March 2014 English Major of the Month
Jazmine GoguenHometown: New York, NY
Year in school: Junior
1) What brought you to the English major?|
I’ve always planned on being an English major. I briefly toyed with the idea of majoring in Art History, but for me, studying English has always been the most challenging and rewarding pursuit. Reading and thinking about books for four years has always seemed like the ideal!
2) Has it been a valuable experience so far?
It’s been an extremely valuable experience. I’ve tried to take classes that would introduce me to books I might not otherwise read in my free time – 19th century bildungsromans, Classical Greek epics, poststructuralist philosophy. I’m glad I have a solid background in the classics as I reach the tail-end of my time at NYU.
3) Do you have an opinion on the Oxford comma?
Of course! The Oxford comma is crucial. You could run into some silly misunderstandings otherwise.
4) Your two favorite writers are having a literary fencing match. Who are they, and who would win?
That would be David Foster Wallace and Zadie Smith. As much as I want to say it’s Zadie, I’m going with DFW because I have to assume he’s good at everything he does, including fencing. Plus I’m sure all those bandanas he wore gave him some kind of advantage.
5) A freshly-recruited English major asks you what class you'd recommend. What do you say?
Outside of the English department, I would enthusiastically recommend taking Professor Harper’s Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies. It’s a fantastic and really enlightening overview of the field that will almost certainly influence your reading of literature (and life in general). In the English department, I would recommend Professor Vargo’s 19th Century Bildunsgroman class – it’s the best class I’ve taken so far, and you get to read some really great novels.
6) Do you have any summer plans?
I’m hoping to intern at the literary agency where I worked last summer. I’ve gained a little more publishing experience over the course of this year and I’d love to put it to good use at the agency.
7) What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
I just finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I absolutely loved. I’m in the process of devouring everything else she’s written, and listening to her sample in Beyonce’s “***Flawless” on repeat.
8) Any shout-outs or comments?
Thank you to all my NYU professors, particularly Professor Vargo and Professor Fleming for putting me through the intellectual wringer last semester. My undergraduate experience has been amazing so far, and I’m looking forward to what the rest of it will bring!