Friday 29 October 2010

What are you reading? Jennifer Evans, Peer Mentor

At the moment it seems as if the work load for 3rd year is never ending and the amount of reading I have to do in a week certainly reduces my time allowed to spend on reading books for ‘pleasure’. However, it has recently been my 21st Birthday and my Aunty bought me the collection of books nominated for the Booker Shortlist, which, as you can imagine, I was extremely happy about! So, I have tried to start to read one of them, a few pages at a time, before I go to bed. The book is called Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey. I don’t usually read Historical novels, however the cover of the book instantly grabbed me. It is the story of Olivier, the son of a French aristocrat who escaped the bloodbath of the French revolution and his servant Parrot who both travel to America to explore its notion of democracy. I have only read the first chapter so far of Olivier’s story but it already has me hooked. I think you need something that will take you away from your studies for a while, even if it is only a few pages before you go to bed!

Second Year Focus groups

If are a Second Year and you would like to be involved in Focus Groups about feedback, assessment, and curriculum design please contact

What are you reading? Dr Mike Sanders

Like a number of my colleagues I am in the fortunate position of being on research leave this semester and am taking full advantage of having more time for reading than is the case during a teaching semester.

At the moment, as part of my current research project, I'm reading Thomas Cooper's Chartist epic, The Purgatory of Suicides (1845). Written whilst Cooper was serving a prison sentence following his role in the mass strikes of 1842 and consisting of 944 Spenserean stanzas or 8,496 lines of poetry, with a cast-list that ranges from Mithridates to Mark Anthony and from Judas Iscariot to Castlereagh, it is a demanding but rewarding read.

For general interest I am alternating between James Shapiro's 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare and Rob Young's Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. The former offers a fascinating account of how Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It & Hamlet all came to be written in 1599. The latter explores the manifold ways in which folk music has been interpreted and transformed from Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams through Ewan MacColl, Shirley Collins and Nick Drake to Kate Bush and Julian Cope. Light relief is provided by a Marxist classic, in this case the collected scripts of Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel.

Following the announcement of the ConDem's Comprehensive Spending Review, which clearly aims to return Britain to the 1920s and 30s, I  have decided it is time to prepare for the coming crisis by re-reading some of the classic working-class fiction of that era, beginning with Lewis Jones' We Live and Walter Brierley's Sandwichman.

Thursday 28 October 2010

What do you do? Dr. David Alderson, EAS Research Officer

As Research Officer, I'm responsible for implementing our research strategy and for monitoring our progress in the lead-up to the next Research Excellence Framework in 2014. The latter ranks academic departments in the UK on the basis of the research they carry out, and distributes funding on the basis of that. At the moment, we are ranked joint second in the UK, and it's partly because of this that Manchester is recognised as one of the major English departments internationally. I also oversee the John Edward Taylor Fellowships which bring two eminent academics to Manchester each year in order to give lectures open to everyone and seminars to EAS postgraduate students and staff.

Joint UCU/ NUS Demo against cuts

'Fund Our Future: Stop Education Cuts' – Wed 10 Nov 2010,

Wednesday 27 October 2010

What are you reading? Rebecca Parton, Peer Mentor

At the moment I am reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for my Medieval Romance course. The North Western dialect is almost intractable without a good translation, but the alliterative verse in the original language is a joy to hear! There seems to be very little time for ‘pleasure’ reading as an English student so it is fortunate then that most of what we study I thoroughly enjoy. If pushed for my real pleasurable reading indulgence then I would have to say it is a toss-up between George Eliot and Vogue!

Being a Student Representative

University of Manchester – EAS Student Representation
Matt Crow (

There are a number of different levels of representation for students of English and American Studies at the University Manchester running from University, through Faculty and School to Subject level.  Last year I sat on the EAS taught programmes committee, the EAS staff-student liaison committee, the School Undergraduate Student Representative Committee, the School Undergraduate Programmes committee and the Faculty staff-student liaison group; all of these groups meet roughly once a semester, some more regularly.

