In the UW-L English Department's first colloquium presentation of the 2016-2017 academic year, Dr. Natalie Eschenbaum will present "Playing with Sensation in A Midsummer Night's Dream." In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the characters, whether human or faerie, attempt to distinguish their realities from their imaginations by using their physical senses. Of course, in the topsy-turvy world of Athens’ forest, the characters’ senses are disconnected from reason, and nothing actually is what it looks, sounds, smells, tastes, or feels like. In this paper, Dr. Eschenbaum is particularly interested in Bottom, a figure both animal and human, and his ability to see through his current reality, and to reconnect sense with reason. To inform her readings of Shakespearean sensation, Dr. Eschenbaum examines a few early modern tracts that describe the senses that are most closely linked with human reason. Stephen Gosson, for instance, in his anti-theatricals, argues that one of the problems with theatre is that it is digested with hearing, and thus affects both the stomach and reason. Shakespeare’s Bottom, somewhat ironically, helps us to make sense of the most human of the early modern sensations, as they are described by characters, experienced by playgoers, and understood by readers. The presentation runs from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 23, in 112 Wimberly Hall. The event is free and open to the public. To arrange for disability accommodations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-8295.
Although modernism has traditionally been considered an art of cities, Ecocriticism in the Modernist Imagination claims a significant role for modernist texts in shaping environmental consciousness. Analyzing both canonical and lesser-known works of three key figures - E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and W. H. Auden - Sultzbach suggests how the signal techniques of modernism encourage readers to become more responsive to the animate world and non-human minds. Understanding the way these writers represent nature's agency becomes central to interpreting the power dynamics of empire and gender, as well as experiments with language and creativity. The book acknowledges the longer pastoral tradition in literature, but also introduces readers to the newly expanding field of ecocriticism, including philosophies of embodiment and matter, queer ecocriticism, and animal studies. What emerges is a picture of green modernism that reifies our burgeoning awareness of what it means to be human within a larger living community.