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Honours Capstone Colloquium
Shrews in Shakespeare, lawyers in Dickens and Collins, Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, Wharton’s Age of Innocence, Django Unchained, Sarah’s Key, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four, écriture feminine in Sharon Olds, Williams and Eliot, Lolita and Death in Venice, Kafka—those were the literature topics in this year’s two-day Honours colloquium, which was held on November 27-28th, 2014.
And to celebrate the merger of Creative Writing and English, we also heard about creating characters in fiction, problems of depicting in words someone close to you, the anxiety of influence, and the uses of failure.
Now and then you get a class that will NOT SETTLE DOWN. This was an unruly group that liked to travel in all directions at once. We would be going in one direction, the wind would shift with a single comment, and we were suddenly moving in another. I found it exhilarating.
This capstone course has come to be a kind of wrap-up of what had gone before (I asked the students to write an essay on “What I Learned in English” with the most charming results), as well as a preparation of what is to come, with workshops on writing a personal statement, looking at the SSHRC application, and how to polish up a presentation and deliver it effectively. We had a field trip to Gaspereau Press for the annual Wayzgoose. We had a dinner over at my house. And the grand finale was the colloquium, in which the students delivered their papers to the faculty, graduate students, and friends.
The group was very comfortable in saying anything to anyone, and seemed to be able to do this with kindness. The boldness and energy in the class made one feel that our English program had been for them a liberation. Even one student who admitted to no longer liking English thought our program had been worthwhile. She will be going into design. Others are heading to law, one to health administration, some to graduate school in creative writing, even a few into English, and some of course to a future still to be decided.
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