After holding a position at the University of Iowa, Deborah Laycock, a specialist in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, came to Kenyon College in 1991. She has since developed Canadian literature as a field for research and teaching.

Laycock is currently completing a book manuscript entitled An Eighteenth-Century Sense of Place: The Urban Pastoral and has begun work on a project examining gender and metamorphosis in early modern culture, an early version of which has appeared in an essay in Textual Bodies: Changing Boundaries of Literary Representation (SUNY Press, 1997). She has served as the Chair of the Committee on Academic Standards and has twice served as resident director of the Kenyon-Exeter Program at the University of Exeter.

Education

1987 — Doctor of Philosophy from Stanford University

1979 — Master of Arts from Univ British Columbia

1977 — Bachelor of Arts from University of Alberta

Courses Recently Taught

Each section of these first-year seminars approaches the study of literature through the exploration of a single theme in texts drawn from a variety of literary genres (such as tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, epic, novel, short story, film and autobiography) and historical periods. Classes are small, offering intensive discussion and close attention to each student's writing. Students in each section are asked to work intensively on composition as part of a rigorous introduction to reading, thinking, speaking and writing about literary texts. During the semester, instructors will assign frequent essays and may also require oral presentations, quizzes, examinations and research projects. This course is not open to juniors and seniors without permission of the department chair. Offered every year.

Each section of these first-year seminars approaches the study of literature through the exploration of a single theme in texts drawn from a variety of literary genres (such as tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, epic, novel, short story, film and autobiography) and historical periods. Classes are small, offering intensive discussion and close attention to each student's writing. Students in each section are asked to work intensively on composition as part of a rigorous introduction to reading, thinking, speaking and writing about literary texts. During the semester, instructors will assign frequent essays and may also require oral presentations, quizzes, examinations and research projects. This course is not open to juniors and seniors without permission of department chair. Offered every year.

We will begin this course by spending several weeks on Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" (examining in passing another work of the 18th century inspired by "Gulliver's Travels", "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen"). Satire is one of the predominant forms of the 18th century and finds its grotesque complement in the graphic arts. We will study various examples of visual satire -- notably the "progress" narratives of William Hogarth. We will examine the emergence of the novel in this period, focusing on its multi-generic character. We will explore the overlapping of categories -- history and fiction, travel and novel, news and novels, philosophy and fiction -- in works such as Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's epistolary account of her travels to Turkey, Eliza Haywood's spy/masquerade novel "Fantomina", and Susanna Centlivre's play about metamorphosis, "A Bold Stroke for a Wife". Periodical literature first appears in the long 18th century. We will explore the phenomenon of spectatorship in this period in relation to the institution of the masquerade, the science and philosophy of empiricism, and the rise of the penitentiary and systems of surveillance. This counts toward the 1700-1900 requirement for the major. Open only to first-year and sophomore students. Prerequisite: ENGL 103 or 104. Offered every year.

If you ask a Canadian person what defines Canadian culture, they will struggle to find an answer. Canadians are taught that they distinguish themselves from the U.S. in terms of how they treat their immigrant population: the U.S. is a “melting pot”—immigrants must assimilate to American culture; Canada is a “mosaic”—immigrants maintain their cultures and rituals. Believing the idea of the “Canadian cultural mosaic” leads many Canadians to state proudly that Canada is an immigrant nation. And in many ways, that statement is true: immigrants comprise about 50% of the Toronto population, and more than 22% of the entire Canadian population. But the cultural mosaic is also a myth that a) overlooks the history and present-day lives of Indigenous Canadians; and b) assumes everyone living in Canada feels perfectly “at home” wherever they are.\nCanadian writers, consequently, grapple with ideas about the relationship between space (geographical, cultural, imagined) and identity in a variety of ways and from a wide range of perspectives. In our course, we will read short stories, poems, and novels by Canadian authors who represent ideas about home, loss, belonging, citizenship, immigration, colonization, landscape, space and identity. We will ask, for example, to what extent is “national identity” stable? What is the relationship between national and individual identity? What makes a text “transnational”? How do Canadian writers use landscape and space to think through issues of identity? We will not find a singular, definitive answer to the question of Canadian culture; but we will analyze its complexities and pluralities, and in doing so we will uncover more nuanced and accurate truths about cultural identities in Canada. Authors studied will include: Lee Maracle, Alice Munro, David Chariandy, Dionne Brand, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Phoebe Wang, Thomas King and more. This counts toward the post-1900 requirement for the major. Prerequisite: junior standing or ENGL 210-291 or permission of instructor.