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Spotlight: Michelle Faubert!


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Spotlight on....Dr. Michelle Faubert!

goethe with a smartphone

That's not her:  that's Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Scroll down for Dr. Faubert!

The EIU Center for the Humanities, in conjunction with the Phi Beta Kappa Association of East-Central Illinois, is happy to announce Dr. Michelle Faubert's discussion on "Werther Goes Viral: Suicidal Contagion and New Life for an Old Novel” " The talk will be held in the Witters Conference Room on the fourth floor of Booth Library (4440) at 3pm.

This will be a casual discussion with Dr. Faubert and Dr. CC Wharram (the Center's director) about Goethe’s world-famous 1774 novel (The Sorrows of Young Werther) featuring the suicide of the impassioned and tortured-in-love protagonist.

A little bit about Goethe’s novel, from Dr. Faubert:

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s (1749–1832) epistolary novel about frustratedWerther and Charlotta love The Sorrows of Young Werther (1771) is a sentimental classic and inspired numerous imitations, both in literature and in the living flesh: myriad young men modeled themselves after Werther by adopting his dress, his passionate emotionalism, and even his final act of suicide. This “Werthermania,” as it was called (note the reference to madness!), led to the novel’s ban in many places because its censors viewed it as condoning suicide.

Dr. Faubert’s work has engaged with the “dire consequences of our inability to discuss suicide openly,” using writings of the Romantic Era to question the way we have come to understand suicide as a mental-heath issue. Her work “encourages the discussion of suicide as a cultural concept that developed out of a range of evolving disciplines, political aims, and historical movements in the Romantic period.”

We are circulating a pre-discussion excerpt of one of Werther’s letters (click to download). The reading is not required in order to attend!

More about Dr. Faubert...

Michelle Faubert (Ph.D. University of Toronto) is Associate Professor of English, Film, and Theatre at the University of Manitoba. Her recent research and teaching have focused on studying the history of psychology (depression and melancholia), resurrecting the largely neglected role of suicide debates in the literature and culture of British and continental Romanticism, and reexamining the complex history of the transatlantic slave trade. Winner of multiple major research grants in England and in Canada, she has edited an authoritative critical edition of Mary Shelley’s Mathilda (Broadview Press, 2017).

 photo Faubert

Check out more of Dr. Faubert's work by clicking on the links below:

"Werther Goes Viral: Suicidal Contagion, Anti-Vaccination, and Infectious Sympathy" in Literature and Medicine 34.2 (2016): 389-417.

"A Family Affair: Ennobling Suicide in Mary Shelley’s Matilda" in Essays in Romanticism 20.7 (2013): 101-28.

Wollstonecraft, Mary. Mary, A Fiction and The Wrongs of Woman (1798). Ed. Michelle Faubert. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2012.