Liaison committees act as a forum for students to express concerns, constructive criticism or praise about their courses or their experiences of study at Manchester, be this access to library resources or feeding back on developments relatively new to the University, such as student use of Blackboard.  Programme committees discuss developments and introductions to course units, among other roles. Here students can feed back on how successful they felt their particular courses ran academically and discuss proposed amendments to courses. Minutes for all meetings are documented, copies of which can be obtained from your representative; all actions taken over points raised in meetings are fed-back at the next committee where relevant.

Representatives are appointed after having nominated themselves for the EAS staff-student liaison committee and draw from both their own experiences and those of a range of other students to contribute to committee discussions; representatives can always be contacted by other students and their details are publicised throughout the year.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Lunchtime LecturEAS: Wednesday, all welcome

Lecture given by Roger Holdsworth, 1.10-1.40, Rutherford Lecture Theatre, Schuster Building, Wednesday. The topic is Shakespeare's Sonnet 144

What are you reading? Dr. Andrew Frayn

My current reading is focused on my works in progress which, broadly speaking, focus on ideas of mass culture and civilization, decline, and disenchantment.  A cheery bunch of topics, I know.  I've recently been wrestling with Niall Ferguson's The War of the World, which sees the twentieth century from 1904 to 1953 as a single, ongoing conflict.  It's magisterial in knowledge and scope, and by turns brilliant and infuriating.  That response, I think, would please Ferguson, a revisionist historian, and I'm sympathetic to his aims.  Gary Sheffield's Forgotten Victory also offers an alternative narrative of the First World War, and one which will surprise a number of you-- perhaps even most.

I'm in London currently, and my reading on the tube is Matei Calinescu's Five Faces of Modernity, a classic account of the development of European modernity and modernism which I've been meaning to get around to for some time.  In the British Library I'm reading Ford Madox Ford's The Marsden Case, a scarce novel which is a fascinating precursor to his magnum opus, the war tetralogy Parade's End; a Tom Stoppard adaptation of this series is being filmed for the BBC at the moment.

For fun I'm turning, when I have a moment, to Alasdair Gray's Old Men In Love.  Gray is a literary master-craftsman in the fullest sense; he writes wonderful, thought-provoking prose, and designs all of his books: illustrations, typesetting and all.  Poor Things and A History Maker are his most accessible, in my opinion, though Lanark: a Life in Four Books is his challenging classic.

Long Essay lecture - reminder

Lecture: 27 October, 1-2, Samuel Alexander LT
Dr Alan Rawes will be holding an information lecture to outline the
workings of the Long Essay and to answer questions.

What are you reading? Joe White, Peer Mentor Co-ordinator

At the moment, essay deadlines are looming - which means most of my reading is academic. Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, and John McLeod’s Beginning Postcolonialism are currently glaring at me, each half open, atop my desk. I also came across The History of the English Novel today, by Ernest A. Baker, which (as boring as it sounds) is a great starting point anybody preparing an essay on any English novel.

When I’m not reading through course material, I have a soft spot for Stephen King, and generally try to keep up to date with his latest. Sometimes I have a browse through an autobiography or two - I’m halfway through Clarence Clemons’ life story at the moment. He’s the saxophonist from the E Street Band (Bruce Springsteen’s backing band. I love Springsteen’s music way too much).

If you’re looking for something to read, I can highly recommend: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King. The former novel is the reason I’m studying English Literature (even though it’s an American text), and the latter, after Dracula, is probably THE definitive vampire tale (none of this Edward Cullen nonsense). Read them, and love them.

Monday 25 October 2010

What do you do? Dr. Ian Scott, Admissions Officer

As Admissions Tutor I get to plan our recruitment year-on-year, how many students on each degree, what kind of offers we make to prospective students, how we present the degrees and department at Open Days etc. In liaison with the School Admissions Office we have to plan publicity years in advance, negotiate our entrance requirements and thoroughly examine our processes each year to make sure we’re as scrupulously fair as we can be when it comes to deciding on offers. Admissions is a tricky business for us and the whole university these days. If we miscalculate either way we can end up with either too few students or, as is the danger in our case, way too many, and that has serious resource implications.

