The Jefferson Society offers a wide array of opportunities for members to engage with literary content in Jefferson Hall. At the Society’s weekly Friday night meetings, members are invited to read excerpts of their favorite works of poetry and prose. These readings are usually followed by a period of analysis and discussion, which exemplifies how the Society values literature not just for its aesthetic qualities, but for the discourse it generates. The genres and styles of literature presented in the Hall are incredibly diverse, in accordance with Society members’ wide-ranging academic studies and interests.
Members will often present original works of poetry and fiction, oftentimes soliciting advice or suggestions from the Hall on pieces which are still in the stages of being refined. Some of the highlights from the fall 2018 semester included Qinyi Che’s reading of an original short story titled “Safety and Peace”, as well as Anna Wolz’s humorous rendition of “The Tay Bridge Disaster” by William McGonagall. Other members utilized their language skills by reading works in the original language of their publication, including Julia Kothmann who gave a reading of “La Ultima Noche de la Tierra” by Roger Wolfe in its original Spanish version, followed by an English translation.
In addition to the content presented at weekly meetings, the Pen and Ink Committee hosts literary-themed competitions throughout the year, such as the annual “Poe Contest” in which members give dramatic readings of works by Edgar Allan Poe, who was a member of the Society during his time at the University of Virginia. These contests are attended by faculty of the University who serve as guest judges; the 2018 Poe Contest featured Professors Devin Donovan and Jerome McGann from the Department of English.
The Pen and Ink Committee is integral to supporting literary interests within the Hall. However, if literature is not your cup of tea – why not check out our Debate & Oratory content? We have some incredible debaters in our midst!
If you have any interest in the literary side of the Jefferson Society, you can contact the committee chair here.