Sara Pokorny

British professor to discuss Dickens and Misericordia’s new master’s program with English university

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Local students will be introduced to BA to MA program with University of Reading in England

English majors at Misericordia University are about to see – and benefit from – a collaboration with some friends across the pond; a seamless transition into the master’s degree program in English literature at a renowned school in England is on the horizon.

From Oct. 22-25, the Department of English at Miseri will host Dr. Andrew Mangham, Ph.D., associate professor of English at the University of Reading in England, for a series of events to celebrate the launch of a BA to MA program that will give Misericordia students the opportunity to study in a top institution overseas. Mangham is the director of Reading’s master’s degree program in 19th century literature and culture, one of five specializations Misericordia students can choose to study for their master’s degree at the British university.

Dr. Andrew Mangham

“For me, what’s important is whether an institution pays close attention to the training and research needs of its students,” Mangham said of what makes the University of Reading such a great place to study.

“A good library is important, but so too is the research activities of teaching staff. I’m lucky to work for a university that is dedicated to making the quality of its teaching reflect the quality of its groundbreaking research. We’re lucky to be a short train ride away from some if the best libraries in the world, while having our own unique collections and resources.”

Mangham will appear in several places on campus throughout the week. On Oct. 22 from 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m., he’ll be in the Catherine Evans McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library to give the talk “The Dickens Effect: Dickensian Values in the 21st Century.”

“The aim of the talk will be to discuss whether the values of [Charles] Dickens‘ works are still relevant today,” Mangham said. “I’ll look across Dickens’ whole career to assess what he had to teach us about the human condition and what the novel can offer us by way of guidance. We live in our own ‘Hard Times,’ and the sorts of enduring messages about knowledge, compassion, and charity to be found in Dickens can only be useful as we continue to battle with modern life.”

In fact, there is much merit to looking to the past for clues to the future.

“I’ve always thought that we can’t have a proper sense of where we’re going without a solid understanding of where we’ve been. The 19th century was crucial to the development of some of our most fundamental values and ideas. In order to understand the world today, we need to be constantly reassessing its ideological, political, and philosophical foundations in the 19th century.”

Mangham has always held an interest in the Victorian era, and many of his works deal in it. He is the author of “Violent Women and Sensation Fiction: Crime, Medicine, and Victorian Popular Fiction,”
co-editor with Greta Depledge of “The Female Body in Medicine and Literature,” and editor of “The Cambridge Companion to Sensation Fiction.” He has also published articles on toxicology, crime, literature, sensation fiction, and Dickens, among many other topics. He is currently writing a second monograph on the different negotiations of moral truth that can be seen in forensic textbooks of the Victorian age and Dickens’ narratives.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the Victorian era,” he said. “I was first drawn to the differences with our own times – the costumes, the manners, and methods of writing, etc. – but the more I’ve studied the period, the more I’ve noticed key similarities, including political values, anxieties about the effects of modernity, artistic responses to greed and corruption, and so on.

“We’re not that different, really, and I’ve always felt that looking into the 19th century is like looking into a fairground mirror: we see a slightly distorted version if us, but it is us nevertheless.”

Fast facts on the Department of English BA to MA Program with the University of Reading, England:

  • Students who choose to major in English at Misericordia University can commit to the BA to MA program with the University of Reading as early as their acceptance as first-year students or as late as the fall semester of their junior year.
  • Students will have the option to choose from five specializations within the Master of Arts program, including English, Modern and Contemporary Writing, Early Modern Literature and Drama, Victorian Literature and Culture, and Children’s Literature.
  • Students will learn as early as July prior to their senior year if they have been accepted to the University of Reading program. This provides them with more time to plan and apply for grants and other forms of financial aid.
  • Students will also be able to complete their master’s degree in 12 months as compared to the typical 24 months of MA programs in the United States.
  • To qualify for admission to the Reading program, students must meet a rigorous set of criteria. In addition to completing their undergraduate degree, students must take an additional six credits of English, including three credits of senior thesis, and must be approved for graduate study by members of the English faculty.

For more information on the program, visit

“The Dickens Effect: Dickensian Values in the 21st Century” with Dr. Andrew Mangham
Location: Catherine Evans McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library at Misericordia University (301 Lake St., Dallas)
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 22
Time: 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Master class for Misericordia and interested high school students with Mangham
Location: McGowan Room at Misericordia University
Date: Friday, Oct. 24
Time: 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Mangham will meet with students interested in BA to MA program on Oct. 24 from 4:30-5 p.m. in the McGowan Room and will also be on hand to answer questions during the Misericordia University Admissions open house on Saturday, Oct. 25. To register for the open house, call 570-675-4449, toll free at 1-866-262-6363, or e-mail