Victorian Studies Centre says konichi-wa

Posted by mjs76 at Mar 25, 2010 02:45 PM |
Meet the Honorary Visiting Fellows who have travelled halfway round the world to study literature written in not just a different language but a different script.

Over the past 15 years or so, the University of Leicester’s Victorian Studies Centre has welcomed a surprisingly large number of visiting scholars from Japan, drawn here by a desire to study 19th century English literature in its original form. This is a daunting prospect, requiring not only a fluency in English solid enough to capture every nuance and subtlety of a Dickens or a Bronte, but also sufficient historical and social knowledge to be able to put the works into context.

Dr Chieko Ichikawa is one of two Japanese Honorary Visiting Fellows currently attached to the VSC, having first visited Leicester in 2008 to present a conference paper. Dr Ichikawa is Associate Professor at Kushiro Public University of Economics in Hokkaido Prefecture and has a particular interest in the relationship between feminism and literature in the late Victorian period.

The VSC’s other visitor from Japan is Professor Yukio Kaneko from Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka City, who read about the University of Leicester on the web and subsequently moved here with his wife and teenage children. Thomas Hardy is the current focus of Professor Kaneko’s research although he has a broad interest in late Victorian literature and a special fondness for Sherlock Holmes stories.

Sharing an office with Dr Ichikawa and Professor Kaneko is Dr Ayako Mizuo who is Associate Professor at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto. Dr Mizuo (seen above with author Sarah Waters at Literary Leicester 2009) is attached to the School of English (of which the VSC forms part) because her subject, Virginia Wolff, is a decidedly post-Victorian writer.

All three of the School’s Honorary Visiting Fellows are enjoying their time in Leicester while also, through their involvement with events and discussions with colleagues, enriching the cultural life of the University. We are honoured by their presence.