Hometown: La Habra, California
Year in school: Senior
Favorite book: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Young_Emile.pngWhat is the subject/title of your Honors Thesis?
I will be writing on runes in scenes of reading, drawing primarily on Old English poetry such as Beowulf and Cynewulf's works but also sampling various non-poetic texts ranging from the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation to charters and wills.
How did you become interested in medieval literature?
It's a long story. I transitioned from loving fairy tales and Arthurian legends to Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. This led me to Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain. Soon after, I picked up Howard Chickering's facing page edition of Beowulf and attempted to teach myself Old English---a half-hearted attempt that I redeemed years later in Professor Momma's introductory course on Old English! After taking her course during my freshman Spring semester and taking part in NYU's Medieval Studies Society (an undergraduate club), I realized I'd found a group of colleagues who share my passion and decided to dig deeper into medieval literature.
What are you planning to do with your English degree?
I am applying to PhD programs and hope to eventually teach at a college level. I am applying now and will defer a year if I can. During this year, I want to teach English abroad---preferably somewhere in Asia, as my research interests will likely keep me in the U.S. or Europe for quite a few years.
How did you come to write about Burns?
I became interested in Burns through my senior seminar Poetry and Poetics with Professor Maureen McLane. Various concerns of the course such as "orality effects" and "ventriloquism" spoke to my preoccupations in Old English literature, and I decided to pursue these interests further in relation to Burnsian poetry. In fact, the title of my paper draws upon a seminal volume by Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe on the "residual orality" of Old English texts. I'm interested in how the concerns of one period can cross-fertilize the concerns of another.
What was one of your favorite experiences as an English major?
Traveling: both from speaking at conferences and from studying English abroad! Going abroad really helps you contextualize your discipline and provides you with new experiences to bring to your readings.
What kinds of courses would you like see offered more in the future?
The way English is usually taught segments literature into periods. Classes which cross period boundaries and instead see the writings as constantly in dialogue with texts across period divides would be interesting. I'm not advocating for an erasure of period boundaries but rather allowing the preoccupations of one period to fertilize and inform the concerns of another.
What advice would you give to students considering majoring in English at NYU?
Make the most of where you are, meaning both the city and NYU. Approach your professors: many will know of interesting English-related events happening on campus and around the city. Talk to upperclassmen who are doing what you are interested in pursuing, be it graduate school or publishing. And lastly, there is a city outside of school: use its resources and draw inspiration from poetry slams, readings, book signings, etc.
If your photo had a caption, what would it be?
"The only picture I could find of myself from the past 6 months in which I was not eating or posing with food."
Is print dead? Or long live print?
Long live print! Okay, I'll admit to reading most of my PDFs electronically, but I prefer printed books to eBooks. There's just that special something about the smell of old books. Or perhaps that's simply the dust making my nose itch.