April 9, 2013
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
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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