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Visiting professor to discuss close reading

Desiree Mahr

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The Hudson Strode Lecture Series in Theory and Criticism will feature Jane Gallop as a guest speaker today at 5 p.m. The lecture is titled “The Ethics of Close Reading,” will be held in Morgan Hall Room 301.

The lecture series, which is sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, began in fall 2006, according to its director, Sharon O’Dair.

“The Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies sponsors two lecture series. One is focused on the Renaissance, the other on literary theory and criticism more generally. Professor Gallop’s lecture is part of the latter series,” O’Dair said in an email.

O’Dair created the lecture series in theory and criticism in order to appeal to a wider student and faculty audience, she said.

“When I took over as director of the program, I wanted to start a series that would appeal to my colleagues and students who weren’t as interested in the Renaissance as I am, or as my colleagues in Renaissance studies are,” O’Dair said. “Plus my colleagues and I in Renaissance studies are also interested in other periods of literary history and in literary theory more generally.”

Common lecture topics for the series include the nature of genre, characterization and poetics, the relationship of such literary topics to politics, philosophy and history, and the place of literary study in academics today.

O’Dair said the lecture series is important for the members of the UA community who are interested in thinking about how and why some read and study literature.

Gallop’s lecture, she said, will explain the importance of reading literature line by line and word for word. Gallop will also address the concept that close reading requires cautious writing.

O’Dair said these concepts would stretch the minds of the students and faculty who attend Gallop’s lecture and that the lecture would also challenge their intellect.

Gallop, professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, received her bachelor’s degree and doctorate from Cornell University. Gallop has written seven books and published articles on psychoanalysis, women’s studies, literary studies and more.

Natalie Loper, a doctoral student and assistant to O’Dair, said Gallop’s lecture would cover many topics, rather than focusing solely on literature.

“Jane Gallop’s work is of interest to other people besides those in the English department. It spans across other departments, so there’s something for everyone,” Loper said. “The lecture is usually a good way of finding out what’s going on in the world of literature and theory. It’d even be great for students who are interested in women’s studies or English studies.”

Loper said the number of undergraduate students who attend the lecture series can be low at times. That is something they would like to change, however, because the lecture series can be beneficial to any student who is considering graduate studies.

“The audience is typically professors and graduate students. There isn’t really a general awareness with undergraduate students about the lectures,” Loper said. “But if there are students who are interested in graduate studies, this would be very helpful for them because they can see what an academic talk is like.”

Other lecturers in the series for this year include Maria DiBattista from Princeton University and Wayne Koestenbaum from the City University of New York.

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Visiting professor to discuss close reading