Voltaire's Coffee: Dr. Carol MacKay, Professor of English; Fall 2009
Thu, August 27, 2009 • 7:00 PM • This VC will be held at Professor McKay's home. Address information will be distributed to those registered in the VC.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, led by Dr. Carol MacKay, Professor of English.
About the book: Set on a mythical tropical island named Bougainville, Mister Pip tells a gripping tale of the power of storytelling in the midst of the chaos of civil war. The lone white man on the island, Mr. Watts, becomes the self-appointed teacher of a group school children by reading to them from Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations. The surprising interconnections between the orphaned Pip in Victorian England and Mr. Watts's listeners create a microcosm of post-colonial literature and a chance for readers to rethink a classic canonical text. However, it is not necessary to have read Great Expectations to appreciate Jones's award-winning novel, and one pivotal point for our discussion will be to make comparisons between the readings of those who are and are not familiar with Dickens.
About the professor: With degrees from Stanford University and UCLA, Carol MacKay specializes in Victorian fiction, auto/biography, and women's and gender studies. Her most recent book is entitled Creative Negativity: Four Victorian Exemplars of the Female Quest (2001), and she has just published a critical edition of Annie Besant's Autobiographical Sketches (out of print since 1885) for Broadview Press. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, inlcuding the Plan II Honors Chad Oliver Teaching Award and is a member of the Distinguished Teaching Academy. She regularly teaches in Plan II, alternating between freshmen seminars on the autobiographical impulse in women's writing and junior tutorials on melodrama in nineteenth-century literature.