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  The Printing Press is the English Department Newsletter. Its purpose it to inform major and minors about programs and activities within the department. The Press will inform readers of activities and opportunities outside of Monmouth College. For any questions or submissions, contact the Priniting Press Crew:,




In This Issue:

Selections From A Journal Abroad: Carnevale

By Alex Nall


“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liquors in one go”

 -Truman Capote

March 4, 2011: We left for Venice by train at 8:30 in the morning; our train was late and had us in a panic that we had missed it. Jamie asked a flock of nuns about the locomotive’s whereabouts, knowing that they couldn’t turn us down; otherwise, God would smite them for their copiousness.

We all got on the train about a half-hour later and in an hour we made a stop in Bologna. Our next train didn’t depart for another hour and a half, so we toured the city. We found muddy parks; pitched tents selling second-rate Hot Topic apparel, toiletries and bongs; a piazza with an arc of comics displayed in the center on the roundel, the affable hero in this comic being an anteater. Before we knew it, we were back on the train, as if magic swept us from the gray atmosphere of the city. I listened to the Chemical Brothers on the way and sketched some passengers on the train, including one of a little girl that stood right next to me and examined my portrait of her as she waited to get of the train.

When we passed under a tunnel, we came out the other end into a fine display of the natural oddity that is the weather. A snowstorm was taking place—I don’t know where—and while one side was clear, sunny and sprouting trees, the other was under white snow and disguised by gray hazy skies fleeting with white powder, a strange sight that made me invent an island (kind of like the Cinque Terre islands we visited) and assign a season to each quarter of the island, a train running from them all. This way everyone could be happy and just go from season to season as they pleased. We arrived in sunny, warmer-than expected Venice at 2 o’ clock. Abby and Carly bought a boat pass that took them to the hotel, but Josh, Jamie, Hannah and I chose to walk it, taking the scenic route to Hotel Messner. How we made it there in fifteen minutes I have no idea since we could barely remember the landmarks around us (there aren’t many, so I was thankful that I took photos of the various graffiti on the walls the last time we visited). We had the worst map in the history of maps. Venice is the Minotaur’s labyrinth. I don’t know why we were so tired after riding the train for six hours, but we were, so we rested awhile and made a somewhat game plan for the night ahead of us. I was also surprised as to how much Venice was different without a guide, without an agenda and full of eager masquers wearing some of the most extravagant costumes I’ve ever seen. It’s good that I brought my camera with me and took photos of them because I’m not sure I would be able to describe them without visual aids. 

Everyone dressed for Carnevale is doing it as a favor to the city, to the culture, substituting Levi’s and t-shirts for corsets, gowns and wicked hats. They all play a game of weekend theatre that has no director, no script and everyone is the star. They walk the streets and stop when someone wants a picture. They pose and look regal while doing so. These are professionals. There is a street band playing on acoustic guitars, a cello, a violin and an accordion and next to them is a lapse of the canal with a gondola full of white wigged women in royal frocks fanning themselves and cheerfully listening to the music in the air. In Piazza San Marco there is a woman covered in black, her abdomen tight, her ballroom dress a shade of midnight too dark to be form this cosmos. She has falcon feathers screaming form her small hat and she wilds a magnificent sword, that she swashes left and right ‘Out of my way!’ it cries! A forty-year old woman as a wolf, looking for three pigs to blow down. The solar system walks around holding his specter, a white sun beaming at the top, and his garb is in gold and the orange and red planets encircle him on a track of crossed wires attached with yellow gaffer’s tape. Men dressed as women, in plaid pleated skirts, fashion victims to no one, heroes to all. Their hair is straight and their lipstick is red. They have prosthetic moles glued onto their chins and their faces are painted white like a baby’s innocence. Everyone had gigantic feathers poking out of every pore: the hats, the cuffs, the lace, the shoes; as I write four women walk by wearing red, blue, yellow and green parakeet costumes.

The citizens of Venice want pictures with these celebrities of the Carnevale! They mow others down, their hands waving, shouting ‘Photo! Photo!’ And the masquers simply pause, sometimes nod and pose for the camera like any royal seventeenth-century denizen would do. And the faces on these tourists are as jovial as a child discovering sugar for the first time: It is sugar. All of it. It’s high-octane substance decorated to please and feed and fatten us up until we’re overwhelmed and crash inexplicably onto the floor, ready for more. A man as a green serpent, sticking out his sliced tongue. A wicked gentleman in the guise of a wicked red Satan. Children- little boys—growling as dinosaurs do.

