Goodwin Professor Presents at Paris Shakespeare Conference
A Goodwin College professor travelled all the way from the banks of the Connecticut River to the heart of Paris last month to present a paper at a prestigious French school on the power of Shakespeare.
Randy Laist, professor of English at Goodwin College, was invited to speak at a Shakespeare conference at the Sorbonne in Paris, which houses many of France’s most influential institutions of higher learning.
The conference was hosted by the École Normale Supérieure, a highly competitive private French university, from April 20 through April 27 in honor of William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday on April 26. The conference was a gathering of scholars from many of the most prestigious institutions from around the world.
“It was a real honor to represent Goodwin,” Laist said. “It was a great opportunity to share my perspective with people from around the world.”
As part of the conference, Laist presented a paper on the power of Shakespeare’s words and the power of language to shape the world.
“He had a powerful sense of language,” Laist said of the famed poet and playwright. “Shakespeare is the gold standard of expression. You have been influenced on a fundamental level by his expression of what it means to be a human being.”
For Goodwin College students looking to future careers, Laist said he believes that the words of Shakespeare have an even more profound impact now than they ever have in the past.
“If you are a person in the modern world and want to have a career: write,” the professor said. “We’re writing e-mails and text messages, rather than Elizabethan tragedies. But we can use language to affect the world around us.”
While speaking at the conference, a professor who teaches at the Sorbonne asked the Goodwin professor to come and present to his class on U.S. television. Laist was the editor of Looking for LOST, a series of critical essays on the hit television show.
The presentation to the French university was so successful, Laist was asked to return to France in July for another presentation. The trip is being funded by the French institution.
By: Rob Muirhead