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Olivet College humanities students honored for their writing
Apr 01, 2013

Three Olivet College humanities students have recently earned honors and recognition for their work in the classroom. Alexander deFinta, a senior from Marshall; Carrie Jacob, a junior from Albion; and Meg Wilkerson, a senior from Charlotte, have all been chosen for various presentations and accolades during the spring semester.

deFinta was selected to present his paper, “Diacritical Dictums: Deconstructing the Dane,” at the Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters’ annual conference hosted by Hope College March 22. His presentation addressed how editorial decisions shape our understanding of Renaissance literature. Through their choices made almost 100 years apart, he argues, the editors of the first and third Arden Shakespeare editions of “Hamlet” significantly changed meaning, tone and emphasis of the play. Through his writing, deFinta demonstrated that through changes in punctuation, editors can imbue an older text with meanings derived from modern thoughts and ideals that go beyond the perceptions of the past. deFinta plans to submit his paper to the Michigan Academy for publishing.

deFinta was also selected to present a second paper, “The Biergarten of Eden: A Locus Amoenus of the Germanic Warrior Tradition,” at the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Consortium at Albion College April 6. In this paper, deFinta argues that though the classic topos of the locus amoenus does not align with the ideals of the Germanic warrior tribes of the Middle Ages, the term should apply to stories that reference Germanic ideals of a “pleasant place:” an earthly representation of the places in the afterlife aspired to by men of the Viking tradition.

Jacob was selected for the competitive Nature in Words Fellowship by the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for environmental education in Hastings. The program, modeled after the Gordon Art Fellowship, provides an undergraduate student a unique opportunity to nurture and cultivate his or her writing abilities while living within the beauty of the institute’s natural setting.

The goal of the fellowship is to develop the writer’s creativity by deepening his or her appreciation of nature and the sciences. Jacob, along with her faculty mentor, Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer, Ph.D., professor of humanities, proposed a project that will culminate in a complete written body of work by Jacob at the end of the program. She was selected for the award based on the quality of her proposal, which will culminate in a “collection of poems and essays that will offer people the opportunity to become aware of the happiness that could be waiting for them in nature.” Jacob, a writing major and global justice and ethics minor, will receive a $3,750 stipend, on-site housing and partial meal support for the 10-12 week project.

Wilkerson was also selected to present her paper, “Schizophrenic Shakespeare: How Modern Language Translations of Shakespearean Plays Alter Characters’ Personalities Through Word Choice,” at the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Consortium. In her essay, Wilkerson argues that while resources such as “No Fear Shakespeare” and “SparkNotes” offer context to difficult texts by adapting Shakespeare’s original language into modern idiom, in doing so, these resources also alter Shakespeare’s characterizations. Her paper examines both gross and subtle linguistic shifts and explores the consequences for readers’ understanding of Shakespeare’s characters and his works as a whole.

For more information about the Humanities Department at Olivet College, or to apply, visit

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