Interview with Dr. Paul Patterson – SJU English Professor


Paul Patterson



Dr. Paul Patterson is an Associate Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, as well as the director of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Studies Program. His first book, A Mirror to Devout People, will be published on May 17, 2016.






Can you tell us a little bit about the history of A Mirror to Devout People?

The Mirror to Devout People is part of tradition of medieval religious “lives of Christ” that told the story of Christ’s life in Middle English, the language Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in and spoke. It was against the law to translate the Bible into the vernacular, so the Church created these lives of Christ to give parishioners access to biblical accounts. The Mirrorwas initially written for a sister of the Order of St. Bridget of Sweden by a monk of the Carthusian Order. They had religious houses south of London that were located across the Thames from each other. Eventually, a copy of the Mirror made its way into the hands of the Scrope family, wealthy parishioners whose family helped bring the Bridgettines to England.

How did you become involved in this project?

The project began as my doctoral dissertation. My dissertation director, Professor Jill Mann, suggested I edit the Mirror since it was an important text but there was no edition.

What did the process of editing this book entail?

There are two hand-written manuscript copies of the Mirror, one at the University of Notre Dame and one at Cambridge University in England. The most important thing was to transcribe both manuscripts and compare the variations. Than I created a base text-based on the Cambridge manuscript and began tracking all the differences between the two texts. That meant a lot of trips to England! Finally, I compiled notes on the two manuscripts, on the text itself, wrote an introduction, and created a glossary or dictionary of the important words. The entire process from the beginning of the dissertation to its publication took eleven years.

What audience do you think this book will attract?

The audience will be those interested in medieval religious history, professors, and graduate students. It is published through the Early English Text Society by Oxford University Press, which is a series. A variety of people subscribe to the series and they will each receive a copy.

Do you have any advice for aspiring editors at Saint Joseph’s University?

Editing a critical edition is very different from the kind of editing one might do at a publishing firm. If a student is really interested in editing critical editions, then she should pay close attention to critical editions that are currently in print. How do editors organize them, what decisions do they make when choosing what variations between existing texts to include, and how do those decisions change the text? And read. Read everything from textual and editing theory to works of literature. The best editors are the best readers.

This interview originally appeared in the Spring 2016 English Department Newsletter, edited by Sarah Sutherland, ’16.

Four Questions for Professor Eleanor Stanford

Here are Professor Ellie Stanford’s responses to our four questions. (Sorry about the delay, Professor Stanford).

Courtesy of Bartram's Garden

Courtesy of Bartram’s Garden







What is your current writing project? (Or do you have a link to a recent publication you’d like to share with our grad students?)

I’m currently working on poems that come out of my recent Fulbright experience in rural Bahia. Ostensibly the poems are about traditional midwifery–but they’re also about questions of marriage, the female body, birth, and death…with a few folk remedies for snakebite and toothache thrown in.

Here’s a link to a recently published (unrelated) poem:

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

Poetry by Adrienne Su, Sarah Blake, Louise Gluck, and Pablo Neruda; essays by James Baldwin; Patti Smith’s new memoir, M Train.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

Music: Hank Williams, Gillian Welch, bossanova, Gilberto Gil, whatever jazz standards my kids are practicing (currently Night in Tunisia and Blue Monk)

Podcasts: This American Life, Radiolab, Longform, Dear Sugar

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

Before it gets too cold: at the park, playing frisbee and practicing handstands with my kids.

After it gets too cold: hot yoga studio!

Four Questions for Dr. Aisha D. Lockridge


Dr. Aisha D. Lockridge

We have absolutely the best professors in the Writing Studies program!  Read on for Dr. Lockridge’s take on our four questions:

What is your current writing project? (Or do you have a link to a recent publication you’d like to share with our grad students?)

Much of what I write springs from common practices: teaching, participating in Black popular culture, and reading widely. Currently I am working on a manuscript chapter which examines the limits of racial passing set against the potential relief available in the vexed relationship between strategic essentialism and Afro-Pessimism in Matt Johnson’s Loving Day and will debut part of it at the 2016 College Language Association (CLA) Annual Conference. Initially inspired by Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, I am also completing a Revise and Resubmit article for Palimpsest on the performative possibilities of ignorance and ratchetedness as strategic tools for survival.  And finally, I am providing a link to an article, “Practice and Performance: Teaching Urban Literature at the Less than Liberal Arts,” published in Hybrid Pedagogy on my experience discovering the real value of, and methods for, teaching difficult texts in inhospitable environments for the good of students, teachers and institutions of higher learning:

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

I just finished Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and am making my way through Margo Jefferson’s Negroland, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, and a stack of undergraduate essays examining the gendered and technological connections between Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Alex Garland’s film, Ex-Machina.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

Last download: Erykah Badu’s But You Caint Use My Phone. In current heavy rotation: Adele’s 25, Sza’s Z, Alice Smith’s She, B.O.B’s Strange Clouds, Bryson Tiller’s Trapsoul. I regularly listen to, and liberally quote from, the weekly podcast “The Read”.