Office hours, 2010 Semester One

Office hours are times that staff members devote to meeting with students. You may come along and talk about any aspect of the course that you wish; no appointment necessary.

Undergraduate Programme Director
Dr Jerome de Groot, Room S.1.16
Tuesday 1-2, Thursday 10-11

Course Unit Directors Level 1
Dr Daniela Caselli, Room W105
CUD, Reading Literature
10-11 Wednesday, 12-1Thursday

Prof. Gale Owen-Crocker, Room S.1.11
CUD, Mapping the Medieval
Mondays 1-2, Tuesdays 1-2

Dr. David Matthews, Room S.1.6
CUD, Academic Development
Tuesday 11-12, Wednesday 12-1

Dr. Natalie Zacek, Room N2.8
CUD, American History
Tuesdays 4-5, Thursdays 3-4

Prof. Brian Ward, N112
CUD, Jamestown to James Brown
Monday 10-11, Tuesday 10-11

Course Unit Directors Level 2
Dr. Noelle Gallagher, Room S.1.25
CUD, Writing the C18
Wednesdays 12-1, Thursdays 4-6

Dr. Jerome de Groot, Room S.1.16
CUD, Power and Gender
Tuesday 1-2, Thursday 10-11

Dr. David Matthews, Room S.1.6
CUD, Chaucer
Tuesday 11-12, Wednesday 12-1

Dr. David Alderson, Room W118
CUD, Gender, Sexuality and Culture
5-6 Monday, 1-2 Tuesday

Dr. Michael Bibler, Room N1.08
CUD, America in the 1940s and 1950s

1.2-30 Tuesday, 11-12 Wednesday

Dr. Jennie Chapman, Room W.1.09
CUD, American Literature and Social Criticism
Thursday 2-4

Research Seminar, Weds 4-5, Poetry Centre

EAS and Critical MASS welcome Judith Houck to the seminar series.  Her title is 'Treating Men at a Lesbian Health Clinic: Identity Politics, Feminist Organizing and Women's Health Care Provision'. All Welcome

EAS Student Representatives 10/11

To discuss student representation please contact Dr. Daniela Caselli,

1st years
Christine Homer
Talitha Colchester
2nd Year
Joseph White (EL)

3rd Year
Abigail Davis
Sarah Moran (EL)
Clare Evans (EL)
Charukie.Dharmaratne (?)
Rachel Gledhill (El)
Rosie. Rees-Bann (EL)

Tabatha O’Brien-Butcher (MA Cont Lit)
Rosemary Glynn (MA GSC)
Emma Howat (MA Cont Lit)
Catherine Johnson (MA American Studies)

Muzna Raman
Carina Spaulding
Rena Jackson
Liam Haydon
Irene Huhulea

Thursday 21 October 2010

Lecturer's Eye View: Photodiary of Week 5

Charity Milton Marathon

University of Manchester English and American Studies undergraduates, postgraduates, staff and friends will be undertaking to read aloud the entirety of John Milton’s Paradise Lost on 10 December (the day after the poet’s 402nd birthday).

The poem consists of well over 10,000 lines of verse and the entire marathon will take around 12 hours of continual reading.

This epic reading is to raise money for the RNIB (Milton became totally blind aged 46 and dictated the entirety of the poem).   

If you would like to participate (as a reader), please email:

If you would like to sponsor us, please do:

Lunchtime Lecture week 5, Shakespeare Sonnet 144

Lecture given by Roger Holdsworth, 1.10-1.40, Rutherford Lecture Theatre, Schuster Building, Wednesday 27th

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.
To win me soon to hell my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride;
And whether that my angel be turned fiend
Suspect I may, but not directly tell;
But being both from me both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell.
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

