Monday, January 30, 2012

GW English PhD Joseph Fruscione Publishes Faulkner & Hemingway Book

English alumnus Joe Fruscione's new book

The world of GW English has a fantastic new book to add to its already impressive repertoire.

Dr. Joseph Fruscione, a GW alum and current faculty member, recently published an extensive dual biography chronicling the competition between two of America’s legendary writers. Faulkner and Hemingway: A Biography of a Literary Rivalry (Ohio State University Press, 2012) is the first book-length work analyzing the relationship between these two luminaries. 

According to the book’s introduction (which you can read online), this book provides a detailed account of the authors’ interrelationship by analyzing “psychological influence, cross-textual reference, and gender performance over some three decades.” Says Fruscione, he evaluated each author’s “writing, literary sensibility, and sense of masculinity.” All this is to say that he did oodles of research, dissecting writings both published and private.

The rigorous exploration of modern American mythology is sure to draw praise from some and criticism from others. Fruscione acknowledges the “potential for disagreement,” claiming that it is a vital aspect of contributing to the scholarly dialogue about what it means to be an American writer.
The book is an improved version of Dr. Fruscione’s PhD dissertation. He received his doctorate from GW in 2005, and has nothing but positive memories from this time. “Every faculty member,” he says, “was great and supportive.” He said that the list of inspirational GW teachers includes, but is not limited to, Profs. Sten, Moreland, and Soltan (who composed his dissertation committee), as well as Profs. Miller, Schreiber, Romines, and Combs. He also says that Prof. Seavey was a positive influence, telling him to “get it right.” 

Dr. Fruscione currently teaches at GW in the University Writing Program and at Georgetown University. He has been teaching with the UWP since 2007, and praises the program, saying that the variety of courses offers something of interest for every student.

As if he isn’t busy enough, Dr. Fruscione will also be giving a book talk at the Library of Congress on March 16, from 12 to 1 PM. 

Come see him talk if you possibly can. And if you can’t, buy the book; it’s an essential piece of reading for everybody interested in these authors and the psychology of competition. GW English is proud to add Dr. Fruscione’s wonderful new book to its ever-expanding library.

- Posted by Andrew Mendelson

Friday, January 27, 2012

Q&A with English Work-Study Student Tori Kerr

Earlier this week, I received the following email:

"Dear Employers," it reads. "As we plan for National Student Employment Week (April 9 - 13, 2012) we'd like to hear what your office has done in the past to recognize your student employees. We'll organize and publish what we learn."

Who knew there was such a thing as National Student Employment Week? Turns out it's sponsored by the National Student Employment Association, "a non-profit association of professionals involved with programs for students who work while attending college."

What would be more fitting, we thought, than to feature our two wonderful work-study students in English this year? Every semester, the English department employs a couple of students, ideally majors, to work with office secretary Linda Terry and manager Constance Kibler. So, in looking forward to the week of April 9, we offer this profile.


English work-study student Tori Kerr

Meet Tori Kerr, a sophomore English major and creative writing minor from Virginia Beach, Virginia, who is one of this year's two work-study students. "I may be from Virginia, which is geographically close to DC, but my beach town is vastly different than the urban environment here," Tori writes.
Did you know about National Student Employment Week? How do you feel about being recognized? 

I actually did not know about National Student Employment Week!  I think it’s wonderful to be recognized.  I think people sometimes forget that the life of a college student is not all parties and all-nighters.

What's the best thing about working in the English department?
The best part of working in the English Department is the wonderful conversations I get to have with witty and intelligent people.  There’s definitely a sense of community among the English-loving folk.

What's the oddest thing you've been asked to do or the oddest phone call you've answered?
The oddest phone call I’ve received was from Pakistan.  A man called inquiring about paperwork for international students so his son could apply.  It was clear that he really cared about sending his son to an American school to study English. 

On a more serious note: How does work-study fit into your experience at GW? What are your thoughts about affording college--not necessarily GW specifically, but private colleges and universities generally? Students elsewhere (in California, for example) have been protesting student debt. Are you and your friends also concerned about student debt?
 Student debt is definitely a looming shadow on my college career, as it is for most students.  GW, though often called “America’s most expensive college”, has been extremely helpful financially.  Work-study is great, not only because of the obvious monetary compensation, but because it allows me a few hours every week to separate myself from the stressful, competitive side of scholarship.  While I may be working on a paper, I’m not surrounded by other students (as I might be in Gelman), which creates a clearer intellectual atmosphere—at least, for me.
Are there particular courses/professors/areas of literary or cultural study that you've particularly enjoyed at GW?
It’s quite difficult to discern specific aspects of GW academia that have impacted me—I’m a product of all my Creative Writing and English Literature professors.  What I can specify is the impact of a Women’s Studies course I took last year, with Bonnie Morris.  I was, admittedly, one who scoffed at the idea of “women’s studies”, but that was only because I was so ignorant of the subject.  It was an eye-opening experience not just as a woman but as a scholar and writer.  The feminist lens is hardly a narrow, radical, bra-burning perspective of the world, but one that is crucial to understanding society then and now.  I recommend women’s studies to everyone and anyone—especially boys.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Aryeh Lev Stollman Kicks Off Jewish Literature Live 2012

