Cindy Weinstein’s Finding the Right Words

In Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain, Cindy Weinstein (PhD ’89) reflects on her time as a PhD student in the Berkeley English department, which coincided with her father’s struggle with dementia. Her father was only 58; the first symptom was his difficulty to find words —an especially charged issue for Weinstein because of...

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Thomas Farber’s Acting My Age

Introduction In Acting My Age, Thomas Farber reflects, with wit and insight, on his own mortality as well as on the impending extinction of vital presences in the natural world, from coral reefs to snow leopards. The author of over two dozen wide-ranging books of fiction, nonfiction, and epigrams, Farber teaches creative writing in the English department. The following excerpt...

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Eric Falci on the Value of Poetry

In The Value of Poetry (Cambridge, 2020), Professor Eric Falci explores the literary, cultural, and political significance of poetry in the twenty-first century. Arguing that some of the most significant and enduring human notions have been voiced and held in poems, he examines the ways in which poetry captures instances of thought, feeling, and speech, and embeds them in language that is...

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The Bedri Distinguished Writer Series – Fall 2021

For information on the Bedri Distinguished Writer Series, including past and forthcoming events, please visit the Series’ website. Join us for a public lecture with Jennifer Egan, the Fall 2021 Bedri Distinguished Writer, on Thursday, November 4th at 5:00 PM in 315 Wheeler Hall (the Maud Fife Room). A smaller, department-only Q&A will take place the following day (Friday, November...

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Writing Race: Faulkner and His Progeny

Welcome: The English Department welcomes you to “Writing Race:  Faulkner and his Progeny,” and I look forward to meeting you via Zoom on the first Wednesday of the month. —Mark Danner “The past is never dead,” Faulkner famously said. “It is not even past.” In our time of racial turmoil, few High Modernist writers feel more contemporary. Faulkner managed to...

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Modernity and the Films of the Coen Brothers

Welcome to the black comedy of the Coen brothers. We’ll concentrate on three films, starting with their first, Blood Simple (1984), a neo-noir, influenced by film noirs of the 40’s and 50’s. But it is also a post-modern text about uncertainty, misunderstanding, and other films. See you on October 4th, Best, Julia Bader Through films ranging from Miller’s Crossing and...

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Remembering Rebecca Munson

Rebecca Munson passed away on Friday, August 13th. Rebecca was a recent (2015) graduate of our PhD program, and had been working as Assistant Director for Interdisciplinary Education at Princeton’s Center for Digital Humanities. The Center has published a memorial notice, https://cdh.princeton.edu/updates/2021/08/15/rebecca-munson/.   A contribution from James G. Turner. After hearing the shocking news I looked through hundreds of Rebecca’s...

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An Interview with Susan Schweik

Classically academic jobs are few and far between. At a place like Berkeley, you have to be trained to be a professor (and actually be one) before you are in a position to be an assistant or associate dean. At some other schools, it might be a career path of its own, separately. But I believe you should understand the work of faculty from inside before you move into this level of administration. Working on the administrative side….

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An Interview with Kathleen Donegan

Don’t be afraid to commit yourself to visions that are much bigger than you could ever realize by yourself. Your sustained commitment to the idea will have the effect of bringing other people along, and they will dedicate their own skills and resources to the project. When you see gaps or problems or absences, always ask “What if…” and allow yourself to imagine a solution that will reach out to people and offer them….

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An Interview with Hertha D. Sweet Wong

I think the appropriate reason to go into administration is from a desire to make something (e.g., experiences, processes, functionality) better. I see it as a mode of service. I would encourage undergraduate women who are interested in higher education administration, to get involved early (as a volunteer, intern, or committee member) in organizations or institutions where they can both contribute their insights and gain experience….

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Dear English Department – A reintroduction to the Simpson Literary Project

Dear UC Berkeley English Department,           It’s nice to meet you, again. We are the Simpson Literary Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting authors, and enhancing the lives of readers, writers, educators, and students in communities across California and the nation. Our story begins in Wheeler Hall, where our founder Joseph Di Prisco completed his...

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The Other Melville (Professor Samuel Otter, English 190)

Welcome: The English Department welcomes you to “The Other Melville,” and I look forward to meeting you via Zoom and to talking about Melville’s fiction. —Samuel Otter Most readers know the works of Herman Melville through his now-famous Moby-Dick. But Melville wrote a range of compelling fiction and poetry before and after Moby-Dick. The “Read Along with Berkley English” component...

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The Graphic Memoir (Professor Hertha D. Sweet Wong, English 166)

Welcome to “Reading Along with Berkeley English.” As you can see, we are an eclectic bunch. I am a scholar of Native American Studies and American Studies. I never, never thought I would be reading (much less teaching) comics. But, although I resisted for quite some time, I finally listened to my brilliant students who insisted (repeatedly over several years) that I...

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Student Series: An essay by English major Davis Mendez

Davis Mendez Jesse Nathan English 166   Wallace Stevens’ “The Motive of Metaphor”   Wallace Stevens’ “The Motive of Metaphor” is a collection of signs, which at least for this essay is a better description of the poem. Its reading is a confluence of its reader, the text, and the poet. In this confluence, the imagination navigates the ground and...

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Utopias and Anti-Utopias (Professor Steven Lee, English 190)

Welcome: Amid our enforced separation, it seems like an apt time to reconnect through the idealized spaces of utopia. By semester’s end, hopefully it will seem as though both utopia and anti-utopia are all around us. I’m looking forward to hearing voices from beyond our empty, utopian campus. —Steven Lee “A map of the world that does not include Utopia...

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