhibit was also profiled in Loyola Magazine (online), Jan. 17, 2014 (see
Spotlighted in the same issue is the redoubtable Dr. Cole, wearing a striking black outfit and a nice smile.
Plasmatic Chaucer, Metamorphic McCay
Our departmental Scholarly Engagements colloquia continued with conversations about two faculty members’ works in progress. On October 25th, Dr. Forni’s paper prompted faculty to ponder why there aren’t more adaptations of Chaucer’s work. Middle English! Bevs! Snacks! High-toned discourse! On April 11th, Dr. Miller shared his work-in-progress on early animation. Colleagues were most intrigued by the distinction he presented between the plasmatic and the metamorphic. We were particularly drawn to Winsor McCay’s rendering of the Lusitania’s sinking; several attendees even underwent intellectual metamorphoses during this animated conversation.
Potayto, Potahto, Tomayto, Tomahto
The Department held its annual Holiday Feast on December 9th. That was the “real” date, but as guests entered Hug Lounge, they were transported to early twentieth-century Paris, where they became honored guests at Gertrude Stein’s literary salon. Time was regained. Gerty herself (impersonated by Alex Creange, ‘14) presided over the event, along with her partner, Alice B. Toklas (Dr. Norman), and an array of modernist illuminati, including Ernie (Vicki Miciotta ‘14), Scott F. (Kerry Rogers; Zelda was invisible), Jimmy Joyce (Kate Tafelski), Josephine Baker (Laura McCormack), ol’ Ez (Grace Pasco), et al. As usual, faculty and students worked together on the meal and the music—even more appropriately than usual, given the theme of Dr. Norman’s seminar: collaboration.
Dr. Norman’s students conducted a “genius scavenger hunt.” Although no geniuses were discovered, we all pretended to attain that status (faculty have a lot of practice at it). Attendees were invited to a booth where they could be photographed with one of the artistes.
La musique? Le jazz, bien sûr! The selections from the 1920s and ‘30s spotlighted collaborations. Dr. Miller led off with “Honeysuckle Rose,” accompanied by Drs. Cole, Osteen and Lobo. Miller and Osteen then delivered a duet on “Side by Side” that concluded with an awkward attempt to perform the can-can. Next, Osteen’s performance of “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (from Porgy and Bess) injected a satanic note into the orthodox proceedings, eliciting audience participation on the refrain of this satirical ditty. The coup de théâtre was a duet by Osteen and Abromaitis that altered the lyrics of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” to reflect their divergent literary tastes; at least they decided to call the calling off off. Dr. Cole ably provided accompaniment, along with a few snarky remarks. After these secular selections, all participants, led by Anna De Blasio ‘15 and Wes Peters ‘16, joined in signing “Winter Wonderland” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”
The throng then queued up to chow down on the copious comestibles. Les hors d’oeuvres included a plate of pain et fromage, olives et cornichons; les plats principaux consisted of ratatouille, pommes de terres au gratin, quiche, coq au vin, et boeuf bourguignon. Desserts: bûche de Noël, et madeleines. The deglutition of these last dainties inspired one student to begin a lengthy autobiographical novel, but that’s another story. Although attendance was a bit lower than in previous years (about 75 total), the festive gathering was a lovely divertissement to end the semester.
Scrabbling and Snacking
The literary society’s activities were more modest than usual. Nonetheless, under the guidance of Dr. Girard, the group sponsored two events. October 15th, it held a Study Break featuring free coffee, tea, hot cocoa, cookies, and snacks, as well games such as Scrabble®, to give students an opportunity to relax and socialize during midterms. More than 25 students participated. On April 14th, Dr. Girard organized an executive planning meeting (attended by 24 students) to kick off next year’s LoCoLitSo events, at which Wes Peters and Sean Creedon (‘16) were appointed co-Presidents for 2014-2015. Yes, Virginia, there are male English majors, and these energetic young men have exciting ideas for events next year.
