Photo by Tony Cece

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

England Tour Brings Literature to Life

By Amanda Morad

Students pose in front of Shakespeare's birthplace.
Photo courtesy of Feylyn Lewis.
For 15 of Regent University's undergraduate students, this summer started out a little chillier than usual. The group spent nine days, May 13-22, traveling through England to the sites where authors like Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien made literary history.
"Having the opportunity to finally visit this place—so rich in history and beauty—was a dream come true for me," said senior Caroline Leal. Leal is an online student who got the chance to meet some of her classmates and professors for the first time on the trip. "That alone made the trip a very special experience for me," she said.

The trip was co-sponsored by the School of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of Global Affairs. Two courses were offered in conjunction with the site visits—Shakespeare (English 377) and Twentieth-Century Christian Classics (English 475)—which were taught on site by Dr. Susannah Clements, chair of the Language & Literature Department, and Dr. Peter Fraser, associate professor of English, Language and Literature.

"This trip was my chance to experience the rich cultural and historical marvels that inspired some of my favorite British storytellers," Leal explained. "It gave me a living context for the literature I love, helping me put the narrative pieces together in a fresh and meaningful way that connected the authors to their environment, and the environment to their fiction."

The tour included significant locations in Canterbury, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath and London. Participants visited a wide variety of places, including Westminster Abbey, the Canterbury Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.

"Receiving communion at a Sunday morning service at Canterbury Cathedral was such an intimate time with the Lord," said Feylyn Lewis, a graduate assistant in the English department and a student in the School of Psychology & Counseling. "The intricate detail of the communion service added a heightened sense of reverence."

"Travel trips allow such a rich opportunity to understand the context of literature and our great Christian tradition," Fraser said. Through their studies and visits, students encountered an intersection of faith, literature and history all at once.

"We didn't just see a Shakespeare play, but we visited his birthplace and his grave and toured the reconstructed Globe Theatre, and then also saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform The Tempest in Stratford-upon-Avon," Fraser explained.

"Likewise, we read Dorothy Sayers' The Nine Tailors, a mystery set in a country parish during a night of bell-ringing. But then we also were taken into a real bell tower in an old London church for a demonstration of change-ringing, including the specific changes rung in the novel. Such experiences are unforgettable and irreplaceable," he said.

Learn more about Regent's study abroad opportunities.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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