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The Penn English Program in London for 2012-2013

Welcome to the Penn English Program in London (PEPL), and to a semester 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 outside the country. 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 your understanding of 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 a great deal of fun, so if you have not yet considered applying, please do so now!

I am directing the program during the Fall of 2012, with the assistance of Alan Niles, a Ph.D. student in English at Penn who is studying early modern literature. Alan and I will take the program’s students on day-trips in and beyond London to see sites of cultural and historic consequence, such as Brighton, Cambridge, Liverpool, and Stratford-upon-Avon; London’s spray-painted and politicized world of graffiti; the Tate Modern’s stunning collection of contemporary art; and a few other surprise corners of this labyrinthine city. As part of the Penn Theatre Seminar convened by Michael Billington, the drama critic at The Guardian, we will also accompany you to weekly performances of plays as storied as Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” and as cutting edge as the Fringe has to offer.

If you’ll be joining us this semester, we can’t wait to welcome you at the end of September. If you are considering applying for next year, we encourage you to do so!

All Best,

David Kazanjian

PEPL Faculty Director