I Hope They Didn’t Talk with Their Mouths Full
The African and African American Studies program’s Food for Thought series, directed by Dr. Norman, hosted two events per semester. They were quite successful in terms of both turnout and discussion quality. About 100 people participated, and it was a savory blend of students, faculty, and staff/administration. The events brought energy—and a couple of recruits—to the AAAS program. The featured guests were Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead (Communication), with “Quilted Narratives: Using Social Media to Tell and Share our Stories” (Sept.); Dr. Robert W. Simmons III (Teacher Education), “Looking Beyond The Empty Desk in the Third Row: African American Males in American Schools” (Nov.); Dr. Cole (English), “Reading Black Comics” (February); and Andrea Awde (Global Studies & AAAS ’14), “Race and the American Prison System, Fair Housing Policy, and Drug Sentencing: Epiphanies from My ACLU Internship” (March). What, no cookbooks?
Not Just the Usual Suspects
As documented in the Baltimore Sun, Loyola Magazine, and on the Loyola homepage, Dr. Miller spearheaded the Film Studies Program’s acquisition of nearly 800 new titles from Video Americain, perhaps the best video store on the East Coast. FS faculty negotiated with the owners to obtain the heart of the store’s vast and varied inventory, which includes a large number of coveted Criterion Collection DVDs, as well as works by major directors, samples of diverse genres, films in a myriad of foreign languages (from French to Farsi) and hard-to-find older movies. The support this project inspired was a heartening reminder of the Loyola community’s broad engagement with and interest in film and media studies. Donations by every humanities department, four different academic programs, and dozens of individuals came to nearly $22,000, enough to purchase the inventory and cover the L/ND Library’s processing costs (a small portion of the acquisitions will reside in the Language Learning Center in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures). This project proved that the needs of one little college do amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Here’s looking at you, Nick!
Dr. Miola co-organized the Mary under Duress Conference, held on March 20-22. Fr. Linnane welcomed the scholars to the conference on Thursday; Drs. James Buckley and Ramone Espejo-Saavedra, and Dean James Miracky chaired sessions. It was a small but select number, averaging about 25 for each of the five panels, including guests from town, clergy (Fr. Ascanis, vocations director for the Archdiocese), faculty and graduate students from JHU and Loyola. Praise was uniform for the quality of the presentations, the interdisciplinary nature of the inquiry, and the well-managed venues—including Loyola, Evergreen Museum, the George Peabody Library, and the Brody Commons Learning Center at Hopkins, with side trips to the Mount Vernon Club, the Basilica, and the Garrett Mansion. The concert on Friday night at the Basilica was a real highlight. George Miller and Dr. Daniel McDavid led about 80 Loyola students in a triumphant one-hour program that featured traditional hymns (Salve, Regina, Ave Maria), Icelandic (!) hymns, and an original composition by Dr. McDavid. All in all, it was a highly stimulating and successful conference on a topic of enduring importance—the Virgin Mary in early modern England and Spain—and one of special interest to a Jesuit university. The jury is still out on whether the conference mitigated Mary’s distress.
Prisoners of Aslan
On March 29-30th, LoCoLitSo and the Cura Personalis Committee sponsored the annual departmental Readathon, our contribution to the Relay for Life. Dr. Miller and stalwart student Megan Byrne ‘15 were the mover and the shaker, respectively, but numerous students and faculty participated. With the assistance of Puddleglum and Hwin, valiant lectors staged a ten-plus-hour reading of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, which was inexplicably chosen over the perennially nominated but oft-defeated Moby-Dick (that white whale remains elusive) and Dickens’s Great Expectations. Enhanced by the sale of bright purple t-shirts, the Readathon raised $2,131.48 (a 90% increase over last year), a good portion of it coming from a mysterious donor named Provis. Afterward, hoarse participants exchanged hugs and these comforting words: “Courage, dear heart.”
This spring, the Cura Personalis Committee, chaired by Dr. McGlamery, inaugurated a program this spring in which new majors have lunch with faculty. The chair, who attended two, can verify that these were low-key, but valuable events: they proved to first- and second-year students that not all English faculty are not crusty pedants, tweedish ogres or manic Gradgrinds but real people who enjoy scarfing lasagna and peach pie like everyone else. We bow to no one when it comes to acquiring soup stains on ties! In all, 15 new majors lunched with faculty members.
I Don’t Want an Intern! I Want a Real Doctor!
