We have several things to celebrate this spring, beyond the joys of graduation. Professor Marshall Boswell has been promoted to full professor. Boswell is a fiction writer and a scholar of the contemporary American novel who has published extensively on John Updike and David Foster Wallace. Additionally, both Professor Scott Newstok, our Shakespearean, and Professor Leslie Petty, whose field is the American novel in the nineteenth and twentieth century, have been awarded tenure. In addition to these promotions, two new faculty will be joining the department in the fall. We recently hired the highly regarded South African novelist, Mark Behr, to teach creative writing for the department. Behr’s first novel, The Smell of Apples (1995) won several awards and garnered international acclaim; his recently published third novel, Kings of the Water, is receiving excellent reviews in journals such as the Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian. Seth Rudy, who is completing his doctorate at New York University, will be joining us to teach the eighteenth-century novel as well as the poetry and prose of the long eighteenth century. In this period of cutbacks in hiring and instability in the profession, we have been extremely fortunate to have been able to promote, tenure, and actively recruit a dynamic group of fine faculty.
It has been a busy and productive period for the English department in other ways as well. Professor Michael Leslie has edited two plays by the Renaissance playwright Richard Brome for the online edition of Brome’s complete works that was launched in 2010. Professor Newstok’s book, Quoting Death in Early Modern England, was published by Palgrave in 2009 (and, like Behr’s novel, very favorably reviewed in TLS). Newstok also co-edited with Ayanna Thompson a collection of essays, Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (2010), a project that began its life as a vibrant symposium on Macbeth held at Rhodes College in 2008.
My third brief and quite eventful stint as department chair will end in June, and Marshall Boswell will take over as chair when we can coax him back from sabbatical.
In the meantime, I wish you a terrific spring and summer.
Jennifer Brady, Department Chair