Stephanie LaGassé is a student in UWF's Department of English and World Languages. She earned her Bachelor's degree in English Literature in May 2014 and is currently pursuing a graduate degree.
The existence of medieval courtly love has long been a source of debate among scholars. D.W. Robertson and Larry Benson have opposing views on the matter: Robertson considers the doctrine of courtly love little more than a satirical take on “idolatrous passion” (Robertson 260) while Benson asserts that the doctrine began to appear in conduct handbooks by the fourteenth century despite its former appearance in literature only. Taking Benson’s counterargument into account, I read Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem Book of the Duchess as a reaction to courtly love’s shift from literature to practice. By analyzing Alcyone’s and the Black Knight’s performances of courtly love and the poet’s use of their courtly suffering to inspire his writing, this paper argues that Chaucer praises courtly love’s literary value but demonstrates the stagnancy of the courtly love doctrine in social practice. Given that Chaucer’s poem cautions against the courtly love doctrine’s use outside of literature, perhaps there is some truth in Robertson’s suggestion of a connection between medieval attitudes toward idolatry and courtly love. However, far from mere satire, the poem redeems courtly love’s value for literary expression and thus retains an important distinction between literature and social doctrine that scholars have overlooked.
Greetings! My name is Becca Namniek, and I am a graduate student majoring in English Literature in the Department of English and World Languages here at UWF. Recently, my academic interests have led me to undertake a variety of fascinating research projects in our department's master's program. With the assistance, guidance, and unwavering support of our department's highly adept faculty, I have developed seminar papers and smaller research projects into professional conference presentations and article manuscripts. From identifying manifestations of Jewish hysteria in Yiddish poems and short stories to exploring the allusions to disease and disorders in Henry James's early travel narratives, the scope of my research has been, and continues to be, relatively broad and interdisciplinary. Our graduate program's flexibility with student research projects allows me the opportunity to investigate my own scholarly curiosities and while also familiarizing myself with a diverse array of literary fields, genres, subgenres, and critical and cultural trends.
While an English major at UWF, I have studied prose and poetry from a large survey of American and British literatures. My research interests include the political and social effects of sentimental literature in 18th century poetry, early American colonial literature, and rhetorical studies. I am currently employed in the UWF Writing Lab as an Online Writing Lab Manager, Lab Paper Reader, and Lab Tutor. During the spring of 2014, I presented an original critical paper to the UWF Honors Symposium, winning the Department of English Award. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I would like to pursue a Master of Arts in English and then begin utilizing the writing skills I have learned—continuing to wield and to improve my wordcraft in academic, professional, or editorial work. I have always enjoyed researching complex issues and presenting them in a clear, accessible manner, whether orally, visually, or in writing. Under Dr. David Baulch and Professor Scott Satterwhite, I studied 17th and 18th century British abolitionist poetry, learning more about the influence of abolitionist texts on British politics and the social debate in which these texts engaged. My research focused on a comparison of Hannah More’s “Slavery” and Ann Yearsley’s “A Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave Trade.” I began to recognize the concern abolitionists had with stabilizing political power in the hands of the elite or broadening political participation to the lower classes. My research, thus, revealed that the dissemination of abolitionism in More’s and Yearsley’s poems, written from opposing perspectives, suggests that abolitionism succeeded by joining both governmental and upper-class involvement with egalitarian participation.I submitted my research to the international Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Convention, a yearly conference hosting both graduate and undergraduate members of Sigma Tau Delta from across the globe. This conference received submissions from members worldwide, and from these submissions, my paper was selected based on the critical and scholarly standards of the English Honors Society. While representing UWF and its English Department, I was able to present my original scholarly work to an audience of established academics and other students.
Etienne received his BA in English from the University of West Florida and is currently a graduate student at UWF. His academic interests are directed toward accurate or meticulous portrayals of science and technology in literature from classical texts to the present era of science fiction. His recent work focused several science-related topics: the way in which cosmological theories presented in Milton’s “Paradise Lost” support Milton’s monist view of the universe; how Geoffrey Chaucer made use of advanced cosmological theories along with Aristotelian elemental theory to draw parallels between the elemental properties of ether and great poetry in the “House of Fame”; and the ways that the science fiction pulp Science Wonder Stories established reflexive models of information exchange between SF readers and editors. His current areas of research include the extent to which the cybernetics, networks, and machine intelligence in William Gibson's Neuromancer resist or confirm neoliberal theory, and the poetic function of astronomy in Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man.
My conference paper will be presented at PCA / ACA (Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association) 2015 in New Orleans. My presentation is for the topic "Science in Popular Culture"; the title is "Interplanetary Trajectories: The Logistics of "Space Flying" in Early Science Fiction Pulps", and deals with a three-part article in Science Wonder Stories that was the first English translations of a seminal rocket theory text published in 1929, Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums, Der Raketen-Motor by Hermann Noordung. My abstract was one of 40 out of 446 applicants who were awarded the Michael Schoenecke Travel Grant for the conference.
Cleo Battle received her BA in Communication Arts and a Master in Business Administration from the University of West Florida. She is graduating this spring with a Master in English, creative writing. Her thesis, entitled “Voice of One, Other,” is a collection of short stories and poems that centers on the theme of “other” within the frame of family, homelessness, and loss.
Constructed from her struggle for identity, “Voice” embodies a personal altar built on a foundation of love, hate, hurt, dreams, joy, and difference. She was born into a racially divided society, America’s Deep South, at a time when having a mulatto mother and black father mattered – a lot. Hers is the point of view of one who has traveled the world as a member of the United States Air Force−now veteran, and she understands that Other is a discourse of unequal power. Cleo’s body of work is sympathetic to those with difference – especially the downtrodden, and takes the reader to the very heart of how this trifecta manifests itself in the voice of one “other.”
After struggling for many years to reclaim from the streets of Los Angeles a homeless brother suffering with undiagnosed mental illness, recent events have inspired Cleo to enter the national conversation on the treatment of its homeless and mentally ill. Her journey informs her work, and her work continues.