The English Internship Panel took place on Tuesday, April 8th. In the first hour, the event featured presentations by two area employers: Sue Lin Chong (The Annie E. Casey Foundation) and Marianne Williams ‘14 (Stone House Publishing; MD Wineries intern) and current student interns Tom Flanagan ‘14 (ABET intern), Molly Corry ‘14 (UB/Event planning intern), and Courtney Cousins ‘14 (City Paper intern, Christmas at Environment Ohio intern, and Enoch Pratt Library volunteer). In the second hour, Ms. Chong and two English alums (Colleen Depman and Brianna Panzica ‘12) led an interactive resume review with students. Although attendance was a little low, student attendees voiced their appreciation for this chance to network and receive advice from community members and alumni. At the end all joined in singing “Kum Bah Yah.”
The Envelope, Please
The spring awards reception was held on May 1st. The chair announced the paper awards and other honors listed above and, as in years past, each faculty member presented a book to a student in her or his upper-division course (funds having been supplied by the Center for the Humanities), and Dr. G. Lobo distributed honor cords and other goodies to members of Sigma Tau Delta. The Department also recognized seniors who were moving on to graduate or professional schools, had landed an internship, or who had secured one of those rare treasures, an actual paying job. The awards reception applauds intellectual excellence and gives students hearty pats on the back as they enter the post-University world to learn, lead and serve. Photos of the event have been tattooed on several students’ backs and shoulders, and will also be posted on the department bulletin boards and website.
Jolly Good Fellows
Following the Awards Reception, graduating seniors and faculty attended a cocktail party and dinner in Hug Lounge organized by Dr. Forni and Cathy Carroll. Dr. Lukacs supplied the wine; everyone else supplied the gossip, gags, and good luck hugs. Nobody can deny that it was a good time!
Special Events and Programs 2012-2013
If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On!
The American Shakespeare Center’s traveling troupe visited Loyola again on September 26th-28th, staging three plays and visiting several classes, thanks to the generous support of the Center for the Humanities. In this, their seventeenth consecutive year of presenting shows here, these thespians performed a wild version of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (incest! mass murder! pop songs at intermission!), along with two bardic staples, Twelfth Night and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Drs. G. Lobo and B. Crockett organized the event.
Croquet on the Quad - A LoCoLitSo Event
On October 3rd, students, faculty, and Dr. Forni’s sons played croquet on the quad. Cathy Carroll, our resident croquet aficionado, kicked off the event by showing everyone the ropes—or wickets. Although the participants’ enthusiasm was not matched by their expertise (except for Dr. Norman, who proved to be a fierce malletman), the dozen or so players enjoyed the games, even as they spryly intercepted (sometimes with their noggins) stray football throws from Jesse and Jack Glanz—thereby proving proved that croquet can be a contact sport.
A Ghostly Little Feast
On December 10th, students and faculty celebrated the holidays with “A Ghostly Little Feast.” As always, the theme emerged from the topic of the Senior Honors Seminar. Given that this year’s seminar was devoted to Dickens and Film, taught by Dr. McGlamery, a Christmas gala featuring the specters of Christmases past and present seemed appropriate.
Seminar students dressed as Oliver Twist’s thieves darted in and out of the crowd; these scamps then led the eager group (around 100, all told) in a pickpocket game. Once all possessions had been restored to their owners, the urchins unveiled a slide show displaying photos of faculty and students celebrating yuletides of yore. Here was a cuddly Julius Lobo pounding a xylophone; there was a surprisingly hirsute twentyish Mark Osteen standing sullenly beside a Christmas fir; over there was a beaming baby Gayla McG in overalls and bib (de rigueur infantwear in Oklahoma). The student photos were more numerous and jsut as endearing.
Once all “aws” had been expressed, a glee club of faculty (Osteen, Cole, Crockett, J. Lobo, McGlamery, Miller and Michael) and students (Leah Rosenzweig, Gianna Mautone, Kacie Plants, Lauren Hallman) entertained the throng with robust renditions of “The Roast Beef of Old England” and several carols, the latter with improved lyrics by Bard Crockett. Ebenezer Osteen (accompanied by Jean “Ivory” Cole) tickled the masses with a melodramatic performance of “I Hate People,” from the musical Scrooge, a selection well-suited to both singer and season.