It goes on and on and on until the sun disappears and everything turns up ten notches. The blue lights that hang between the walls of buildings illuminate the now sardine-packed-tight alleyways, casting a lapis lazuli glow on every body and costume. A sea of people washes up into empty piazzas and locates a tall pillar to dance on top of. Even if there is no band playing, the masquers find their own way to make music. They sing songs, clink their glasses and move at a ferocious velocity that makes its own kind of sound—somewhere between a howling wolf and an orchestrated ice-cream truck. I can only think of it as Dylan describes ‘Desolation Row’: ‘At midnight all the agents and the super-human crew come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do.” Cinderella, Einstein as Robin Hood, The Phantom of the Opera, Casanova, the circus is in town indeed.

We found live bands, vin brule (hot wine with apple chunks), loads of new graffiti that has been added to the walls since our last trip here a mere three weeks ago; and a canal to relieve ourselves in after being asked to pay a euro-fifty to piss in an unkempt portico. The only thing that can keep us going is ourselves and the will to live and once that is gone then it as David Foster Wallace bluntly puts it: “A man is already dead.” God only knows what the girl saw or even if they’re alive. No one’s phone works. Mine died on the trip over. It’s a savage Congo jungle filled with apes and endless amounts of wine and chaos to feed off of.

There is only one word to describe the next night: pandemonium; noun: wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar; denoting the place of all demons in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Yesterday’s streets were manageable and admiring, today they are packed and nauseating. It is elbow to elbow the entire way. It takes eight minutes to get to the end of a street. Even if you push and shove your way out of the hoard, there is a gold hoop skirt blocking your way. As we inched our way forward we saw some more outrageous costumes: a man with a gigantic snail shell, a clown with a five foot polka-dot top hat, three pieces of cake with pink frosting accompanied by a fork, a spoon and a knife, Charlie Chaplin, and a flock of peacocks. Piazza San Marco was like a rock and roll concert. No place to move and music happening everywhere. Drum circles, Indian tribal bands, dancing gypsies, and later at night, folk Jewish Jazz bands take the stage.

Later, around 11:45, I got separated from the group. I did not have a phone, a map or a ticket to get across the canal. After waiting for ten minutes at the piazza to see if they would come back from, I made the stupid decision of going off in search of the train station on my own. After finding the Ritoldo, I somehow ended back at the hotel, which was scary because there was no one over there. Any other time would have been perfect, but the train departed to the next station at 1:30 so there wasn’t any time to stop and enjoy the silence. I did not have a watch either—I left it back at the house because it had been getting off more and more as the days continued and became too much of a chore to remember how much time to add for it to be the correct time. Stupidstupidstupid. I waited for a boat at the cathedral near our hotel, but was told later by a passer-by that the boats running this way would go in the opposite direction of the train station. I ran as fast as I could—ignoring the laughs of many people, enjoying the tourist jogging in a black overcoat, jeans with a blue backpack bobbing up and down on his back, heaving and drenched in sweat. I made it to the boat dock. The ticket booth was closed so I made the risk of jumping a boat and paying a fine if I was caught but it didn’t matter at this point because I was willing to pay a random stranger to pull over and take m over for any amount of money desired. Luckily, no one checked for a ticket and I arrived at the station just before the train was set to leave.

Everyone was relieved to see I was all right, but they seemed like they expected it to happen. Maybe I did too. All I did was turn my back for ten seconds and then they were gone. Never deviate from the group. Always have charged phone. Know what you are doing and ask for help if you don’t. It was a scary but awakening experience. Everything worked out fine.  The train ride, however, did not.  First, on our connecting train to the station outside of Venice was packed to every inch. People were pushing one another off to make room in the cabin. All the seats were taken and they didn’t start the train for another ten minutes while people squirmed, cried and crouched down in any open air to make room. Some guy had to take off his gigantic costume and placed his hat on Jamie’s head until he got his suit off. I couldn’t tell whether Jamie was amused or had simply lost his sanity at this point.

