English Undergraduate Student Has Essay Published in Top Critical Journal

English major Vivian Givhan

An undergraduate student in the College’s Department of English recently had work published in The Explicator, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes text-based critical essays. Vivian Lee Givhan’s article “Que tous ses dents etaient des ideés”: Egaeus’s Determination to Reassert Male Power in Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Berenice’” appears in a recent issue of the critical journal.

Now a senior, Givhan was a student in Dr. Jolene Hubbs’s Fictions of American Identity course in Fall 2010 when she was first given the opportunity to produce work for submission in the journal. The Explicator’s essays generally focus on works that are frequently anthologized and studied in college classrooms.

According to Hubbs, the publication is a tribute to Givhan’s skill in literary analysis, because her essay was judged against, and published alongside, work by established scholars.

“Vivian’s essay shows her mastery of close reading, which is the core methodology of literary criticism,” Hubbs said. “It also showcases her adroitness as a writer, because in this article she distills a rich, complex argument into the pithy, streamlined style that is the hallmark of the Explicator essay.”

As part of their coursework, students used essays from the journal to learn how to write in an abbreviated analytical style. This was the first time Givhan had been encouraged to submit something for publication. She chose to submit her essay about Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Berenice,” where she analyzes Egaeus’s removal of Berenice’s teeth as an instance of an emasculated male attempting to reassert dominance.

Givhan said the being published has been exciting. She says learning to write in a specific style has made her critical analysis tighter and more efficient.

“I’ve realized more is not always more; I can make my point with less ‘fluff,’” she said. “I also understand the process of getting published a little more and feel more confident about submitting essays to journals in the future.”

Givhan, from Homewood, Ala., is the daughter of Janet Givhan. She is majoring in English with minors in creative writing and the Blount Undergraduate Initiative.