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David LeBlanc

David LeBlanc

English Graduate Assistant

202 Burrowes Building
Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

State College , PA 16802
Email:

Office Hours:

  • Fall 2020:
  • By appointment only

Curriculum Vitae

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Education

  1. B.A. Keene State College, 2008. English, Writing. Magna Cum Laude.
  2. M.F.A. University of Southern Maine, 2015. Creative Writing: Poetry.
  3. M.A. Pennsylvania State University, 2018. English.

Professional Bio

Dissertation Title

“Aesthetic Ecologies and Romantic Poetics in the Anthropocene”

Research

My research investigates how conceptualizations of nature and Anthropocenic change developed through the poetry and aesthetics of British Romantics. Specifically, I explore how three concepts—the bower, the fragment, and ‘Dark Interpreter’—changed and informed Romantic aesthetics and, in turn, how these concepts persist and help shape ecocritical and Anthropocenic discourses today. I argue that the conventionally noncontingent space of the bower was largely broken open by Romantic poets and used to expose how natural spaces were always ever intertwined, culturized, and politicized by human intervention. The fragment—a Romantic model that has long been an object of scholarly study—reflected shifts towards more systemic conceptualizations of the world as local units, systems, and spaces mixed with their global iterations. Finally, the ‘Dark Interpreter,’ loosely based on Thomas De Quincey’s concept of the same name, acts as a vehicle for Romantic poetics highlighting human action itself—notably, the act of authorship—as intertwined with both natural and local/global systems. The ‘Dark Interpreter’ also represents the looming pressures of voice and agency during this volatile period in British colonialism. I read these three concepts forward into recent work by poets such as Donika Kelly and Alison Hawthorne Deming to see how the bower, fragment, and ‘Dark Interpreter’ continue to appear in and influence poetic discourses today.

I take as a given Anne Mellor’s call to reconfigure the British Romantic canon around the inclusion and re-centralization of women poets. As such, I use the poetry of Charlotte Turner Smith, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Joanna Baillie as a springboard for my examination of Romantic poetics. However, my concept-based research model includes analysis of many other Romantic poets, conventionally canonical and otherwise.

Digital Beaumont & Fletcher Project (1647)

As a recent graduate assistant for the PSU Digital Beaumont & Fletcher Project, I worked in collaboration with University Library departments to combine conventional bibliographical analysis with Digital Humanities methods as I helped create an open-access, student-edited digital edition of PSU’s 1647 folio of Francis Beaumont & John Fletcher’s Comedies and Tragedies. Apart from being a rare book, the PSU folio is unique in that it contains three plays marked up for performance in an Early Modern hand. My work as graduate assistant includes encoding the folio in XML following TEI guidelines, using bibliographical and paleographical methods to research the folio’s provenance, acting as general editor for the play The Sea Voyage, and helping maintain the public-facing initiative to promote the project online and at events and conferences. This work is representative of my interests and work in the Digital Humanities as a digital editor and archivist.

Rhodian Poems

I am currently working on my first book of poems which I hope to have ready for publication by Spring of 2020. Set in ancient Rhodes, the poems leverage the texts, cultures, and practices of antiquity in an effort to better understand contemporary cultural landscapes and problems. Issues of migrant crises, the shifting power dynamics of modern democracy, and problematic wealth disparity are all central to the book. These poems take an ancient Rhodian lyric fragment of a children’s ritual begging song as their wellspring. At its heart the book asks: “What does it mean to beg for food in a society that has built the Colossus?”

Teaching

I enjoy teaching introductory rhetoric and composition courses that deal with the complex rhetorical situations one encounters when analyzing and producing purposeful language. I challenge my students to better understand the rhetorical landscapes they inhabit. I find their own work and ideas often animates and informs my own. I encourage students to discover new and creative ways of using language effectively, and have taught several who have gone on to publish with Penn State’s university press.

When teaching more advanced courses in Writing for the Social Sciences and Technical Writing, I help students balance abstract theory with practical knowledge. Students in my courses approach the complex communication in their own fields with a rhetorical frame of mind. Students also engage with the kinds of professional documents they will likely encounter after they graduate. Students learn the nuances and conventions of their fields and produce writing that will ultimately help them in their professional lives.