My name is James Diedrick, and I am Professor of English Emeritus at Agnes Scott College. I have a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington, and in addition to Agnes Scott I have taught at the UW, Chapman University (California), Albion College (Michigan), and The Newberry Library (Chicago). My teaching and scholarly interests include Victorian Literature & Culture, Modernism, post-colonial studies, film studies, non-fiction writing and first-year seminars.
One of the most gratifying aspects of my job has been mentoring students, helping them develop the dispositions and skills for a lifetime of learning, leadership and service. Jenny Jacobs, ’11, now Chief of Staff at the Kyle House Group in Washington D.C, was a double major in English and Political Science at Agnes Scott, and as a senior she conducted research under my guidance that led to an outstanding senior thesis and her first publication in a journal: “‘In Pigeon-Holes Partly’: George Eliot’s Feminist Interrogation of the Femme Fatale Trope in Middlemarch”. This article appeared in the journal Literary Undergraduate Research in 2011. I also have a special interest in encouraging students to pursue writing careers in journalism and publishing. Three former students – Joanna Carver, Johnnie Sanchez and Elizabeth Wolf – conducted journalism internships that led to career opportunities. Joanna spent two summers writing articles for the Brunswick Daily News (on the Georgia Coast), an experience that helped her gain admission to The Medill School at Northwestern University. While there she published many articles for Medill Reports on science-related topics. She then went on to do a semester-long internship at the London-based journal New Scientist where she published articles like this one: “A map of London painted in Twitter languages.” Johnnie Sanchez interned at Atlanta’s own Creative Loafing magazine for two years, where she published a series of interviews with singer-songwriters and rock and roll bands. Elizabeth Wolf also worked at Creative Loafing, where she wrote about Atlanta theatre and literature, and now she is writing for Atlanta magazine, including this interview with poet Jericho Brown , who won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his book The Tradition.
Most recently I have published Mathilde Blind: Selected Fin-de-Siècle Poetry and Prose (2021), an annotated edition of Blind’s last three volumes of poetry. This extends the literary analysis I included in Mathilde Blind: Late-Victorian Culture and the Woman of Letters (University of Virginia Press, 2016) a biography of the important late-Victorian poet and feminist who helped shaped literary and gender politics in the last three decades of the nineteenth-century. (I published a blog on this project titled “You are in Good Company.”). You can read my brief biography of Blind at the online journal The Yellow Nineties. In addition, you can follow news about my scholarship on Mathilde Blind on my blog, where you can also read my recent post “Queering Mathilde Blind.” I have also published a series of journal articles on Victorian writers including Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, and Mathilde Blind, most of which can be found on my academia.edu site.
My other scholarly interests include the British novel and film studies. I have published a critical monograph on the contemporary novelist Martin Amis titled Understanding Martin Amis (University of South Carolina, 1995 and 2004), and I co-edited a collection of essays on the now-canonical director Stanley Kubrick — Depth of Field: Stanley Kubrick, Film and the Uses of History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006).
I recently wrote a valedictory essay on my 40-year teaching career. What a privilege it has been to teach, and learn from, my many students.