When we arrived at the next station I was parched and found a vending machine that sold water bottles and the goddamn machine ate my euro and I had to sip solemnly from Jamie’s frizzy water. Then Cuevas bought a bag of French fires, which really made me lost it for some reason. We were mad. It was a restless night and as a last hurrah, and attempt at rebellion, we crossed the three sets of train tracks to get to our platform. The second train was even worse than the streets of Venice. Not only was the train completely packed, but also the only place to sit was in the hallway, outside the glass compartments, some of which had up to eight people piled up inside of them. When someone had to go to the bathroom everyone had to get up and let that person pass. Oh god we were going to die. Curled in a fetal position, stuck on a grimy floor, neck-to-neck with the person next to us, dozens of crabby, hot-tempered some wild maniacs all hoarded like cattle. I don’t know how we managed to get any sleep, but we did and by the time we arrived in Bologna some people had left the train and we got to have some seats to sleep for the rest of the way. I didn’t have my i-pod so I listened to the rushing screeches of the train wheels on the metal tracks as I drifted into some strange state between awake and asleep. When we did arrive in Florence, no one said anything to anyone. We simply shrugged at one another, not sure what day it was, or what had been real and what had not.

The English Major's Boot Camp and How I'm Learning to Survive

By Stevie Croisant     

If you were to ask me a year ago what I wanted to do with my life, I would immediately tell you that I wanted to become an optometrist. Ever since second grade when I was prescribed my first pair of glasses, I was fascinated with the biology of the human eye. Years went by, and I still wanted to be an optometrist, but a new passion was growing inside of me. I was writing stories for the young author competitions in my area and writing articles for a teen section of my local newspaper. I loved writing, and I had always loved reading. However, when it came time for me to choose a major, I was still set on the sciences. It was obvious that a job as an optometrist was a smarter choice. I would probably get paid a lot of money, and I would have job security for the rest of my life.

When the time came to actually decide, I just knew something did not feel right about entering a pre-med program. I wanted to be happy with my choice, and I did not want to do something just because of the money. I realized English was my true calling. I loved everything about English. I was always that one student who didn’t complain when it came time to read Hamlet or Macbeth for class. I was excited to read Beowulf or Chaucer and Oscar Wilde and J.R.R. Tolkien soon became my favorite authors in high school.

I couldn’t be happier with my choice to become an English major. I learn something new every day-honest! My English 110 class was a challenge though. My high school didn’t really prepare me for college writing, so I had to learn how to work extra hard and learn things quickly. Now that I have English 200, the class infamously known as the “English Majors’ Boot Camp,” I feel as if I am learning so much each day. Never before had I taken a simple fifteen line poem and broken it down into pages worth of ideas.

I am a little scared I haven’t cried because of that class yet. I have heard from so many other English majors that English 200 will make me cry at least once… If I haven’t cried yet, then I am so nervous for whatever is coming! So far the assays and paraphrasing exercises haven’t been enough to make me worry, but I suppose the big research paper that is coming up could be the big kicker.

I feel as if I spend all my free time worrying about this next paper. Besides the countless journal entries I am required to write and all the annotating I have done, I have spent countless hours in the library trying to find the right sources for my paper. I am writing my paper on Flannery O’Conner’s "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," and the symbolism in that story is intense. Christian symbols, weather patterns, and I am even finding that color references all play a huge part in developing this story. Well, I haven’t cried yet, and I am pretty positive that if I can make it through this paper, then I can make it through the rest of English 200 without shedding a tear. But who knows, Professor Hale might have some other surprises after this paper that the other students haven’t warned me about!

Even if there are surprises, I know I’m a trooper! I’m just excited (and to be honest a little nervous) for my future as an English major. My only goal is to keep learning new things and to improve my writing, but what English major doesn’t have these goals?