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

Today, it’s reading a good book, completely undisturbed, in bright, natural light.

Website:     Twitter: @AishaDamali_PhD

Thanks for participating, Dr. Lockridge! Think I’ll check out those books you mentioned.


Four Questions for Dr. Jo Alyson Parker

Dr. Parker was good enough to answer our four questions.  Check out her musical interests!

Dr. Parker in Cape Breton

Dr. Parker in
Cape Breton









What is your current writing project? (Or do you have a link to a recent publication you’d like to share with our grad students?)

I’m currently working on a paper for the International Society for the Study of Time conference at the University of Edinburgh. It’s tentatively titled “Eternal Recursion, the Emergence/y of Metaconsciousness,and the Imperative for Closure,”and it deals with a genre of modern fiction and film that my co-author and I are calling time-loop narratives (such as Kate Atkinson’s novel Life after Life or the film Edge of Tomorrow). My most recent publication is “From Time’s Boomerang to Pointillist Mosaic: Translating Cloud Atlas into Film.” A brief excerpt from it can be accessed at the following link:

I’m also the Managing Editor for KronoScope: Journal for the Study of Time. We have an online subscription in our library, so you can check it out there.

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

I just finished Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, the first of her deservedly acclaimed Neapolitan novels, and Laura Lippman’s mystery Hush. I’ve begun reading Elvis Costello’s Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

My Pandora stations are probably a good indicator of my, well, eclectic musical interests: Elvis Costello Radio, Bobby Short Radio, Stephen Sondheim Radio, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Radio, Talking Heads Radio. And the Beatles, of course.

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

My happy place is the covered swing in my backyard on a not-too-hot day in summer. Sometimes I’m out there by myself with a book. Sometimes I’m with friends and family, ideally sipping Campari spritzes and nibbling on cherry peppers stuffed with prosciutto and cheese.


Thanks, Dr. Parker.  I plan to investigate those Pandora stations!

Director Tenaya Darlington & the Four Questions

An Interview with Writing Studies Director Tenaya Darlington

Photo by: Jason Varney

Photo by: Jason Varney


The Aviation Cocktail Photo by: Jason Varney

The Aviation Cocktail
Photo by: Jason Varney










What is your current writing project? (Or do you have a link to a recent publication you’d like to share with our grad students?)

I spend a lot of my time off campus writing about food – especially for Edible Philly, a magazine devoted to the local restaurant scene and to the area’s food culture. My focus until recently has been cheese — my last book was The Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, an artisan cheese guide with recipes. It came out in 2013, and I hosted more than 60 tastings and book signings to promote it. After that, I was approached by my publisher, Running Press, to write a guide to cocktails. Luckily, I have a deep affinity for mixed drinks!

I’ve spent the last year and a half writing The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks, which will be released in April, 2016. My brother, Andre, and I co-authored it; he lives near Chicago and writes a cocktail column. Since we live 900 miles apart, we spent a lot of time on Skype with our cocktail shakers, testing recipes. We trained with a Chicago bartender and tested more than 250 cocktails to create an ultimate guide that’s organized by eras – so you can try pre-Prohibition cocktails or explore WW II cocktails. Cocktails are an American invention, so we wanted to put their incredible history into context.

My favorite cocktail of the moment is an Aviation, invented in honor of Emilia Earhart. It contains Plymouth gin (1 ¾ ounce), Luxardo (1/4 ounce), lemon juice (3/4 ounce), crème de violette (1 or 2 teaspoons), and simple syrup (1/4 ounce), plus a lemon twist.

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

Susan Orlean, who writes for The New Yorker, is one of my favorite journalists – I love her curiosity and her painterly line-by-line writing. This semester, I’m teaching her book Saturday Night in my Practice of Writing class. In it, she investigates Saturday night rituals, and she travels around the country to profile people doing their Saturday night thing, from polka dancers to small-town cruisers to suburban babysitters. I love writers who can capture everyday stories and make them feel extraordinary.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

On my way to work, I listened to Kishi Bashi on Spotify. I’ve become obsessed with podcasts and usually listen to a couple a day, too – most recently, I’ve become infatuated with Home of The Brave and Local Mouthful. The latter is a new podcast by one of our Writing Studies graduates, Marisa McClellan.

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

At a cheese counter, sampling a salty blue.


Cheers, Tenaya!