Canterbury Scholars Profiles
The Canterbury Program has since 1997 provided faculty mentoring and financial support for select senior English majors conducting independent research projects. Below are descriptions of this year’s projects in the scholars’ own words.
by Mary Maeve McGeorge
I started writing stories in notebooks when I was seven years old, but the idea for my novel, For the King, came to me when I was ten. On my family’s computer, I typed up the beginnings of what would turn into my first, fully written novel. Throughout college, I worked on the novel as much as I could, and spent all of my summers working over plot issues and grammatical errors and the overall syntax of the manuscript. As the Canterbury Fellow, I spent most of my senior year tirelessly editing with my mentor, Michael Malone, and used the funding I was granted to hire an editor. After I was finally satisfied, I submitted my novel to Barking Rain Press. I was offered a four-book deal, but am currently pursuing agents in New York City to try to get one of the big time publishing companies. As of now, with the Barking Rain Press deal, there will be a book with my name written on it. It’s very exciting to see all of the years paying off, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my writing career!
by Giannina Ong
“William Shakespeare as a Purveyor of Re-Productions: Understanding Shakespeare’s Plays as Profitable Products” seeks to subvert common conceptions of William Shakespeare’s modern day “brand” in order to inspire re-reading his plays and to begin an in-depth exploration of his economic imperatives. In the first section, I read biographies of Shakespeare as products that continue to promote Shakespeare’s works as literature in trying times. Shakespeare’s biographies are products that replicate his work’s capital through presumptions and hypotheticals, but do not necessarily allow for deeper readings of his plays, even though that is what biographers may suggest is the purpose of their work. The second section of this project focuses on informing the reader about the economic environment, existing technologies, and the audience’s preexisting knowledge of the texts used and transformed by Shakespeare. I perform a close reading of Shakespeare’s economic strategy, which I term in the paper a “suspension of disbelief.” In the third section, I use Romeo and Juliet as a case study for demonstrating the mimetic work that Shakespeare used to transform the text (in combination with a reliance on preexisting knowledge of the audience) in order to cater to a diverse crowd. We find that Shakespeare is a savvy businessman able to recognize the audience’s needs and wants. He finds success through being aware of the audience instead of achieving greatness through what we and biographers assume to be a certain kind of literary genius.
My research experience was scholarly and intense; I spent very many hours reading and collating information before even sitting down to write anything. I was so fortunate to be guided by my mentor, Dr. Tricia Serviss, as well as many others of the English department faculty, including Dr. Don Riccomini, Dr. Maura Tarnoff, and Dr. Diane Dreher. The professors in the department helped my brainstorming process and pushed me along when I got stuck or sidetracked by the wealth of research that is out there. Having the ability to research a topic in-depth over the span of a year has allowed me to explore my interest in audience consumption of literature and understand Shakespeare’s financial motives.
Thank you very much to the English department for sponsoring my research and my passion through the Canterbury scholarship.