Madison Corthell, a senior majoring in English, French, and international studies began her research “Scandinavian Influences on Victorian Britain” well before the summer began in an effort to expand on her existing research and to use it for honors research.
“I find this topic interesting because it exposes deep cultural links between England and other nations that are not always seen as having great influence upon Great Britain,” Corthell said. “I had been working on this research for a while before starting the Summer Fellows Program and have already written a research paper and presented it at the Coker Humanities Undergraduate Conference at Coker College and the SC Upstate Research Symposium at USC Upstate.”
Corthell’s research is finding ways that contemporary Scandinavian culture and Old Norse traditions and mythology influenced literature and culture in England and Scotland between 1830 and 1900.
“My research is in an area where there is very little existing scholarship, so many of my sources are primary sources, which include the works of prominent Victorian writers such as Matthew Arnold; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; John Ruskin; and William Morris,” Corthell said.
Corthell explained that strong Nordic influences can be found in English poetry, drama, prose, music, and science.
The influence, she explained, comes as a part of two reasons. Great Britain has long had a close history with Scandinavia dating back to the early Medieval period when Norse raiders and explorers colonized the island.
“Victorian Britains revived the Scandinavian cultural influences in England due to a rise in British nationalism and a conservative urge to return to Britain’s Germanic roots,” Corthell explained. “This is evident through the profound idealization of the Nordic past, present in works such as ‘Heroes and Hero-Worship,’ by Thomas Carlyle, ‘Sigurd the Volsung’ by William Morris and ‘Peer Gynt’ by Henrik Isben.”
Corthell is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa and Sigma Tau Delta honors society. She is also president of Sigma Tau Delta.
The PC Summer Fellows Program is designed to enhance the academic experience of PC students by providing them with opportunities to work with faculty during the summer. The program is intended for motivated students to gain research experience with direct faculty mentoring. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity in a living-learning environment.
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