06 May, 2020 Academic

Professor Brian Nelson gives Year 12 students an insight into Zola

Last week, St Michael’s VCE Literature students had the opportunity to participate in an online seminar led by Professor Brian Nelson, the world’s foremost Anglophone scholar on French novelist Émile Zola. Also taking part in the seminar was Assistant Head of English (K-12) Dr Brandon Jenvey, and Old Michaelians Daphne Keck (OM 2017) and Jasper Kloss (OM 2018), who are helping the students to develop their writing skills. The topic was Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames) – the text that students are exploring this term and will focus on in their assessments later in the year.

Professor Nelson has taught at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, Aberystwyth University in Wales, and Monash University, and is a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He is an author, editor, and award-winning translator. His most famous works are his translations and critical studies of Émile Zola’s novels, including The Ladies’ Paradise.

During the seminar, Professor Nelson gave the students detailed insight into The Ladies’ Paradise, the novel that recounts the development of the modern department store in late nineteenth century Paris. Professor Nelson focused on Zola’s originality and distinctive qualities as a writer, and spoke about the meaning of naturalism, the literary movement founded by Zola.

Students were thrilled to hear Professor Nelson speak.

Professor Nelson’s insight, extensive knowledge, and warmth was invaluable. It was such a privilege to listen to a world class scholar!Alex Lightfoot (12H)

Professor Brian Nelson gives Year 12 students an insight into Zola Professor Brian Nelson delivering the online seminar to Year 12 students.

It was a real honour to be a part of a seminar presented by Brian Nelson. His insightful view and knowledge of literature was an experience I won't forget.Cooper Dalbo (12B)

Thank you to Professor Nelson for sharing your knowledge with our students, and to Dr Jenvey for organising the seminar.