Robin Valenza

For me, this term featured 70 new undergraduates, mostly senior English majors, who embarked with me on my ongoing academic research and teaching mission: creative researching (a term formed by analogy with creative writing).   

I am a Stanford Phd (2003), now an associate professor at UW-Madison by way of a few years of assistant professorship at UChicago.  At Wisconsin, I'm encountering a new set of students and rising to the challenges of both their new pedagogical needs and, what I have recently discovered, the artistic abilities of these students.   

My first few posts here will reflect what I've learned from teaching at a large highly selective, public university and how I'm going to translate this knowledge into my future work.  I begin by sharing a student project that reinterpreted Milton through ice skating:

Il Penseroso excerpt

L'Allegro excerpt:

Elizabeth skates to portions of Handel's L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed Il Moderato, with a libretto of L'lAllegro and Il Penseroso created by one of Handel's collaborators, Charles Jennens, derived from Milton's poems.  Jennens also added a third personage, Il Moderato, a speaker who proposes a golden mean between the happy (L'Allegro) and the melancholy (Il Penseroso) man. Il Moderato's words, not present in these performances, are gleaned partly from Milton's other poems and are partly invention.