The Poetry Center buzzed with the voices of guests and inductees during the April 7 Sigma Tau Delta annual initiation ceremony honoring Suffolk Honors Program students who have shown exemplary work in English over the course of their college careers.
Those inducted into the Eta Upsilon Chapter of the International English Honors Society were:
Brianna Nicole Dewalt
Sarah Rose Lassow
Sarah K. Malis
English Professor Elif Armbruster gave an intriguing talk on Henry James and his obsession with food, aptly named, “Henry James: Master Masticator.”
The talk explored James’ adoption of Fletcherism, a dieting tactic invented by Horace Fletcher, which required that a bite of food be masticated until it was so pulverized that involuntary swallowing occurred. The belief was that the more one chewed a bite of food, the more satisfied one would be, and therefore the less food one would need to eat.
Armbruster tied James’s masticating to the revision of his work, which he did during the same years that he adopted Fletcher’s program: from 1904-1908. While James slimmed down, Armbruster argued, James’ new writing grew “fat,” and was far more thorough in description—one sentence of illustration turned into paragraphs of excessively expressive text. James’ eating habits certainly lent him a greater attention to detail, though he lost so much weight that his doctors deemed his chewing practices dangerously unhealthy, according to Armbruster. Sprinkled with food-related humor, her talk gave the audience an insight into the curious practices of a beloved American author and revealed how those practices reflected and altered his writing.
Armbruster succeeds Professor Marlene McKinley as faculty sponsor of the Eta Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, a position McKinley held for 30 years.