Research and Bibliography; Course Fall, 1999
Thesis Preparation:
Things to Consider and Work on
Last updated Jan 19, 2000
Faculty Members' Specialties
General Advice
  • Faculty Members' Specialties
1. English Department Faculty list

2. Some teachers' descriptions of their interest: 

Father Daniel Bauer

comparative literature (18th century Chinese-Western satire in terms of Wu Ching-tze's Ju-lin Wai-shih and Fielding's Tom Jones); Chinese-English literary translation; satire as a literary genre, specifically late 19th century-20th century English and American writers;
18th century English narrative (Swift [somewhat]; DeFoe, Fielding more confidently); and 20th century American fiction, more or less across the board.

Somewhere in this buffet of interests for me I really do have a particular fondness for several writers who do not fit completly conveniently into my courses, or who I feel a need to do more reading of to be a better teacher.  They include Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, Katherine Anne Porter, John Updike, Bernard Malamud, Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, and the ever present F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. 

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Dr. Joseph Murphy
"Early American Literature," my current label,  is certainly one area of focus.  This area usually refers to literature of North America before 1830.  The writers that most concern me here are the early literatures of exploration and colonization, beginning with Columbus; the Puritans, especially Bradstreet, Taylor, and Edwards; Franklin and Jefferson; and the novelists Brockden Brown and Cooper.

If by Early American we mean literature before 1865, then the title suits me even better:  other writers I study include Emerson and Thoreau, Hawthorne, Whitman and Dickinson.  However, my dissertation and current book project is mostly concerned
with American literature and culture between the Civil War and World War I, especially the later Whitman, Howells, and Henry Adams.  Some other American writers that occupy my time are Cather, Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Don DeLillo.

A more general concern developing out of my dissertation is the development of American Modernism, which has also involved me in the study of postmodernism.  An approach that has occupied much of my research is the representation of space, particularly architecture, landscape, and cities, in texts.  Two interdisciplinary concerns are the relationships of literature to visual art and to theology.

Dr. David Yu
My areas of interest include colonial and postcolonial literatures, colonial and postcolonial theory and criticism, Indian literature in English, Indian history and culture, 19th- and early
20th-century English and American literature.   I may include Renaissance
Drama, and I will probably teach a course in that area at Fu Jen in fall 2000.
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General Advice

  Choosing a topic: 

Fr. Bauer: 

Choose a topic you honestly like and feel a deep curiosity about. Don't choose it only because you like a certain professor. It's your thesis, you've got to live with it. 
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Dr. Schulte: 
I would also suggest that they determine their direction as soon as possible, so they can make choices for their courses and minor exam that will support their thesis area and longterm career or study goals. I also tell students that I talk with to follow their own interests and strengths, not simply what they think is academically fashionable.
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  Communicating with the advisor: 
Fr. Bauer: 
  • Check very specifically with the professor you 'think' you may want to write under BEFORE you start telling everyone who the person is and what your topic is. 
  • Ask the professor 
    • how much care they'll give your writing as far as composition problems are concerned - are they willing and able with time to guide grammar revisions, or will they expect you to handle this on your own? 
    • how often you can consult - every 2 weeks for 40 minutes or so, once a month?  Only when you've got a chapter done? 
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  • Work on basic language problems as soon as possible.
  • start to practice logical thinking and formulating a thesis statement now and in every of their papers. 
Fr. Bauer: 
  • Realize that in the end the writing, the ideas, the organization of t. thesis are all the student's responsibility, and the advisor is an 'advisor', an active intellectual companion.  You cannot expect an advisor to pick up the telephone and chase after you to write or check in - that's your job. 
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Dr. Murphy: 
  • Once you are ready to write, have a set time every day, at least five days a week, when you write.  For me, the mornings worked best, and four or five hours of solid writing would be enough for a day.  That schedule of daily accomplishment are what got me through my dissertation; the other thing was exercise.  Looking back, this seems like mundane but really important advice
  • Fr. Bauer: 
    • Finally, good writing happens when writers revise, revise, revise. Students who work with me probably write every paragraph in their thesis at least three times before it's okay.
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