What are you reading? Dr. Howard Booth

Like Professor Duncker, I’m currently on research leave. I’m writing on Kipling again, which this time means mugging up on his early writing. (I still think his late stories are his best work.) And I too am reading DH Lawrence, this time the novella ‘The Captain’s Doll’. My response to Lawrence differs from Dr Turner’s. Lawrence is at once frighteningly radical – everything about the way we live and relate to one and other is damaged and needs to change – and also self-aware and self-ironising. Much is lost if we just take Lawrence ‘straight’. An example from Women in Love: during a country house weekend, the hostess Hermione tries to kill Rupert, with whom she has long been in love, by creeping up on him and trying to hit him on the head with a paperweight (a lump of lapis lazuli). At the last moment Rupert saves himself by interposing a volume of Thucydides. Yes, there are some characteristic Lawrentian themes in play here: emotions should be brought to the surface and not repressed, and love and hate are closer than we would like to think. But it also knows its own staginess and is sending up a world of rich patrons and artist sets that Lawrence knew well. When Cambridge University Press published a collection of essays entitled Lawrence and Comedy in 1996 some eyebrows were raised, but I think the editors and contributors were onto something. Perhaps this explains my discomfort at the first sentence of the letter in last Sunday’s Observer by Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis et al protesting about the proposed closure of the Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood: ‘We are united in our belief that DH Lawrence is one of the world’s most important writers and that he has a unique place in British culture that should be celebrated.’ I’m glad they wrote the letter and fully support their cause, but the way they express themselves sounds much more ‘earnestly in earnest’ than Lawrence usually allowed himself to be.

Critical MASS Research Seminar for EAS

Katie Gough from the University of Glasgow will be presenting at 4pm on Wednesday in the Poetry Centre (A4). Her talk is entitled 'Authenticity and Performance: The Troubling Origins of the Harlem and Irish Renaissances.' All welcome.

What are you reading? Dr Nick Turner

I seem to have over a dozen books on the go: is this the sign of an erratic mind? Here are some of the best of them. DH Lawrence's Women in Love is intense, wonderfully offensive at times, and now unintentionally funny. He is worth ten of his blander compatriots.  Elizabeth Jane Howard is an assured comic writer, rising above accusations of being middlebrow, in Getting it Right. Michèle Roberts's The Book of Mrs. Noah somehow manages to be experimental, passionate, political, lyrical and highly readable all at the same time. And Barbara Pym is never far from the bedside table: someone to read again, and again, and again. 

Monday 18 October 2010

What are you reading? Dr. Robert Spencer

I am reading Philip Roth’s new novel, Nemesis. It is set, as usual, in Newark, New Jersey during the polio epidemic of 1944. It’s brilliant as always and has all the themes of Roth’s late fiction – anxious masculinity, the capricious nature of fate, lucid nostalgia, the awful fact of mortality and impotent rage at God. I’m also appreciating Peter Ackroyd’s Jack Maggs, which retells Great Expectations from Magwitch’s point of view. Less arduous but equally thought-provoking is Tim Krabbe’s The Ride which I read on the train yesterday for the six millionth time – the best book about cycling ever written. Krabbe is the Joseph Conrad of sport writing.


The first meeting year of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies will be held at 5.00pm today (Monday 18 October) in the Poetry Centre. Ian Riddler will talk about objects made of bone, horn and antler. No wheelie bins for the Anglo-Saxons, everything got used.

Gale Owen-Crocker

Manchester Literature Festival

Is in full swing:

Lecturer's Eye View: photos from around the department

Friday 15 October 2010

Lunchtime LecturEAS

Come along and hear an expert talk about a piece of poetry, prose, film or drama at lunchtime on Wednesdays. Each session will comprise a 20 minute lecture and a 10 minute Q&A. You should read the poem in advance (posted on the EAS blog). Lectures run from 1.10-1.40, Wednesday afternoons, Rutherford LT, Schuster Building.

