McConnell Scholars participate in the Oxford Society

(Feb. 25, 2015) LOUISVILLE, Ky. - McConnell Scholars study British and Scottish literary works in preparation for trip abroad.

McConnell Scholars are more than halfway through a 9-month study of British and Scottish influences in American culture. The extracurricular lectures and seminars are held in preparation for a 10-day trip abroad to Oxford and Scotland in May.

Scholars are considering the following literary scholars and works, among others:

  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • David Hume and the Scottish Enlightenment
  • G.K. Chesterton’s “Napoleon of Notting Hill” and “Ballad of the White Horse”
  • C.S. Lewis: “On Stories”
  • Edmund Burke
  • Thomas Paine
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Othello
  • Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley
  • Magna Carta

In Scotland, students will continue to explore Scotland’s literary heritage with visits to the Edinburgh Writers’ Museum, which celebrates the lives of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. They will visit historical sites such as the Edinburgh Castle, locations related to William Wallace, the Holyrood Palace and Scottish Parliament.

In Oxford, Scholars will explore the Oxford college system, meet with local professors and tour sites connected to the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. They will stay just blocks away from where J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. They will also visit the C.S. Lewis Study Center at the Kilns and Lewis’ grave. Finally, students will travel to the Globe Theatre in London to watch “The Merchant of Venice,” as Shakespeare is studied throughout the four years of the program.

“This trip represents a culmination of McConnell Scholars studying the British roots of so much of American history, politics, literature, imagination, ideas,” said McConnell Center Director Gary Gregg, PhD. “My hope is that the trip itself will serve to inspire the students to further study and a lifetime of interest in the great roots of who we are.”

“The last time this opportunity was presented to Scholars, I was a freshman. The experience has come full circle for me and I can more fully participate. It’s the best way to end my time at the McConnell Center,” said Danielle Robinette, a senior McConnell Scholar.