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Quasquicentennial

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Quasquicentennial

James Cappon
James Cappon (1854–1939), from the Queen's Encyclopedia

The academic year 2013–2014 marks an important milestone in the history of the Department of English. In 1888, Professor James Cappon (1854–1939) was appointed to the first Chair in English at Queen's, which makes this year the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Department. There’s even a word for that: quasquicentennial! (If you are curious, you can read the story of this word in “The History of ‘Quasquicentennial’ ” by Robert L. Chapman, American Speech 40.1 (1965): 53–57, http://www.jstor.org/stable/454178.) We have planned a series of alumni-themed events throughout the year to celebrate, and we hope you will be able to join us. Carolyn Smart is organizing a series of readings by creative writers who are alumni of the Department, and we will also be inviting graduates of our doctoral program to return to deliver academic papers and to speak with current graduate students about their experiences as professors of English literature. If you happen to be on campus in September or October, you might want to visit Special Collections in Douglas Library where you can explore our exhibit “125 Years of Canadian Literature at Queen's,” that looks at the history of the Department in terms of its role in shaping the study of literature written in Canada.

In particular, we hope you will plan to join us at Homecoming October 4–5. We took as our theme “re-connecting”—with fellow English alumni, with professors past and present, and with the study of literature. On Friday, 4 October you will be able to re-connect with friends at an Alumni mixer reception in 517 Watson Hall, the home of the English Department; the following morning, take the opportunity to re-connect with literature at the “Battle of the Books,” a panel discussion (lively and opinionated, we hope) previewing this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize nominees held in another familiar location, Speaker’s Corner in Stauffer Library. Finally, you will have the opportunity to re-connect with faculty: in the tradition of the DSC “Tea with Profs” and “Ale with Profs,” we will be hosting “Wine and Cheese with Profs and Emeriti” where you will be able to share memories (fond or otherwise) of courses and classes in a reception at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Current faculty will of course be there, and a number of retirees have confirmed that they are planning to attend.

To help with the planning, we now have a Facebook page where we can post details of times and places for events as they become available, and where we can share moments from the rich history of the Department of English. You can also follow us on Twitter.