March 2, 2024

Lorentzen Presents, Delivers Roundtable Discussion at Dickens Society Symposium

Professor of English Eric Lorentzen

Professor of English Eric Lorentzen

Professor of English Eric G. Lorentzen presented a paper entitled “The Sights/Sites of Dickens in 2023: Literary Tourism, Cultural Studies, and the University Literature Classroom” at the recent Dickens Society Symposium in Rochester (RIT). The talk included research he conducted in museums and other literary sites across England, as well as the pedagogical methodologies involved with his recent new course on Dickens at UMW, “Dickens, Disney, and Popular Culture,” two sections of which ran for the first time during the fall 2022 semester. He was also one of six scholars to be invited to join the roundtable “Teaching Dickens,” at which he presented the talk “Wisdom of the Heart: Dickens and Cultural Studies.” Professor Lorentzen hopes to offer the course again during the fall 2024 semester.

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.

Lorentzen Gives Talk at Victorians Institute Conference on Literary Tourism

Eric Lorentzen, associate professor of English, recently presented the paper, “Literary Tourism: Consuming Dickens, Sherlock, and the Sites/Sights of British Culture,” at the Victorians Institute conference in Asheville, NC.  The conference theme was “Consuming the Victorians,” and the particular panel involved postmodern consumption of literature through literary and cultural tourism.  Professor Lorentzen argued for the efficacy and exigency of approaching museums as texts to be read through cultural studies methodologies, and for museums to embrace the critical and pedagogical tactic of “presentism” in their curation.  He discussed different aspects of the Agatha Christie Estate at Greenway, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, and the Charles Dickens Museum in London.

Lorentzen Gives Talk at Virginia Humanities Conference

Eric Lorentzen, Associate Professor of English, gave the talk “Interdisciplinary British Literature in the University Classroom: Teaching the Unbearable Humanities as Part of a Critical STEAM Pedagogy” at the annual Virginia Humanities Conference at Shenandoah University. Dr. Lorentzen’s paper argued for the efficacy and exigency of approaching the study of literature at the university level through what he has called a “cultural studies pedagogy,” a methodology that strives for a student-centered interdisciplinary connection, through a STEAM paradigm that resists the new Utilitarianism prevalent in higher education today.

Lorentzen Presents Paper at NeMLA Conference

Eric Lorentzen, Associate Professor of English, presented a paper titled “Reading the World, Reading the Word: Alternative Literacies in the Victorian Novel” at the annual Northeastern Modern Language Association conference in Baltimore, which took place March 23-26. Dr. Lorentzen’s talk focused on resistant methodologies and strategies for reading Victorian social institutions, and their treatment by various novelists of the period, which often involved subversive literacies and epistemologies designed to offer re-visions of dominant ideologies.