Archive for April, 2015


King John in the Library

   Posted by: rring    in Events, Shakespeare, students

Goff0001On Wednesday (the eve of Shakespeare’s birthday) the Watkinson (producer) paired up with volunteers from Dan Lloyd’s “Shakespeare as Philosopher” class (cast) and area teaching artist Christin Goff (Director) to perform a staged reading of King John.

KJcastThe players performed to a small but dedicated audience–augmented by a few floaters after intermission, who doubtless came to see what all the fuss was about. The production was augmented by inter-scene and intermission music, live bongo drums (for dramatic affect), and projected slides which provided a visual gloss, of sorts, to the action, which at times can be unclear (this is not one of the more well-known plays). However, the text was edited by Ms. Goff for the performance, which helped the flow and pacing of the play, and the name-cards displayed when a character was speaking also helped.

KJ directorKJ bastard speaksThis was the first in what we plan will be a series of productions of Shakespeare sponsored by the Watkinson, to draw attention to the recently acquired and restored “2nd Folio” (the second edition of the first publication of the complete plays of Shakespeare, printed in 1632).

We thank professor Lloyd & his class for their hard work!

PowerPoint Presentation


Second Annual Writing Residency

   Posted by: rring    in Events, Prizes and Awards, students

David FieldI am pleased to announce that David Field ’15 is this year’s awardee of the South Beach Writing Residency, offered by the family of Hyam Plutzik ’32.

David is an English major originally from Franklin, MA, with a focus on creative writing, rhetoric, and media arts. He has written two novels, and was a recipient of a Watkinson Creative Fellowship in the Spring of 2014, the ultimate product of which was a publication of several short stories, available here. He plans to attend an MFA program after Trinity and to teach creative writing at the college level.

The Family of Hyam Plutzik (Trinity ’32) offers an annual residency (for five years, beginning in Spring 2014) in South Beach in the Betsy Writers Room to a graduating senior with outstanding talent in the literary arts.  The award is given in May, as part of the graduation program (Honors Day).  This residency comes with a $500 travel stipend, six days lodging, and a per diem of $50. During the residency, which can happen anytime during the award year (June-April), the recipient will be invited to participate in an Arts Salon to share his/her work with the community; planning will be done in close partnership with the visiting artist.  The residency will be awarded annually by the Head Curator and Librarian of the Watkinson, in consultation with College advisers, for a residency to be scheduled directly with the Betsy Writers Room.

.Betsy south beach

PaulLast night the English Department sponsored an event in the Watkinson to help us celebrate the gift of two archives (now processed and ready for researchers) by retired professor Paul Lauter.

The larger of the two archives are 25 boxes of files and papers related to the formation and production of the Heath Anthology of American Literature, now in its eighth edition. The Heath Anthology  began in 1984 as a project of The Feminist Press called Reconstructing American Literature (RAL).  The literary “canon,” according to Lauter and his collaborators, had long overlooked the writings of most women and people of color.  Beginning at the 1968 meeting of the Modern Language Association, activist conference participants argued for a more inclusive and diverse understanding of American literature.  Lauter was a leader in this groundbreaking endeavor, from which the RAL project and ultimately an entirely new anthology emerged.

stuffAmong the categories in the Lauter collection are African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and Native American writings, organizations like MELUS (Multiethnic Literature of the United States), traditionally significant authors like Melville, Multiculturalism, Secondary School projects (for changes in high school curricula) and Teaching. The Teaching folders feature syllabi developed for the Heath Anthology  along with articles by Paul Lauter and other members of the Heath editorial board on such topics as using the anthology and teaching lesser-known writers and multicultural literature.  Also included are copies of a biannual newsletter produced by the publisher, DC Heath, to promote the anthology and to help faculty teach its breadth of literary texts.  54 folders labelled “Miscellaneous” offer access to varied works by authors considered for the anthology, searchable by last names.  The Heath Anthology  is, in fact, part of a revolution in the study and teaching of American literature.

IMG_3119“In putting together the Heath,” Paul Lauter wrote, “we wished to represent what we perceived to be the rich diversity of American cultures, [especially] the significance of gender, race, and class to the shaping and reception of literary texts.”crowd

The second collection is the Paul Lauter ‘Sixties Archive, comprising fourteen boxes which contain correspondence, pamphlets, newspapers, books, and flyers from organizations like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), New University Conference (NUC), American Friends Service Committee, U.S. Servicemen’s Fund, and the Feminist Press.  Lauter, who was active in all of those organizations, also collected materials on the anti-Vietnam-war movement, including draft resistance and GI peace activity, the feminist, civil rights, and LGBT movements of the time, and student activism more generally.

Hager & Gacring1


To Keep or Not to Keep?

   Posted by: rring    in book history, Classes, students

IMG_3039As an exercise in analyzing the artifact, Jonathan Elukin’s Honors Seminar on the History of the Book (FYSM 256) recently examined two works from our collections which occur in, shall we say, multiple “instances.” Four copies of two editions of the so-called Nuremberg Chronicle, (German and Latin), published in 1493 . . . and five editions of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia, all printed in Basel, 1550 ; 1558; 1559; 1568; and 1574.

IMG_3037The question we put to the students: Why do we need multiple copies of an edition of a work, or even multiple editions of the same work? What (if anything) can each copy of each edition “teach” us?

The students did an excellent job of examining the various aspects of the books, which included marginalia, binding, rubrication, hand-colored illustrations, observations about linguistic changes over time, and other factors crucial to the study of what kinds of information was available to Europeans about the world in the Renaissance, and the modes of the production and distribution of that information.

Not only did we decide to keep all of the copies, they convinced me that I should try to acquire (by gift or purchase) more editions of the Cosmographia! Since complete copies of 16thC editions run into five figures these days, this may take a while…

IMG_3040The most gratifying part of all this, of course, is to be able to provide such a fully equipped “laboratory of the humanities” for Trinity students. The rare book collections in the Watkinson are equal to, and most often exceed, those of our “peer” schools, and is a true point of pride for Trinity.



Staged reading of King John

   Posted by: rring    in Events, Shakespeare, students

rr0001This evening is the first meeting of players from prof. Dan Lloyd’s “Shakespeare as Philosopher” (PHIL 254) class who have agreed to participate in a staged reading of The Life and Death of King John, a play not often performed in modern times.

IMG_3042We are sponsoring this performance for two reasons: to herald the acquisition (in spring 2012) and restoration (in spring 2015) of the so-called “2nd Folio” of Shakespeare; and also to herald our fall exhibition honoring the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, which King John put his royal seal to in 1215, and to which Connecticut can honorably trace its constitutionalism.

The PERFORMANCE will be on April 22, at 7:00pm in the Joslin Family 1823 Room.