All posts by Talia Vestri Croan

Proposing a Special Session for MLA

Last week, I submitted a panel proposal for the next MLA convention in January 2016. (alternative title for this post: What was I thinking?!?)

I was motivated, in part, by an important realization about my own position on the academic career ladder:

There comes a time in every young scholar’s life when she must realize that she is no longer part of the junior graduate cohort. Suddenly there are an uncountable number of faces that you don’t recognize around the department, and conversations being held about seminars you didn’t even know were being offered. This signals only one thing: you’re now horrifyingly closer in position to that new assistant professor who just got hired than you are to the first-year doctoral students. You are more scholar than student, more faculty than freshman. (When did this happen, exactly?!)

Continue reading Proposing a Special Session for MLA

The Modernization of Elizabeth Bennet

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune… must be in want of a wife.” One of the most well-known lines in literature has been reiterated once again—except that this time, it’s plastered on a bright fuchsia T-shirt.

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So begins The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012-2013), an Emmy-winning web series that reworks Pride and Prejudice for the modern age, featuring an endearing but sarcastic twenty-something Lizzie Bennet played by newcomer Ashley Clements.

Continue reading The Modernization of Elizabeth Bennet

The Year Without Summer; or, What Happened in 1816?

With the rapid pace of today’s technologies, the news of any event happening anywhere in the world seems to travel at almost light speed to everywhere else. Whether through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or online journalism, the news of a missing jetliner in Southeast Asia or an earthquake in Japan can become common knowledge on the other side of the world almost instantaneously (unless, apparently, the event happens in Africa, but that’s an entirely different topic). Imagine, then, living in an era when the impact of a natural occurrence like a tsunami or hurricane would never be heard about for those who did not experience the phenomenon first hand—a time when news didn’t just travel more slowly, but sometimes didn’t travel at all.  Continue reading The Year Without Summer; or, What Happened in 1816?

More Frankenstein(s): Cumberbatch, Miller, and the National Theatre

Like Arden, I, too, have been burning with curiosity about the recent critical reactions to several Frankenstein adaptations. But rather than valiantly sacrifice my time to the gods of Hollywood mediocrity as she so nobly does in her last post, I managed to escape the sub-par recreation of I, Frankenstein and instead turned my intrigue towards a much more mainstream and accepted performance: Danny Boyle’s 2011 National Theatre stage production of Frankenstein, featuring the incomparable Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch. Continue reading More Frankenstein(s): Cumberbatch, Miller, and the National Theatre

Romantics Today: Where art thou, Queer Theory?

Ten years ago, literary scholars initiated some compelling re-evaluations of what the term “queer” in queer studies might now mean for twenty-first-century academia. By 2005, the radical wave of activism that had once propelled this theoretical trend had begun to dissipate, and it had been fifteen years since the publication of foundational texts like Eve Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet and Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble. In social and political realms, LGBTQ human rights issues were making headway in the mainstream: Massachusetts had taken the initiative on marriage equality, Stonewall was an experience remembered by an earlier generation, and women’s studies courses and programs had sprung up around the country. By 2005, academic theorists had recognized that gender was a questionable and fluid term, that sex roles could be performative, and that the personal had become political. Where to go from here? Continue reading Romantics Today: Where art thou, Queer Theory?