Although England is not renowned for its cuisine, the repast was more than satisfactory: crispy turkey and stuffing, herbed potatoes, carrots with horseradish, dates wrapped in bacon, and Brussels sprouts (for the occasion renamed the English metropolis). The pièce de résistance was Miss Havisham’s wedding cake, complete with a clock set at 8:40 and small figures of Miss H and the evil Compeyson (with the requisite spiders and mice - plasice, of course). Animated conversations accompanied the deglutition, as faculty and students exchanged stories (some of them true), jests and advice.
When all were sated, the remaining celebrants gathered to sing “The First Noel” and “Silent Night,” the latter featuring a record-breaking glissando on “Pee-eeace.” As the hordes dispersed, one young man piped up to offer this benediction: “God bless us, every one!”
View the slideshow >>
Gin a Body Meet a Body
In January, Drs. Michael and J. Lobo, using funds granted by the Center for the Humanities, brought a handful of hardy students to Oxford, MD, to attend the annual Robert Burns Supper. After a raucous bagpipe greeting, the guests consumed something called Cullen Skink Soup (mmm . . . skinks), as well as the inevitable haggis. Brave-hearted senior Frankie Gerham led the culinary charge by delivering Burns’s “Address to a Haggis” (Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, / Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race,” etc). After devouring the neeps and tatties, the clan recited a raft of Robbie B’s poems. That portion of the evening was a terrific way to show students that poetry can be part of a living tradition, not just something lying there on a page; it also brought home the truth in William Carlos Williams’s famous declaration, “if it ain’t a pleasure, it ain’t a poem.”
How He Carried Himself
On March 20th, poet/memoirist/novelist Jimmy Santiago Baca visited Loyola for a reading and several class visits. Thanks to the indefatigable labors of Dr. Giuseppina Lobo, the visit was a smashing success. An estimated eighty students and faculty attended the reading. Many students were moved and charmed by his work, by his pep talks, and by his lengthy but pointed anecdotes about his experiences inside and outside of prison. Dr. Lobo planned this event to coincide with her new sections of EN 203 devoted to prison literature.
Wickets, Tiles and Pies
This was the most active year in memory for LoCoLitSo; the society’s collaborations with the Cura Personalis and Student Futures faculty committees guided many majors toward career goals and shored up our community spirit. Besides the aforementioned Croquet contests, the folowing activites were sponsored by LoCoLitSo.
On October 10th, 22 a dozen students attended an alumni panel presentation featuring five alums in various careers and career stages, including law, sports marketing, student development, writing, editing, and technology. Attending students not heard about the successful if circuitous paths of grads in action; they also learned about and practiced informal networking and mentoring. Along with sage advice, pizza was consumed.
On January 23rd, LoCoLitSo and the Student Futures Committee held a workshop in conjunction with the Career Center. The twelve attending students were enlightened about career planning. Afterward, faculty sponsors vowed to mount a more concerted effort to involve all Humanities studies in career planning. More pizza was consumed.
On February 19th, LoCoLitSo sponsored “Scrabble the Scholars,” in which students and faculty engaged in some friendly word competition—while again wolfing down the ubiquitous Italian pies.
Interns, in Turns
On April 8th the Student Futures committee convened a panel of five student interns (Courtney Cousins and Emily Barbo from EN 099, Gianna Mautone from EN 097, Jazmine Carey from EN 098, and Ryan.) They were joined by Vicki Franz, Emily’s supervisor from Stone House Publishing; Martha Amenti, Gianna’s supervisor from City College High School; and Danielle Baron, Ryan’s supervisor from ABET. After Dr. Cole described the English internship program, each panelist recounted her/his experience and provided one “do” and one “don’t” for prospective interns. Eight students attended, as did Dr. Norman. Even more pizza was consumed: by May, every student in LoCoLitSo had gained seven pizza pounds.
