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The Reception of the King James Bible

Mary Buchner ('11); Meg Worley

When King James I of England commissioned a new translation of the Bible in 1604, his people were already committed to another translation. The Geneva Bible was known for its copious marginal notes and citations which were intended to make biblical interpretation simple for the common man. However, a few of these notes promoted anti-royalist thought. These notes were one of several reasons that caused James I to reject the Geneva Bible in favor of a new, authorized translation. This Authorized Version was published in 1611, but since it was published in direct conflict with the popular Geneva Bible, it debuted with a less-than-glamorous reception. The King James Bible would have to move through the Protectorate and the ensuing Restoration before it was considered the English Bible, and a few hundred more years would pass before it became Christianity’s most beloved sacred text.
Funding provided by: Pomona College National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Shakespearean Metatheatre: What is the 'Meta' For?

David Carrington ('10); Kevin Dettmar; James Taylor

Through the viewing of live theatre and close readings of playtexts, this project assessed the prevalence and purpose of Shakespearean drama’s employment of the “theatre as life” metaphor. Speeches like Jacques’s “All the world’s a stage,” terminology like “act,” “counterfeit,” “scene” and “shadow,” as well as numerous plays-within-plays, inductions and pageants scattered throughout the canon, encourage audience members to consider the mimetic nature of the stage and reflect on their own perception of it. During such metatheatrical moments, theatre is able to comment upon itself, critique its contemporary socio-political climate, and approach existential truths by posing ontological questions. Metatheatre is an ideal vehicle through which to approach these issues because it can either rip a hole in the fabric of the play’s fictionality to reveal the reality beneath, or add multiple layers of mimetic representation to the dramatic pretense so as to blur the distinction between illusion and reality.
Funding provided by: Pomona College National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Revising, Rereading, Repeating: Sylvia Plath and the Constructions of Confession

Sarah Schwartz ('10); Kevin Dettmar

What is the nature of Sylvia Plath’s “confession” in her poetry versus her journals? Does she reveal more of herself in one than in the other? Do the generic conventions of the two texts change the nature of her confession? Though there are countless places in the texts where these questions might be taken up, I focused on “Berck-Plage,” a poem Plath wrote in 1962, after the death of her neighbor Percy Key. I compared “Berck-Plage” to a journal entry in which she recorded her observations about, and reactions to, Key’s death. Plath’s poetic process (especially, but not limited to, her revision process) allowed her to reveal the co-existence of multiple, often contradictory, narratives. In a fascinating reversal of the oft-held perception of the writer’s notebook as pre-poetic sketchbook, Plath seemed to use “Berck-Plage” to construct the singular narrative found in her journal entry.
Funding provided by: Pomona College National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Research at Pomona