English Department Alum’s Thesis Published in Journal

The English Department is excited to highlight our recent alum, Dylan Schellenberg (20C), whose senior thesis work, titled “A Retinal Twitch, A Misfired Nerve Cell: The Neuroscience of The Crying of Lot 49,” will be published in the Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction journal.

Initially, Schellenberg came to Emory for the great neuroscience program, but by his sophomore year, he realized he was missing his high school English classes. Moving forward, he chose to double major in English and Neuroscience and Behavior Biology (NBB) to further explore both of his interests. “The senior thesis really ended up being the perfect opportunity to realize this long-held goal of mine of independently exploring science and literature,” Schellenberg says.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the process of delving into more and more obscure/esoteric texts in the scholarly pursuit to dig up these odd moments throughout history that have been largely passed over by others,” he explained, “it makes you feel like some academic sleuth.” When asked about advice for English majors interested in writing a thesis, Schellenberg emphasized the importance of reading a lot but reading smart. He explained, “it’s fun to go exploring in your research and learn and discover new things, but you also must be smart with your time, considering this is college and you have a load of other responsibilities to fulfill on top of your thesis.”

Despite the pandemic interrupting his plans to stay in Atlanta, he has continued to explore his interests by reading and writing what he finds interesting. He looks forward to his future career whether that includes medical school to become a doctor or graduate school to become an English teacher. Either way, he plans to continue his literary pursuits by drafting an essay on Pynchon and hopes to be published again in the near future. Emory’s English Department is proud to list Schellenberg amongst our alumni and we’re sure his future will contain a great deal of success in both the literary and scientific fields. Those interested in reading his work can read his published article online.

Exciting New English Classes for a Unique New Semester

The Emory English Department is excited to welcome new and returning students for a semester truly unlike any other. With the ongoing COVID pandemic, we understand the desire for consistency in our new virtual environment, so rest assured! The English Department is still offering a course list full of interesting classes this semester! The full list of offerings can be found on the Emory Course Atlas, but we’ve highlighted a few of the relevant and unique English classes below.

ENG 290W: The Coming-of-Age Novel: Taught by graduate student Connor Larsen, this course focuses on novels starring young people in search of identity, often rebelling against their community to find a voice of their own. The novels in this course question what it means to “grow up” amid pressure to conform and constraints on an individual’s freedom.

ENG 389: Pandemic Poetry: This extremely relevant new course, taught by Professor Geraldine Higgins, responds to our current global crisis through poetry. This course is an extension of a lockdown initiative where members of the English department shared a poem a day. The course asks questions such as: Do we turn to poetry as a source of consolation or warning? Does it inspire anger or hope? In what ways do familiar lines take on new resonance in our current crises? This course will explore these questions and more.

ENG 290: Poetry and Mourning- History of English Elegy: Elegy is a lament for the dead, a song of mourning. In a tradition going back to Greek and Roman antiquity, many poets wrote elegies for the poets who preceded them as a way to mark themselves as the inheritors of the poet’s role even as they brought new materials and new themes to the genre. Taught by Professor Deborah White, this class will explore these paradoxes across the long history of elegy, giving special attention to how elegy comes to be a poetic rite of passage.

ENG 389: German Environmental Culture: With the existential crisis of global warming on the horizon,  it is clear to Professor Caroline Schaumann that we are beginning to live in a fundamentally changed world, a volatile and unknown environment we can neither control nor predict. This course will critically assess the narrative traditions that have accompanied, explained, and challenged our lives in the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch defined by human activity. It will familiarize students with current debates in the environmental humanities and investigate particular texts documenting climate change, from political critiques to climate thrillers and everything in between.

ENG 389W: Reading Communities: Led by Professor Abigail Droge, this course will embrace a remote version of a common 19th-century learning format: The Mutual Improvement Society. A principle tenet of mutual improvement was that engaging with literature was social as much as educational; friendships built around shared intellectual pursuit could keep readers going, even through difficult times. Building from archival examples of the records that such Victorian societies left behind, students will work together to form their own Mutual Improvement Society. The primary question for this course will be: how can literature help us to build community, even when we are not in the same place?