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Golden selected to present 2012 Moseley Lecture

March 25, 2012

Golden selected to present 2012 Moseley Lecture

Catherine Golden

Catherine Golden (Phil Scalia photo)

Professor of English Catherine Golden, an expert on Victorian literature and culture, will present the 2012 Edwin M. Moseley Faculty Research Lecture at Skidmore College at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 29, in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. The talk will be followed by a reception.Selection as Skidmore's Moseley lecturer is the highest honor that the Skidmore faculty confers upon one of its own. The annual lecture provides an opportunity for the campus to celebrate the work of a distinguished faculty member.

Titled "Victorian Culture on Display: Decorative Objects in 'the time of chivalry?the age of steam'," Golden's talk will foreground her expertise in Victorian literature, illustration, and popular culture. Using a material culture studies approach, she will explain how Victorian decorative objects illuminate the politics, etiquette, communications, aesthetics, gender, and social class of 19th-century Britain, an age, Golden will argue, that is surprisingly rich in paradox.

Golden has been researching, writing, and teaching about Victorian literature and culture for more than 25 years, since her days as a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, where she titled her dissertation "The Victorian Illustrated Book: Authors Who Composed with Graphic Images and Words." She joined the Skidmore College faculty in 1986 and has taught courses on topics such as the Victorian Illustrated Book, the 19th-Century British Novel, Children's Literature, and Victorian Literature and Culture. Besides specialization in Victorian literature, Golden is a leading scholar on Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the American feminist author best known for her short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper."

Golden has published seven books over her career at Skidmore College. Her most recent book titled Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing (University Press of Florida, 2009, paperback 2010) won the George A. and Jean S. DeLong Book History Prize from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing and the 2011 Vermeil Medal from the Chicago Philatelic Society. In writing this book, she conducted research at the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and postal museums in London and Bath, England. Following the publication of Posting It, she was invited to speak at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

The Norman M. Fox Lecture series that Golden coordinates at Skidmore served as the basis for her 2000 edited collection titled Book Illustrated: Text, Image, and Culture 1770-1930. In addition to editing several books on Gilman, Golden also is the author of Images of the Woman Reader in Victorian British and American Fiction (University Press of Florida, 2003). She is currently is researching her next book, to be published by the University Press of Florida and titled From Pickwick to Peter Rabbit: A Biography of the Victorian Illustrated Book.

Golden regularly uses the special collections of Skidmore's Lucy Scribner Library in her courses to mount exhibits in the library, which foster independent research and enable students to work with rare books. She has centered much of her research and teaching on the riches of the Fox (previously Adler) Collection of 18th- and 19th- century books, drawings, and porcelains housed at Skidmore. The collection had been on loan to the College since 1967 and was given to Skidmore in 2005 by local resident Norman M. Fox and his family, along with funds to endow a lecture series. Yearly lectures, coordinated by Golden, have featured prominent scholars, journalists, and bibliophiles.

Combining teaching with scholarship, Golden encourages creative use of campus and community resources to strengthen students' knowledge. In recent Honors Forum courses such as "The Reading Life," her students have participated in multigenerational discussions with senior citizens in the Prestwick Chase Book Chat Club. She regularly leads a mid-year Honors Forum travel seminar titled "Jane Austen in Bath" to England, allowing students to develop a personal perspective on the famed author in the city where she lived and set her novels.

In 2011, Golden was named director of Skidmore's Periclean Honors Forum for highly motivated students eager to explore the life of the mind.

Prior to earning the Ph.D. degree at the University of Michigan, Golden earned an A.B. degree in British and American Literature at Brown University and a master's degree in education at Harvard.


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