Dr. Aryeh Lev Stollman, who kicks off this year's Jewish Literature Live readings, is one of those remarkable polymaths: an award-winning fiction writer whose "day job" is as a neuroradiologist at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. 
His first novel, From the Far Euphrates, was an LA Times Book Review Recommended Book of the Year, winner of a Wilbur Award, a Lambda Award, and other recognitions. It has been translated into German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, and Hebrew. He is also author of the award-winning novel The Illuminated Soul and the short-story collection The Dialogues of Time and EntropyStollman's story "Love Returns!" (listen to it here) was commissioned by NPR and broadcast in 2008.
The Jewish Literature Live readings series is supported by a generous gift by GW alumnus and trustee David Bruce Smith and curated by Prof. Faye Moskowitz, who teaches the course Jewish Literature Live, a unique GW offering in which students meet in an intimate seminar setting with notable Jewish authors of the day.
Aryeh Lev Stollman's reading is Thursday, January 26 in Marvin Center 310 at 7 pm. The event is free and open to everyone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Meet the New Student Bloggers

Kevin Callahan

It's a pleasure to welcome two new student bloggers for English for spring 2012. 

Junior Kevin Callahan,  an English major and journalism minor, is editor of the G.W. Review, one of GW's two literary magazines. Since last fall, he has also been features editor of the GW Cherry Tree yearbook. In his free time, Kevin reports, he plays tennis and "is an avid collector of nutcrackers." He is very excited to be writing for the English Department blog. Welcome, Kevin!

Andrew Mendelson

 Sophomore Andrew Mendelson, who hails "from the mystical land of Connecticut" [Ed's note: his words] is an English major with minors in psychology and creative writing. He enjoys reading Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, and "the backs of cereal boxes." He also loves music and "all things sports," especially baseball. 

Aside from taking lots of English classes and contributing to this blog, he also periodically updates his own blog, Ironwaffles.

Andrew and Kevin will write about department events, news, and people, including professors, students, and alumni. Please let them know if you have story ideas, or if you have news you'd like to share with the wider GW English community. 

You can find Andrew at Kevin's email is

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Newsweek" Dubs Mallon's Novel "Watergate" One of 12 for 2012

In February, GW English Professor Thomas Mallon's new novel Watergate will be published by Pantheon. (Go here to pre-order your copy.) A historical novel that "conveys the drama and high comedy of the Nixon presidency through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew before now," Watergate is a highly anticipated work--and the first of Prof. Mallon's works to be released simultaneously as an audiobook. It recently made Newsweek magazine's list of 12 books "not to miss" in 2012, a list reprinted by The Daily Beast.

Currently director of the English department's program in creative writing, Prof. Mallon will spend the spring 2012 semester at Davidson College, where he will be the visiting McGee Professor of Creative Writing.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Lounge Near Completion

Jenny Moore Writer-in-Residence Tim Johnson relaxes in the new lounge.
The renovations of the English Department lounge are almost complete. You've got to love a makeover--care of the wonderful Laura Van Biber and Elise Katzif Walker, MA students in Interior Design and members of Project George--that includes mod touches such as knitted "poofs" and Lucite chairs. There's also the amazing wall--not shown in this photo--covered in HudsonPaint chalkboard paint and colorful chalk for messages, doodles, and inspiration.

Next up: a few minor repairs, installation of a couple of wall magazine racks, and the hanging of several pictures, including a print of a circa-1940 Works Progress Administration (WPA) poster by the artist Arlington Gregg. Are you a member?

Look for an announcement soon of our lounge dedication party.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Renee Calarco's Kicks Off Theater J's "Locally Grown" Initiative

The Religion Thing, a world premiere comedy by GW playwriting professor Renee Calarco, kicks off Theater J's "Locally Grown: Community Supported Art/From Our Own Garden" Initiative. In it, according to Theater J,
Mo and Brian are a picture-perfect DC couple: they’re smart, they’re witty, and they have a beautifully remodeled kitchen. But when Mo’s best friend Patti announces she’s found Jesus and is putting her own career on hold, Mo must take a closer look at the harder truths surrounding her own marriage. A brand new comedy about relationships, faith and the fine line between compromise and regret.
The Religion Thing runs through January 29 at the Theater, which is in the Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q Streets, NW. Theater J has special pay-what-you-can performances, and offers weeknight tickets at a discount to theatergoers 35 and younger.  While you're there, check out the Locally Grown festival, which runs through February.

Students reading this might be interested in Prof. Calarco's "Dramatic Writing" course, ENGL 2250.80, which meets this semester (spring 2012) on Mondays from 3:30-6 p.m. (ENGL 1210, Introduction to Creative Writing, is a prerequisite.) There are still spaces available!