Hello from London!
For the past three and a half years, I have been studying at the University of Leeds in West Yorkshire under the supervision of professor David Lindley, editor of Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Cambridge UP, 2013) and author of Shakespeare and Music (Arden, 2006). My wife Amy has been working in philanthropy since 2011 and with her new job at the London Community Foundation we have moved into a little flat just off the Thames. Last month, I submitted my dissertation entitled, ‘Popular Song in Early Modern Drama 1580-1620’ and in July 2013 I received my PhD in the Great Hall!
My time in England has been enormously fruitful and rewarding. Beyond the robust academic culture and extensive resources available to me at the University of Leeds, I have had the opportunity to attend seminars and give papers in a number of other exciting places such as the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon; Merton College, University of Oxford; and just recently at the Globe Theatre here in London. For the past three winters I have been teaching ENGL1140 The Plays of Shakespeare, a challenging endeavour due to its regular complement of foreign students many for whom seventeenth-century English is particularly difficult. For our final seminar this year, I took everybody to the Brotherton Library Special Collections for a look at the First Folio (and the ‘second’, ‘third’, and ‘fourth’ folios) along with a number of other fabulous documents such as a first edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. As much as I am an advocate of digital tools and systems, it is compelling to observe students as they engage the physical volumes there on the tables. These are not facsimiles, not CGI, but real, organic things – and after four months slogging through acts, scenes, criticism etc., many students find they have stumbled into a relationship with these artefacts (at least that is what they tell me – perhaps they are just being kind). On the publishing front, the latest volume of the Ben Jonson Journal, containing an essay of mine, came through the post in May and there is talk of another of my papers being included in a collection to be published by Cambridge UP in 2014– exciting times!
This rich adventure would not have happened without the training and support I received at the University of Calgary during my BA and my MA. My involvement in the English Department’s Osborne Project was particularly beneficial, for not only did it provide me with specialized research training, its foreign exchange program positioned me to meet and work with a number of key scholars here in the UK, many of whom supplied vital advice and assistance when it came time for PhD applications; indeed some of these gracious people continue to help me as I enter the job market. Again, without everyone at U of C English I would not be sitting here with my espresso, writing this as the double-decker buses roll by.
Warm wishes and many thanks!
Paul L. Faber
PS: For more info about my research and other interests, please go to www.paulfaber.com.