September 21, 2023

Lorentzen Gives Talk on Dickens, Disney, Popular Culture and Social Justice

Eric Lorentzen, Associate Professor of English

Eric Lorentzen, Professor of English

Eric G. Lorentzen, professor of English, recently gave a talk entitled “Interdisciplinary English as Social Justice: Dickens, Disney and Popular Culture,” at the Virginia Humanities Conference. The talk was based on a new class Lorentzen taught in fall semester of 2022, in which the goal was to mark, as an intellectual community, the tremendous ongoing, and often not readily perceived, influence that Dickens’ work has on a multiplicity of genres in the 21st century. The course included materials as diverse as:

*20th- and 21st-century literary texts, such as Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, John Irving’s The Cider House Rules and the Harry Potter books.
*films/shows like Ridley Road, It’s a Wonderful Life, About Time, The Game, The Time Traveller’s Wife, The Last Tree and Disney’s Christopher Robin.
*literary societies, reading groups, social clubs and online serial novel projects.
*Dickens festivals, holiday fairs, walking tours and other elements of literary tourism that continue to celebrate Dickens’ works, life and association with Christmas.
*museum exhibits/journalism that attempt to demonstrate the ongoing importance of Dickens’ texts for the problems of poverty, homelessness, food insecurity and lack of social justice today.