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Renaissance reading group

A number of graduate students in the English department recently expressed the desire to bring faculty and graduate students together to discuss Renaissance texts and culture in a group setting as a way to encourage a sense of community and ongoing conversation, as well as to benefit collaboratively from each person’s specific expertise. Our hope is that this will lead to a fuller understanding of each reading, as our group hosts tenured faculty, lecturers, and graduate students in both medieval and Renaissance studies. The core group of Renaissance faculty are as follows: Dr. Robert Stillman, Dr. Elizabeth Jane Bellamy, Dr. Anthony Welch, and Dr. Heather Hirschfeld. Our group also benefits from the expertise of Dr. Randi Marie Aldicott and Dr. Samantha Murphy.

Writing essays remain to be a challenge to students and even the best of writers although it is an important aspect of every students academic life with Every lecturer expects the college student to be able to write good quality essays so as to be able to regard them as having grasped the subject or topic.

Our wish is to focus on some important texts that are not often a part of graduate seminars and surveys. Our semester readings are organized, in some sense, according to genre. For the first semester, we are considering prose works. We hope to move from Mary Wroth’s Urania (our first reading) to selections from Renaissance philosophy, and on to other prose writers. In future semesters, we may focus on drama or poetry, etc.

Renaissance reading group meets in 1210 McClung two Wednesdays a month from 3:30 – 4:30. This schedule gives us seven meetings throughout the semester.

January 16 and 30,February 13 and 27, March 13, and April 10 and 24.

We may modify the schedule based on Marco or other department events. I am in the process of setting up a blackboard site to post readings and will add everyone in the reading group to this site once it is available. Send me an email at if you have any particular questions or if you would like to be added to the site.