Bennets Beat Whalers, Send Milton to Minors
On March 13th, in collaboration with the Cura Personalis Committee, LoCoLitSo sponsored the departmental Readathon, which constitutes our contribution to the Relay for Life. Organized chiefly by Dr. Miller and Dr. G. Lobo, this year’s text was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The text was selected by a student vote in which Austen’s novel narrowly edged Moby-Dick and Paradise Lost. (I’m pretty sure the voting was rigged: in a fair fight, Satan and Ishmael would whoop up on the effete Mr. Darcy.) Faculty and students took advantage of this chance to practice their British accents as they read in half-hour stints from 7 am to 7 pm in the Student Center, collecting donations for a worthy cause while sharing Austen’s delightfully ironic text with largely uncomprehending passersby.
Study is Like the Heaven’s Glorious Sun
Also in March, Drs. Miola, G. Lobo, Miller and Mr. Lou Hinkel accompanied 20 students (and the esteemed Mrs. Carroll) to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. The group witnessed The Two Noble Kinsmen by Shakespeare (and John Fletcher, also known as “the player to be named later”), and Wycherly’s The Country Wife; they also spoke with actors and learned much about the Center. “A riotous time was had by all,” writes Dr. Miller. One hopes that “riotous” is merely a figure of speech. This enlightening excursion was generously funded by Loyola’s Center for the Humanities.
On December 10th, 2011 about 100 students and faculty came together to perform, to dance, and, of course, to eat. This year’s theme was drawn from Dr. Osteen’s course, Modern Classic Revisions, which paired texts and their rewritings (e.g., Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea). The seminar’s students designed the invitation, program, events and menu, drawing food selections primarily from Southern US cuisine: red beans and rice, corn bread, barbecued chicken, and sweet potato pie, among other down-home goodies. The seminar students (and a few brave faculty) dressed in costumes adapted from the course texts: there was Mr. Rochester, disguised as a Gypsy (Bill Callis); here was the carbuncular Christopher Chubb, from Peter Carey’s My Life as a Fake (Thomas Johnson); yonder was ol’ Anse Bundren (Chris McCune), smiling broadly to show off his brand new teeth. And was that Prospero (Dr. Robert Miola) and his lovely daughter, Miranda (Rose Miola)? Two seminar students, Chris Taylor and Bill Callis, were also members of the Loyola Jazz Combo, and, along with Dr. Osteen, they played several jazz and blues numbers to begin the evening. These appetite-whetting performances were capped by an amusing short Christmas play written and performed by students in Dr. Crockett’s Tom Stoppard seminar. Then it was time to do the limbo! As the Combo played, students and faculty impersonated Elastic Man and Woman; Dr. Miller was the limbo-est pedagogue. No injuries were incurred. After dinner, the throng was further entertained by a student-faculty vocal group and by more music from the Combo. The evening ended with a blues shuffle called “Great Wheel” (from Suzan-Lori Parks’s Getting Mother’s Body) that had the whole crew singing and clapping along. To paraphrase the words of another modern literary luminary: it was all right; as a matter of fact, it was a gas.
- 2010: A Winter's Wasteland
This year’s Christmas Feast grew out of Dr. Nick Miller’s senior honors seminar on T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and took as its theme “A Winter Wasteland.” The result was a memorable event that several colleagues called among the best feasts ever. As in past years, the food was prepared entirely by teams of faculty and students. The members of the seminar, dressed in costume as characters from Eliot’s poem, performed ragtime and jazz music, taught a flapper dance (“The Bunny Hug”), and led teams of attendees in a Waste Land-inspired word game. Dinner included such Eliotic treats as “Dry Salvages Clam Chowder,” “Get-the-Beauty-of-It Hot Gammon” (fresh roasted ham), “That-Corpse-You-Planted-in-Your Garden Sprouts,” “Unreal Ziti,” and “I-Didn’t-Mince-My-Words Mincemeat Pies.” The evening was capped off by an appearance of T. S. Eliot himself (Prof. Miller), reading a decidedly dour Christmas poem, and a rousing rendition of the beloved carol, “Walkin’ in a Winter Waste Land,” with parody lyrics concocted by the seminar students. Just over 120 students and faculty attended the Feast. The Feast fosters community within the English Department and appreciation for diverse forms of literature. Support from the Center for the Humanities was gratefully acknowledged in the student-designed program.