Professor Hendler to Give Inaugural Lecture

You are invited to a fantastic Inaugural Lecture on September 18th at 4 pm: Glenn Hendler on the feline and fabulous David Bowie. The Inaugural Lecture is the only time that the English Department gathers together for an event. For more information, see below.

Please RSVP to Carole at calvino3@fordham.edu by Wednesday, September 11, so we can get a proper head count for the reception to follow.

Please make every effort to attend!

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 12.17.59 PM.png

Professor Enelow's Latest Review

Professor Enelow

Professor Enelow

Professor Enelow has published a profound and powerful review of Mike Leigh latest film Peterloo in the most recent issue of Film Comment. “Peterloo depicts the political reform movement that led to the eponymous massacre of 1819, in which at least 60,000 peaceful protestors gathered in a field in Manchester and were attacked, unprovoked, by the military.”

Professor Enelow’s review is, as one would expect, astute and insightful. Here is just a sample:

“Peterloo inexorably builds to a violent climax, and offers no dulcet title card at the end (you have to go elsewhere to learn about the aftermath and historical effects of the massacre). But its open-endedness makes an important point. The truism that politics is theater has arguably never sounded more glib than it does today; if there’s any virtue in the thundering obviousness of the remark in 2019, it might simply be that it prompts more nuanced ones. What kinds of performances lead to what kinds of action? What kinds of spectators should citizens be?” 

To read the full review, click here:

Film Comment


Standing Room Only for Professor Greenfield


From The West Side Spirit (with contributions from Bethany Sattur):

On April 24 in Morningside Heights near the Columbia campus, the second floor of Book Culture was packed with a standing-room only audience there for a unique book reading. One by one, four formerly homeless people featured in Sacred Shelter: Thirteen Journeys of Homeless and Healing, edited by Susan Celia Greenfield, read selections from their life stories. Edna Humphrey, Heidi Nissen, Lisa Sperber and Sophia Worrell shared traumas from their youth, the devastation of homelessness, and the healing they discovered through community and faith. The audience was riveted; people gasped and some cried.

All the readers are graduates of an interfaith life skills empowerment program, founded in 1989 by George Horton of New York Catholic Charities and Marc Greenberg of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. The evening’s speakers also included Dawn Ravella, director of a life skills program for the Reformed Church of Bronxville, and Ira Ben-Wiseman, a program mentor. Said Marc Greenberg, executive director of the Interfaith Assembly: “Homelessness does not need to exist in our society.”

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 12.11.39 PM.png

“While Sacred Shelter does not tackle the socioeconomic conditions and inequities that cause homelessness, it provides a voice for a demographic group that continues to suffer from systemic injustice and marginalization. In powerful, narrative form, it expresses the resilience of individuals who have experienced homelessness and the hope and community they have found. By listening to their stories, we are urged to confront our own woundedness and uncover our desire for human connection, a sacred shelter on the other side of suffering.”

Congratulations to Professor Greenfield on this remarkable achievement. Sacred Shelter is available wherever you buy books. For more information, and to purchase a copy, click here:

Book Culture.

Faculty Workshop on Doris Lessing

On Wednesday, April 10th, Fordham faculty members gathered for a workshop on the Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing (1919-2013). Professor Chris GoGwilt convened the group, and he and Professor Anne Fernald moderated the conversation.


After short papers by Profs. Seda Arikan and Cornelius Collins, the group discussed Lessing's evolving ethical commitments over her long career.

Among other issues, the group discussed Lessing's shift from an ethics of virtue in the 1950s (as seen in the Children of Violence novel cycle) toward an ethics of self-care by the 1980s (as seen in the novel The Good Terrorist); her short story "An Old Woman and Her Cat," her wider interest in cats and the nonhuman, and how that might connect to a contemporary ethics that extends beyond the human; how Lessing's dedication to Sufism compares with Iris Murdoch's Platonism; and Lessing's often unrecognized irony, humor, and gift for satirical mimicry.

Seda Arıkan teaches at Firat University in Turkey at the Department of Western Languages and Literatures. She is at Fordham as a visiting scholar and currently working on her book about ethics in Doris Lessing's novels. 

Cornelius Collins teaches literature and writing here in the Fordham English department, and he is the outgoing president of the Doris Lessing Society and will soon take the helm as co-editor-in-chief of Doris Lessing Studies

Anne Fernald is Professor of English & Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Beginning in Fall 2019, she will be co-editor-in-chief of the journal Modernism/modernity.

Fordham Honors Professor Chase

At the annual Convocation ceremony, held this year on March 10th at Lincoln Center, the Fordham community celebrated the considerable contributions of long-serving university professors, administrators, and staff, including the English Department’s own Professor Chase.

Father McShane thanked Professor Chase for his exceptional scholarship and pedagogy, and awarded Professor Chase the Bene Merenti metal for 20 years of service to Fordham University.

President McShane and Professor Chase

President McShane and Professor Chase

Here is the tribute written to honor Professor Chase:

“Anyone who knows Martin Chase understands his passion for the English language and literature in all its forms (including Old, Middle, and Modern). He is a leading expert in manuscript paleography and codicology, as well as the study of Anglo-Saxon literature. His groundbreaking research on Old Norse, a cousin to Modern English, is internationally known. Martin holds degrees from Oberlin College, the University of Michigan, the University of Toronto, the University of Copenhagen, and Weston School of Theology. It was in 1999 that Fordham wooed Martin away from a prestigious teaching post in Copenhagen.