2011-2012 English Courses

Fall 2011

English 180: Introduction to Literature: Young Adult Literature for the 21st Century
A general literature course for non-majors that does not count for the English major or minor. It is, however, cross-listed with the women's studies minor. Three Credits.(Solberg)

English 200: Introduction to English Studies
A gateway to the English major, this course is designed to introduce majors to the broad range of scholarship and practice within the discipline of English. Included will be emphasis on close reading and research skills, as well as overviews of the history of the discipline, creative writing, literary criticism and theory, and vocational paths. Three Credits. (Watson)

English 210: Creative Writing
Practice in the writing and critical analysis of imaginative literary forms, especially poetry and fiction. Three Credits. (Bruce)

English 220: British Survey I
A historical survey emphasizing literary and cultural developments in English literature from the Medieval through the Neoclassical periods. Three Credits. (Belschner)

English 224: American Survey I
One of two introductory surveys in American literature emphasizing literary movements, and cultural and historical developments in the literature of the United States. Readings will include: native American creation myths; explorer narratives; poetry, fiction and non-fiction from such writers as Bradstreet, Cotton Mather, Edwards, Franklin, Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Whitman, Melville and Dickinson. Three Credits. (Bruce)

English 310: Advanced Creative Writing
Students write intensively in fiction or poetry, choosing their subject matter throughout the course. Students sharpen their critical skills by evaluating one another's work and by investigating contemporary writing and publishing. Three Credits. (Bruce)

English 350: 20th Century Poetry
This is really going to be a “Modern Poetry” course.  The concept of “modern” is nothing new, since each age struggles with how to balance history against the always-forming present.  For this course, though, “modern” will have a pretty specific use:  “modern” includes anything written from the fin-de-siecle until about forty years ago.  And though I’d thought about doing this as a modern British course (my specialty) or even a modern American course, I’m actually doing it as a modern international poetry course, since many of the modern writers, no matter what their nationality, were reading each other and writing in reaction.  We’re going to look at a mess of those folks and see what we can learn about modern poetry as it was practiced in the last century.  Authors covered include:  Rilke, Valery, Yeats, Eliot, Hikmet, Stevens, Auden, Brathwaite, Rich, and Tsvetaeva. Three Credits. (Willhardt)

English 350: Victorian Culture and Literature
We will examine, analyze, compare and contrast novels, stories, poems, music, paintings and children’s literature from the Victorian Period and strive to discover qualities, methods, and themes that make the works of the era distinctive and even question the logic of interpreting works in terms of period.  We will also connect the objects to the social, historical, and cultural events and trends that are contemporary to our selections and examine the interplay between art and “real life.”  This section will meet with Brian Baugh’s Victorian Culture and Art class and education professor Craig Vivian will bring an interest in children’s literature to our class. Students will participate in a number of hands-on experiences (creating art, making food, engaging with Victorian technology) to simulate “the Victorian frame of mind.” Three Credits. (Hale)

Spring 2012

English 180: Introduction to Literature: Illinois Authors
“Home is Where the Heartland Is” is a study of Illinois through its literature--fiction and non-fiction examples from throughout the history of the state, ranging from Southern Illinois to Chicago.  The course will also look at the folklore and music of the state while studying the concepts of literary analysis.  The course is designed to explore what it means to be an Illinoisan or to gain a clearer understanding of the concept if not a native Illinoisan.  The course will also reflect the history, politics, religion, philosophy, education, sports, music, and day-to-day life of the state during the semester.  Students will gain an appreciation for the resources the state has to offer, both natural and manmade, while exploring the positive and negative aspects of life in a Midwestern state known for Abraham Lincoln and Chicago.  Students will also gain knowledge of the history of the state, along with exposure to various native Illinoisan authors who have been published through the years. Three Credits. (Roberts)

English 200: Introduction to English Studies
A gateway to the English major, this course is designed to introduce majors to the broad range of scholarship and practice within the discipline of English. Included will be emphasis on close reading and research skills, as well as overviews of the history of the discipline, creative writing, literary criticism and theory, and vocational paths. Three Credits. (Belschner)

English 201: Grammar
A course that gives students practice in fundamental English grammar. Emphasizes basic skills, not theory. Three Credits (Roberts)

English 210: Creative Writing
Practice in the writing and critical analysis of imaginative literary forms, especially poetry and fiction. Three Credits. (Bruce)

English 221: British Survey II
A historical survey emphasizing literary and cultural developments in English literature from the Romantic through the Modern periods. Three credits. (Hale)

English 225: American Survey II
An introductory survey focusing on poetry and fiction written after the Civil War and before American involvement in the Second World War. Included are works from such writers as Jewett, Wharton, Twain, James, Kate Chopin, Crane, Pound, Robinson, Frost, Anderson, Stevens, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner. Emphasis on literary, cultural, and historical movements. The course is a continuation of English 224, but may be taken alone and without regard to sequence. Three Credits. (Watson)

