Graduate Students have the opportunity to work with faculty on a number of important collaborative scholarly projects based in the English Department.
Graduate students in the English Department and in affiliated departments and programs organize informal reading groups. Some of these groups focus on shared literary or interpretive interests. Others focus on students’ ongoing writing and research projects. Please watch the Graduate Program News section of our website for announcements.
Our primary research facility is RUSH RHEES LIBRARY, which holds several million volumes in an open-stack environment. In 1997, the Library installed a state-of-the-art electronic catalogue, Voyager, which provides a union listing of all the University’s libraries, together with direct links to various on-line resources and archives and to other web sites. Remote access (from on campus and off) and high powered, versatile search capabilities make it well suited to the sophisticated research requirements of graduate students. Graduate students in the Department of English may make use of a variety of specialized collections and several research opportunities unique to the University of Rochester; these enable students, at beginning and advanced levels, to pursue topics in depth, explore new territory, develop interdisciplinary expertise, or work with non-traditional materials.
The KOLLER-COLLINS GRADUATE CENTER—an attractive space within Rush Rhees Library dedicated to research and lectures in literary studies—contains non-circulating collections of particular value to graduate students and faculty in English. The ROSSELL HOPE ROBBINS LIBRARY, a group of more than 20,000 books and periodicals devoted to Medieval Studies, with its own reading rooms and stacks, provides one of the best research facilities in North America for advanced work in Old and Middle English, medieval history and art, and the continental literature of the High Middle Ages. The KOLLER-COLLINS COLLECTION, housed in the main reading rooms of the Center, consists of 7,000 primary texts and reference works in all areas of British and American literature and critical theory; the Collection also includes special holdings in the works of several authors, including Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Graham Greene, and the Elizabethan dramatists. These collections, together with an adjacent seminar room, reading lounges, and the offices of the Middle English Texts series and the Chaucer Bibliographies, insure that graduate students have unfettered access to essential materials in a space that fosters independent work and enables students to share their professional interests.
The DEPARTMENT OF RARE BOOKS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, also located in Rush Rhees Library, houses unique research materials, including books, manuscripts, maps, prints, broadsides, and other printed ephemera, many associates with particular collections. This corpus of some 75,000 volumes ranges from holographs and incunabula to modern first editions; areas of outstanding strength include earlier English drama, a grouping of nineteenth-century authors (Robert Southey, Benjamin Disraeli, John Ruskin, and others), early American children’s books, filmed books, and modern poetry. The University owns unpublished materials associated with a number of Rochester luminaries (Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and William Henry Seward), with playwrights and performers of nineteenth-century British and American theater, and with a number of twentieth-century novelists and poets (among them, Adelaide Crapsey, John MacInnes, Hyam Plutzik, John Gardner, and John Williams). Special Collections also possesses an exceptional assortment of Dime Novels published in late nineteenth-century America, encompassing Westerns, science fiction, detective and adventure stories, sports books, and inspirational reading of the Horatio Alger type. The Hyam Plutzik Library of Contemporary Writing, which houses the William and Hannelore Heyen collection of manuscripts, broadsides and first editions of twentieth century poetry, a remarkable collection containing thousands of items, provides unique research opportunities for the advanced study of contemporary writing.
The MULTIMEDIA CENTER provides, among other things, sophisticated computer and video equipment and software for student projects, knowledgeable help in designing and executing such projects, and classrooms outfitted for multimedia instruction. The Center offers a program of brief presentations to introduce novice users to its equipment and facilities. The Multimedia Center also houses the collection of films, videos, and DVDs belonging to the Film Studies Collection (see below).
The GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE, located several miles from the main campus, possesses an unparalleled collection of photographs, filsm, and related materials. An international center for film scholars, it has one of the two or three richest film archives in the world. The University’s association with the Eastman House provides a channel for students interested in serious study of the history, criticism, and art of film. Eastman House each year sponsors internships especially suited for Rochester Ph.D. students, and it offers various employment opportunities that have strengthened the credentials of Film Studies students.
Many of our students opt to supplement their PhD in English with a graduate certificate in African and African-American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, or Literary Translation. These certificates allow students to highlight an interdisciplinary focus that informs their teaching or research. Requirements for these certificates are easily coordinated with our students’ departmental programs of study.
The University’s interdisciplinary programs provide an important resource for graduate courses, faculty research seminars and graduate reading groups, visiting speakers and conferences, graduate certificates, and funding for travel to conferences and archives.
The English Department and affiliated departments and programs across the University sponsor visiting speakers and conferences throughout the academic year. In addition to sponsoring these individual events, we coordinate visiting scholars and writers through several established series and projects.
George H. Ford was a distinguished Dickens scholar, authority on Victorian literature, and scholar of D.H. Lawrence. He was one of the founding editors of the Norton Anthology of English Literature and edited its Victorian section through six editions. He taught at the University of Rochester from1958 until his retirement in 1984, and was chairman of the department from 1960 to 1972.
Professor Ford was instrumental in establishing the University of Rochester’s PhD Program in English. His bequest to the department allows us to sponsor The George H. Ford Lecture Series. This is a wonderful opportunity for the department to host distinguished scholars whose visits to graduate classrooms, seminar meetings with graduate students, and public lectures have a tremendous impact on our graduate program.
Recent George H. Ford lecturers include professors Nancy Armstrong, Paul Auster, Jenny Davidson, Carolyn Dinshaw, Annette Gordon-Reed, Gerald Graff, Langdon Hammer, N. Katherine Hayles, Joseph Loewenstein, D. A. Miller, Christopher Ricks, Joseph Roach, Elaine Showalter, Susan Stewart, and John Unsworth.