The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2011  Thursday, 2 November 2000.

From:           Hardy Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 1 Nov 2000 11:21:19 -0500
Subject:        Graduate Fellowships-Renaissance

[Editor's Note: This e-mail was mass-mailed by Gary Taylor of the Hudson
Strode Program in Renaissance Studies This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I
print it here for those who may not have received it. -HMC]

From:           Gary L. Taylor [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Date:           Wednesday, November 01, 2000 11:12 AM
Subject:        Graduate Fellowships--Renaissance

Two years ago my letter addressed prejudices about the South. Sometimes
such bigotry is disguised as a concern for standards. I'm sure YOU would
never make assumptions about the quality of an academic department,
based on mere geography--but some of your students might. For instance,
"Well, it's obvious that there are excellent scholars at Alabama
teaching Renaissance courses: Sharon O'Dair (Class, Critics, and
Shakespeare: Bottom Lines in the Culture Wars) and Gary Taylor
(Castration: An Abbreviated History of Western Manhood) both have books
being published next month by major presses (Routledge, and Michigan),
and Celia Daileader's Eroticism on the Renaissance Stage (Cambridge) has
just received enthusiastic reviews in both Shakespeare Quarterly and
Shakespeare Survey. BUT a graduate student will have to take OTHER
courses too, outside the Renaissance, and those will be .  . . well,
what can you expect in Alabama?"

What graduate students can expect of other courses they might take in
this department is the same standard of scholarship and teaching they
get in their Renaissance courses. We have, for instance, one of the best
Creative Writing Programs in the country. Last year, one of our faculty
(Robin Behn) received a Guggenheim for her poetry; this year, another of
our faculty (Bruce Smith), received a Guggenheim for his poetry; last
year, two of the three winners of Atlantic Monthly prizes in short
fiction were won by graduate students in this department; this year,
Michael Martone won the AWP prize in creative nonfiction for his new
book The Flatness and Other Landscapes.

Even if you have not read either of Diane Roberts' prize-winning books
(Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, and The Myth of Aunt Jemima), you
probably recognize her name and voice, because she is a regular
commentator on National Public Radio (and the BBC). Even if you have not
read Myron Tuman's several books on literacy in the information age,
your students may have used the Norton "Connect" web software he
developed, or may soon be using the electronic Norton Anthologies he is
developing. You may not have read Peter Logan's Nerves and Narratives: A
Cultural History of Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century British Prose--but
your doctor may have; it is being assigned, not only in graduate courses
on Victorian fiction, but in seminars on the history of medicine (on
both sides of the Atlantic). Philip Beidler is one of the world's
leading scholars on the relationships between American literature and
American wars; even if you haven't read any of his five beautifully
written books, you might have seen his piece on the mania for Civil War
battle re-enactments, which was featured last year by the Chronicle of
Higher Education as its "essay of the week".

Those aren't the only colleagues I'm proud to share this building with,
but I hope it's enough to make my point. It's a full-time job to keep up
with scholarship in some aspects of the Renaissance; if you're like me,
you can't keep up with all the work being done even by colleagues in
your own department, working in different specializations. So it's not
surprising that Renaissance scholars at other universities are not aware
that Alabama has one of only twenty Ph.D. programs in the United States
in applied linguistics, or that this department has just embarked on an
ambitious series of five symposia on "Literature, Race, and Ethnicity"
(beginning, next fall, with one called "Writing Race across the
Atlantic, 1500- 1700", co-directed by myself and Philip Beidler). But if
you encourage your best students to consider the Strode Program when
they are investigating M.A. or Ph.D. programs in the Renaissance, I can
guarantee that they will get a good graduate education, and not just in
the Renaissance.

And this variety within and outside the department influences, in turn,
the kind of work we do in the Renaissance. Next fall I will be
collaborating with Michael Martone, of our creative writing faculty, in
a graduate seminar on "Collaboration", ranging from Renaissance play
collaborations to the recent Greenblatt/Gallagher collaborative book on
New Historicism to the logn history of collaborations between writers
and their editors and publishers. Celia R. Daileader, at the same time,
will be leading a seminar on "Origins of Racial Discourse," to run in
conjunction with our international symposium. And next year's Strode
Seminar (the first for any new student who applies now) will be on
"Dramatic Speech": it will look at Renaissance plays as collections of
crafted speeches, and will analyze such speech from multiple
perspectives: from historical and applied linguistics to actor training,
from humanist educational theory and practice to the working insights of
contemporary writers.

If you have a good student who is interested in graduate work in the
Renaissance, please let her or him know about us. We won't disappoint

Professor Gary Taylor
Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies
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