English 250: Shakespeare on Film
Shakespeare on Film can only be taken by students who are co-enrolled in English 361 Shakespeare Comedies and Histories. The class meets once/ week to view film versions of the play read in English 361 and to discuss and read critical essays on the films. One Credit. (Belschner)

English 299: Writing Fellows
This course is an introduction to the tutoring process, as well as basic pedagogical and developmental strategies for teaching writing. Course requirements will include readings in composition/tutoring theory and practice as well as tutoring in the Mellinger Teaching and Learning Center. Two Credits. (Draxler)

English 301: Advanced Composition
Better entitled “Literary Nonfiction” this course is a complement to the two creative writing courses offered by the Department.  A craft course, we will work on understanding the various subgenres of literary nonfiction by reading widely and writing copiously.  The idea is to learn to tell true stories, but tell them as if they were fiction, keeping in mind ways to generate character, scene, plot, and that most elusive of all elements, style. Three Credits. (Willhardt)

English 347: Modern American Drama
Modern American drama is the subject of the course.  We will read and discuss as works of literature several twentieth-century American plays, using reader response and new critical approaches to the texts.  We want also to understand and appreciate these plays as performed dramas, and to that end we will use “reader’s theater,” our own video productions, and professional films to highlight analysis of character, dialogue, stage action and craft.   Our goals in the course are several: 1) to experience plays variously: as readers, spectators, actors and directors; 2) to develop analytical vocabulary and skills pertinent in discourse about dramatic literature; 3) to identify and describe important characteristics and qualities of modern American drama; 4) to explore through the plays we read central developments in American literature and culture in the twentieth century. 3 Credits. (Watson)

English 350: Early Modern Women
In this course, we will explore women's roles in the early modern period, focusing on the years of Elizabeth I's (1588-1603) and James I's (1603-1625) reigns. Earliy Modern Women emphasizes historical context, literary theory, and primary texts from various genres. We will examine autobiographical texts, poems both short and long, drama, and non-fiction. We will read works by Elizabeth I, Mary Wroth, Isabella Whitney, Elizabeth Cary, Amelia Lanyer, and others. The early modern dictum that women be "silent, obedient, and chaste" was inherently contradicted by women writers. How did this influence women's writing and their strategies for authorizing their voices? We will examine women's legal and cultural status with an eye toward the issues of speech and class. Writing empowered early modern women by expanding the reach of their voices but how and to what end? In what ways were women resisting, implementing, and/or creating power? What were the aesthetic values of these early modern women writers? How did they conceive of their writing within their historical moment? 3 Credits. (Belschner)

English 362: Shakespeare II: Comedies and Histories
Studies in Shakespeare's comedies and histories. 3 Credits. (Belschner)

English 400: Senior Seminar
An intensive study of key literary periods and subjects. Required of all senior English majors. 3 Credits. (Hale)


Survey Says!!!!

 What book is on your To-Read list?

Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone

-Rob Hale

I've got hundreds of books on my to-read list, but one that I'm really, really looking forward to reading is Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars.

-Leanna Waldron

The Thing Around Your Neck
by Chimamanda Ngozi

-Erika Solberg

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

-Presiana Yorgakieva

There are so many, but Old Man's War by John Scalzi is definitely near the top.

-Alex Kane

The White Company
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

-Robert Cook

Eldunari, the fourth book in the Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini

-Derek Keist

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson and Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin are my top two next reads!

-Emily Isaacs

Right now my to-read list contains mostly books for class, so The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is up next, but I am actually looking forward to it.

-Ivy Bekker

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because I have started it a million times and never finished it.

-Ivy Engebretson

I think the book at the top of my list to read would probably be Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire.

-Rissa Inman

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee. I can't believe I've almost gotten through a whole English degree without reading it.

-Melissa Bankes

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

-Carly Maki 


  • Come check out Suclci, Monmouth's poetry group, every Thursday at 9pm in the first floor lounge of Mellinger Learning Center!

Writing Center 3:00-5:00 pm Monday - Thursday
7:00-10:00 pm Sunday - Thursday

Leanna Waldron

Alex Nall

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