Semester 1

Week 4
Jerome de Groot
John Milton, Sonnet 19 (‘When I consider how my light is spent’)

Week 5
Roger Holdsworth
Shakespeare, Sonnet 144 ('Two loves I have, of comfort and despair')

Week 7
John McAuliffe
Elizabeth Bishop poem tbc

Week 8
Ian McGuire
Walt Whitman, ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’

Week 9
Malcolm Hicks
Robert Browning, ‘Inapprehensiveness’

Week 10
Ian Scott
Film clips tbc

Week 11
Andrew Frayn
Richard Aldington, ‘In the Tube’ and ‘Cinema Exit’

Semester 2
Programme to be finalised, but lectures from Hal Gladfelder, Anke Bernau, Michael Sanders (on John Clare, ‘Remembrances’), Roger Holdsworth (on WH Auden, ‘Musee des Beaux Arts’), Howard Booth, Noelle Gallagher (John Dryden poem tbc).

Thursday 14 October 2010

What are you reading? Professor Patricia Duncker

Research Sabbaticals are a time to catch up on reading. I am writing about Virginia Woolf's late style. Did she have one? And reading Between the Acts (1941) and Michael Cunningham's appallingly pseudo- Woolfian aren't-I-clever fantasy of three women in different time zones, based on Mrs Dalloway and using Woolf's working title - The Hours (1999). I have tried to read it twice before and never got further than page 24, now on page 74. Victory. Also, a more interesting scholarly work - Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris (Thames and Hudson, 2010). Bold, original and sumptuously illustrated.

Monday 11 October 2010

Thouron Award

The Thouron AwardGraduates of British universities receive support for up to two years
for a graduate (post-graduate) degree program at the University of
Pennsylvania. Penn, an Ivy League institution, is one of the world?s
leading research universities. With 12 schools on one contiguous
campus in Philadelphia, it offers a wide range of postgraduate courses 
in the Schools of Arts & Sciences, Communication, Dental Medicine,
Design, Education, Engineering and Applied Science, Architecture &
Regional Planning, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Social Policy, and
Veterinary Medicine, as well as the Wharton School of Business.
Typically, 6 to10 Awards are made each year to British graduates.
More information, including application forms and instructions, is
available at:

Mario Vargas Llosa wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

Thursday 7 October 2010

Research Seminar

Oct 13: David Alderson, 'Saturday's Enlightenment', A4 Sam Alex, 4-5 All Welcome

Wednesday 6 October 2010

EAS Long Essay (Third Years) lecture - COMPULSORY

Lecture: 27 October, 1-2, Samuel Alexander LT
Dr Alan Rawes will be holding an information lecture to outline the
workings of the Long Essay and to answer questions.

Comments from External Examiners on EAS degrees

External examiners are experts in their fields appointed from Universities around the UK to provide oversight on our assessment procedures. The comments below come from the most recent set of reports:

'The BA course is excellent: fascinating, well-designed course, excellent full feedback, producing some work of a very high intellectual calibre'

'staff offer a wide range of innovative, challenging, and interesting modules [...] staff provide detailed, constructive feedback on the marking sheets for essays and examinations and the robustness of the internal moderation is well-documented'

'Feedback was detailed and constructive, and it was clear that staff were committed to and engaged in the intellectual development of the students [...] an excellent undergraduate programme which pushed students to engage with a range of different cultural forms'

'Excellent feedback on student essays, and a well-designed proforma to enable this. High levels of care and attention in marking'

Tuesday 5 October 2010

2011 World Youth Leaders Forum, Hong Kong

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), a partner university of The University of Manchester, is holding a World Youth Leaders Forum from 20 to 22 July 2011 in Hong Kong for approx. 100 participants.  Undergraduate students from any discipline area are eligible to submit abstracts for consideration.  The successful nominee(s) from The University of Manchester will be sponsored by CUHK.

The Forum has the following objectives:

 (i)             To provide a platform to university students worldwide to exchange views on topics of regional or global interest;

(ii)             To promote cross-cultural exposure and friendship;

(iii)           To foster social responsibility and concerns on regional or global issues; and

(iv)           To nurture a sense of global inter-dependence.

The theme in 2011 is 'Reshaping the Post-Crisis World Order'. The global financial crisis in previous years has had severe impacts on the entire world. CUHK are eager to listen to original and creative ideas from young leaders across the continents on the theme and its related issues.

