For release: September 10, 2010
For press information, contact Dr. Joshua Phillips, 901-678-5283
Dr. Debora Shuger, Distinguished Professor of English at UCLA, will present the inaugural
Shaheen Memorial Lecture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the River Room of the University
Center of the University of Memphis. Sponsored by the English Department, the event
is free and open to the public.
Dr. Debora Shuger
Shuger’s topic will be “The Girls of Little Gidding: The Forgotten Masterpiece of
Radical Feminism.” The Little Gidding community was an extended family of about 30
people, mostly young, who purchased and renovated a dilapidated manor in 1625. For
the next three decades they adopted a semi-monastic lifestyle that included a regular
cycle of worship and charity work, teaching the Psalter to local children, fashioning
magnificently illustrated Gospel harmonies, and establishing the Little Academy, where
members of the community discussed theology, ethics, and history.
Shuger will discuss the Little Academy, most of whose participants were young women,
and the beautiful manuscripts they produced to preserve their conversations. The earliest
accounts of Little Gidding do not mention the Story Books, and later accounts treated
them as the work of Little Gidding’s presiding spirit, Nicholas Ferrar. While portions
of the manuscripts were first printed in 1899 and the remainder in 1938 and 1963,
they have been largely ignored, despite efforts to recover the writings. Yet, Shuger
argues, the Little Gidding Story Books are the most significant and most radical female-authored
texts produced between the 14th century and the English Civil War.
Shuger’s research interests are wide-ranging and include Tudor-Stuart devotional poetry
and prose, theology and biblical interpretation, political thought, legal history,
rhetoric, and life writing (biography, memoirs, diaries). She is the author of numerous
articles and books, most recently Political Theologies in Shakespeare’s England and Censorship and Cultural Sensibility: The Regulation of Language in Tudor-Stuart England.
Parking is available in the Zach Curlin garage or in the Southern Avenue parking lot.
The lecture series was created in honor of Dr. Naseeb Shaheen’s 40 years of service
to the University of Memphis. Shaheen was an internationally recognized scholar of
biblical references in Shakespeare’s plays. He published four books on British literature,
three books on the history of Ramallah, and numerous refereed articles. Shaheen died
Sept. 26, 2009.
For more information, contact Dr. Joshua Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-678-5283.