He has contributed meaningfully to scholarship on medieval philology and literature, pursuing the enduring question of what makes us human. Along with numerous articles on skaldic poetry and Scandinavian medievalism, Martin’s archival work has yielded editions of Old Norse poetry, such as Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli. Martin’s translations have had enormous impact, giving scholarly access to poems such as the 14th-century Icelandic poem Lilja (or The Lily), which has been referred to as the “Norse Divine Comedy.” Recently, he has edited the collection Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond: Poetic Variety in Medieval Iceland and Norway.

Martin is beloved by his students. His wisdom is valued by everyone who has served with him, including members of the Faculty Senate, University Research Council, the Center for Medieval Studies, Academic Integrity, Ignatian Pedagogy, and Fordham’s literary journal, Traditio. Martin’s reputation as a scholar is complemented by the contributions he has made as a member of the Society of Jesus for almost 40 years. Martin’s generous service to the University community and to his academic profession are a way of life.”

Congratulations to Professor Chase, and thank you for all you do for your students, for the English Department, and for Fordham University.

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 12.44.49 PM.png

Professor Hoffman Receives Bene Merenti Medal for 40 Years of Service

At the annual Convocation ceremony, held this year on March 10th at Lincoln Center, Professor Anne Hoffman received the Bene Merenti metal for 40 years of service to Fordham University.

“You make the routine miraculous,” President McShane said. “And you make everything at the University an occasion of grace because of the way in which you go about your work.” 

President McShane and Professor Hoffman

President McShane and Professor Hoffman

Here is the tribute celebrating Professor Hoffman’s considerable contributions to Fordham University:

“Anne Hoffman’s history is marked both by an unusually full commitment to Fordham and by an unusually complete engagement with scholarship. In the mid-1990s, she served as Chair of the Humanities Division at Lincoln Center and then as Associate Chair of the English Department. Her wholehearted involvement with the issues surrounding the merger of Fordham’s two campuses was graceful, collegial, and tolerant, supported by an encouraging belief that difficulties were surmountable.

Administrative work has been just one facet of Anne’s notably productive career. She has written two books and, since 1981, has published an article every year, as well as giving one or two lectures annually. This public aspect of her scholarship has been enlarged by her work closer to home, where her admired teaching has been recognized with the Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities Award. For generations of students, Anne has provided extraordinary continuity, mentoring them and forging friendships for years. She has directed four honors classes, the most recent one graduating last May. She was the prime mover in the interfaith initiative between studies in Judaism and Christianity, “Nostra Aetate.”

President McShane and Professor Hoffman

President McShane and Professor Hoffman

For about a dozen years, Anne served on the executive committee of the Women’s Studies Program, where she devised the Women’s Studies major. The ease and pleasure with which she has shared her interests—modern Hebrew literature, psychiatry, gender—has drawn many people. We are happy to honor this remarkable colleague, universally recognized for her sense of fairness, judiciousness, wisdom, and decency.”

Congratulations to Professor Hoffman, and thank you for all you have done for your students, for the English Department, and for Fordham University.

Professor Bly Honored

At the 2019 Convocation ceremony, held March 10th at Lincoln Center, Fordham University awarded Professor Mary Bly the Bene Merenti medal for her 20 years of dedicated service to Fordham.

“You are our treasure,” Fordham President Father McShane said. “The treasure that makes it possible for us to form young women and men to be women and men for others.”

President McShane and Professor Bly

President McShane and Professor Bly

This is the tribute written for Professor Bly:

“In her 20 years at Fordham, Mary Bly has contributed so much to our communal life that we might justly bestow perhaps a century’s worth of Bene Merenti medals on her, right here, right now. During her spectacular, overlapping triple stint as Director of Graduate Studies, of the Creative Writing Program, and of Professional Development, she transfigured for the better everything she touched. Thanks to her innovations, our doctoral students, now fully funded, enter the profession with a deeper sense of what their work entails, and our Creative Writing Program thrives as never before.

The same prodigious productivity suffuses everything that Mary does. Within the populous world of Shakespeare scholarship, Mary and her work shine star-bright. And then there is her second self: Eloisa James, prolific, bestselling romance novelist. Perhaps no other professor on Earth can hold audiences equally in thrall at the annual meetings of the Shakespeare Association of America, and of the romance fanfest KissCon.

But Mary’s most enthralled audiences are her Fordham students, who follow her from course to course, singing her praises everywhere, and manifesting throughout their work and lives the marks of her spellbinding, tirelessly attentive teaching. How then to sum up this force of nature, this magnificent shaper of books, thoughts, minds, and institutions? Perhaps by echoing three lines from Yeats:

Author, scholar, teacher she,
And all she does done perfectly,
As though she had but that one trade alone.”

Congratulations, Professor Bly, and thank you for all you have done for your students, for the English Department, and for the Fordham community at large.

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 12.44.49 PM.png