Aliya Headley '13
Shuyan Zhan '15
Three Randolph-Macon College English majors
recently presented research papers at Sweet Briar College's annual Mid-Atlantic
Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS). Students from 13 colleges
across Virginia participated in the conference, presenting their research in oral
sessions organized by discipline and in a multi-disciplinary poster session.
Aliya Headley ’13, Shuyan Zhan ’15 and Anatherese
Lundblom ’13 presented papers based on their
SURF (Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship) projects.
Headley presented “The Challenges of Translating Philippe de Mézières’ Le Miroir
des Dames Mariees,” which explores the challenges of translating into modern idiomatic
English a fourteenth-century text of the Griselda story. The Griselda story, extremely
popular in the 14th century, was told by renowned authors such as Boccaccio, Petrarch,
and Geoffrey Chaucer.
“The main challenge of this project was working with medieval French, which poses
difficulties to the translator, even one with knowledge of contemporary French,
to create a coherent modern idiomatic English text,” says Headley. “My presentation
included a discussion of the translation process with examples followed by an in-depth
view of challenges faced by the translator: lack of standardized spelling, the changed
lexicon from the 14th century, the difficulty of capturing French ideas with specific
English phrases, and translator’s license.”
Zhan presented her research, titled “The Ghosts in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Memoirs
The Woman Warrior and China Men.” Her paper is dedicated to a comprehensive review
of the cultural function of the concept of ‘ghost’ in Chinese American writer Maxine
Hong Kingston’s two books: The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
and China Men.
“My research shows how Kingston’s ghost stories help to reflect the struggle of
Chinese American immigrants and to give a glimpse of Chinese culture,” says Zhan,
who conducted intensive research into current essays and critics about the two books.
“My paper consists of three major parts: background information about Chinese culture,
a general review of the controversies about Kingston’s work related to the topic
of ‘ghost,’ and a close examination and possible interpretation of ghost stories
in her two books.”
Headley and Zhan completed their SURF projects under the supervision of
English Professor Amy Goodwin.
Lundblom presented “From Childe Harold to Batman: A Look at how Society and Relationships
Shape the Byronic Hero.”
“The Byronic hero is a character type that we all know,” she explains. “He’s dark
and mysterious, ruggedly handsome with smoldering eyes that tempt even the most
pure of heart. He is the hero with a tragic past and emotional baggage. More significantly,
he is the hero who questions society’s rules and regulations. He sees the gray areas
in society and these make him wonder what is good and bad and what is necessary.”
Lundblom’s research focuses on both the Byronic hero’s relationship with society
and his personal relationships, specifically looking at how his traumatic past shapes
his sense of justice and his interactions with others. She examines classical Byronic
heroes such as Childe Harold, Mr. Rochester and Heathcliff and also modern day incarnations
such as Batman.
English Professor Jen Cadwallader served as Lundblom’s SURF advisor.
“I’m so glad Ana had the opportunity through SURF to explore the figure of the Byronic
hero—it has been an interest of hers since her freshman year,” says Cadwallader.
“Presenting her SURF research at a major undergraduate conference gave her the opportunity
to share the interesting perspective she developed through her research and shape
others’ understanding of famous Byronic heroes like Heathcliff and Batman.”