Nominees must meet the following criteria for consideration:

(i)            Be undergraduates in their second year of study or above;

(i)              With outstanding academic performance (an academic average of at least 65%), with vision and leadership potential;

(ii)             Interested in global and local issues, and eager to consider solutions;

(iii)           Respectful and appreciative of others' values and beliefs.

Students who are accepted for participation will be provided with free meals and accommodation during the Forum, as well as subsidized airfare/ transportation.  For further information, please refer to the e-leaflet of the Forum <> . Please read this information carefully.  The e-leaflet explains the format of the abstract that is required as part of the selection process.

Dr. Michael Bibler, CUD American Lit to 1900, Office Hours

Tuesday 1-2:30;Weds 11-12; by appt. Office N.1.8.

SAHC Careers Facebook page!/pages/The-University-of-Manchester-Careers-SAHC/159788307371514?ref=ts

Nobel Prizes for Manchester

Two scientists who discovered graphene at The University of Manchester have today been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.

Professor Andre Geim and Dr Konstantin Novoselov have been awarded the highest accolade in the scientific world for their pioneering work with the world’s thinnest material.

Graphene was discovered at the University in 2004. It has rapidly become one of the hottest topics in materials science and solid-state physics.

It not only promises to revolutionise semiconductor, sensor, and display technology, but could also lead to breakthroughs in fundamental quantum physics research.

Dr Novoselov, 36, first worked with Professor Geim, 51, as a PhD-student in the Netherlands. He subsequently followed Geim to the United Kingdom. Both of them originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia.

The award of the Nobel Prize means there are currently four Nobel Laureates at The University of Manchester.

University of Manchester President and Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell said: “This is fantastic news. We are delighted that Andre and Konstantin’s work on graphene has been recognised at the very highest level by the 2010 Nobel Prize Committee.

“This is a wonderful example of a fundamental discovery based on scientific curiosity with major practical, social and economic benefits for society.”

Monday 4 October 2010

English and American Studies Staff-Student Liaison Committee

English and American Studies holds termly a Staff-Student Liaison Committee meant to give students the opportunity to speak about various aspects of their experience. The SSLC is a constructive forum where the staff representative and the students representatives can exchange views on matters concerning the Department and the School, discuss and explain various issues, and agree on the best way forward.

Every year we issue a call for representatives. We need representatives for every year and each Single Honours programme. The pool of representatives is also used to invite select representatives to Departmental and School committees. To be a representative you will need to be active in seeking your peers' view on teaching, administration, assessment, etc. and be willing to act as a spokesperson for them.

If you would be willing to act as a representative on the department's Staff-Student Liaison Committee, firstly 'thank you' and secondly, please in the first instance contact Dr. Daniela Caselli,, by Friday 15 October 2010.

When replying, please state your name and degree programme in your email. Please note that meetings are held termly and last one hour.

Peer Mentor drop-in sessions for all years

Peer Mentor drop-in sessions, for discussion of any aspect of your course, will run every Thursday 1-2 in Mansfield Cooper 2.05.

Top 25 UK Arts & Culture blogs

via Creative Tourist:

Friday 1 October 2010


 Feedback can be given in a number of ways - formally, through sheets attache to submitted work or discussion with your Academic Advisor, or informally, through comments and advice given during class or via email. Be sure to use the feedback you are given to improve your work and develop your learning.

Bernard Cornwell competition

Academic Advisors

A reminder that all returning Year 2 and Year 3 students should contact their Academic Advisors to arrange a meeting this term. Year 1 students will meet their AAs as part of Academic Development. Joint Honours and Combined Studies Students should check the Academic Advisory information relating to their home discipline or department.

Milton Reading Group

Come and join the Milton reading group, 4-6 on Thursdays in S.1.16 Samuel Alexander Building. Currently the group is working its way through Paradise Lost and they will be looking at Book 2 next Thursday. All welcome, a very good way to begin to pay closer attention to this important work. Further info email