Professor Sean McDowell, Director of the University Honors Program, presented “The Exercise of Wit: Teaching The Courtier’s Library,” at the 28th annual John Donne Conference in Baton Rouge. In his paper, he discussed the use of creative writing assignments as a means of exploring the imagination in the Honors literature seminar he taught last fall. McDowell also recently published two essays. In “Herbert as Bardd in the Imagination of Henry Vaughan” (George Herbert Journal, 2013), he examines how English 17th-century poet Henry Vaughan turned to the poetry of George Herbert as part of his embrace of his Welsh heritage in the aftermath of the Puritan dismantlement of the Anglican Church in the 1640s and 1650s. In “Making the Present Speak: ‘The Extasie’ Behind Seamus Heaney’s ‘Chanson d’Aventure” (John Donne Journal, 2013), he analyzes Heaney’s use of John Donne’s poem “The Extasie” as an essential definition of the soulful bond between lovers in Heaney’s 2010 poetic account of his ambulance trip to the emergency room, following the stroke he suffered in August 2006.
McDowell received his Ph.D. from Indiana University and joined the English Department in 2002. His research and scholarship focus on John Donne, Andrew Marvell, William Shakespeare, George Herbert, Richard Crashaw, John Milton, and other Renaissance poets, as well as modern Irish writers. In 2009, he edited The Social Character of Andrew Marvell’s Imagination, a collection of essays, as a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Explorations in Renaissance Culture.
The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate majors, 37 minors, and 7 master’s degrees.
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