The Penn English Program in London for 2010-2011
Welcome to the Penn English Program in London (PEPL), and to a semester or year of studying and living abroad in one of the most vibrant, multicultural cities in the world. London is a huge metropolis, home to more than seven million people, a third of whom were born elsewhere. The last sixty years have brought extraordinary change to London, and today, by some estimates, more than 300 languages are spoken in the city. But London also retains its historic charms, and the city features wonderful parks, stunning architecture, and of course the winding and ubiquitous Thames. Your experiences in the UK will change your understanding of contemporary Britain (and Europe) and will also add considerably to your study of British literature and history. It will also shift your understanding of American literature and history, in particular questions regarding immigration and settlement. You will, I'm certain, return to Penn with a more cosmopolitan sense of the trans-Atlantic world and its myriad cultures. And you will also have much fun, so if you have not yet considered applying, please do so now!
I will be the Faculty Director of the PEPL this year and will be assisted by Claire Bourne, an advanced Ph.D. student in the English Department at Penn who is studying the history of early modern print and performance. Claire and I will be conducting excursions and outings to theaters, museums, restaurants, pubs, lively neighborhoods, and other sites in and around London. As part of the Penn Theatre Seminar convened by Michael Billington, the drama critic of The Guardian, you will see no less than eleven plays each semester. In addition, thus far this fall, we have planned a number of other events, including a Sunday Roast at Gordon Ramsay's new gastropub, a viewing of Ai Weiwei's installation of 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern, a literary walking tour of Bloomsbury, and Thanksgiving dinner. Students in the PEPL are invited to attend as many (or as few) of these outings as they like, and to help us think of other interesting places to visit or events to attend throughout the year.
We look forward to meeting you in London.
David L. Eng