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Literature at the library

Dr. Ashley Bender to share work on first female playwright

Nadiyah Suleiman, Page Editor

Assistant professor of English Dr. Gray Scott prsents the topic of Shakespeare's play Hamelt Jan. 13 at the Denton Library South Branch.
Assistant professor of English Dr. Gray Scott presents the topic of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet Jan. 13 at the Denton Library South Branch.

Professors from TWU and the DFW area go beyond their professional responsibilities  by participating in Professor’s Corner to discuss literature with the local community. These sessions provide insight on a variety of topics. Professor’s Corner has hosted literary discussions since 1999 with monthly sessions during the fall and spring semesters, held the second Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the South Branch Library in Denton.

TWU English professor and producer of Professor’s Corner Dr. Stephen Souris runs the event by writing grant proposals, planning each session, promoting the program and selecting the topics from submitted proposals. In an email, Souris said: “I select the [proposals] that best fit our mission and then work with those presenters in the selection of their reading materials and in the preparation for their session.”

Souris also works with the professors to ensure that the topics chosen are broad enough for the general community to understand and appreciate. Souris stated: “We ask that [the speakers] not think of themselves as making a presentation at a professional conference. We ask that they prepare their presentations with the general public in mind.”

TWU assistant professor Dr. Ashley Bender has been selected for the February session of Professor’s Corner and will be presenting her topic “My Masculine Part, the Poet in Me: Gender in the Poetry of Aphra Behn” this evening. Bender shared: “I’ve done work on Aphra Behn, mostly her drama, and I thought sharing her poetry would be a really wonderful way to call attention to a really important person in the history of women’s writing.”

Bender explained: “She was the first female professional playwright in England, and she talks a lot about issues of gender and sex and women’s roles as writers. Her poetry also happens to be very beautiful.” Bender also said she plans to focus on Aphra Behn’s work in poetry while still acknowledging her work as a playwright.

Having previously given three Professor’s Corner presentations, Bender expressed support in the program saying: “I really like that we’re able to share the work that we do with the community at large. We have a number of people in Denton who are really interested in literature, and so it’s a way to give back to the community, it’s a way to share what I do outside of the classroom and to maybe get people as excited about the literature that I study as I am…And I hope they have a lot of fun. I hope they enjoy the discussion.”

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