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Curious Cat: Literary Characters

By Anna Jankowski and Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! To celebrate another successful Lit Fest, this week’s Curious Cat question is: “Who is your favorite literary character?” We received several creative and nostalgic answers, so make sure you read this blog AND view the accompanying Reel on Instagram. Also, let us know in the comments what our next question should be!

"Curious Cat 4/20 (1)"

“The caterpillar from the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I think I’m someone that’s really using my time here at Villanova to ‘eat up’ some knowledge as well as some quality food.”

— Noah George ’25

"Curious Cat 4/20 (2)"

“My favorite literary character is Harry Potter.”

— Zoe Garrett ’26

Curious Cat 4/20 (3)

“I’m gonna say Uncle Wiggily from Uncle Wiggily’s Fairy Tales.”

— Sadie Nattress ’25

“I’m gonna say Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson series.”

— Christopher Koch ’25

Anna Jankowski ’23 CLAS is a Senior Communication Major from just outside Baltimore who ​​works as a Communication & Marketing Assistant in Falvey.




Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


Weekend Recs: Dark Academia

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

Freshly shined oxfords, leather-bound books, knee-high socks, secret societies, argyle sweater vests, Greek mythology, and plaid, lots of plaid. The dark academia genre of literature and media blends a romanticization of academia, especially the Classics, with a plot rife with mystery, murder, romance, and intrigue. Since it’s growth in the 1980s and 1990s, it has also become a thriving Internet subculture and, more recently, a mod aesthetic on social media. For the interested or unaware, this weekend’s recs will help you explore the dark academia subculture.

If you have 5 minutes…and know nothing about dark academia, check out L’Officiel‘s dark academia guide. The article discusses dark academia both as a social media trend, rooted in a dark prep aesthetic, and a thriving subculture.

If you have 7 minutes…and want a grounded glimpse into dark academia, read this article from the New York Times. Pamela Paul is able to balance the elegant and, perhaps misguidedly, nostalgic allure of dark academia with the current, less glamorous realities of modern academia.

If you have 10 minutes…and aren’t aware of some of the common critiques of dark academia, read this article. The main critique of dark academia is its overwhelming whiteness, which often can discourage and marginalize People of Color within the subculture (This article also helps shed light on these criticisms).

If you have 15 minutes…and want to hear how a Black queer woman negotiates a love for dark academia with its Eurocentric tendencies, read Mel Monier’s “Too Dark for Dark Academia?” essay. Monier’s essay is both a firsthand critique and a hopeful love letter to dark academia (and truly worth the read).

If you have 20 minutes…and are interested in exploring or adopting the dark academia lifestyle for yourself, check out this style and subculture guide. It provides some big-sister-style advice for getting into the dark academia subculture, including outfit ideas, shopping and styling tips, and movie and book recommendations.

If you have 1 hour and 45 minutes…and are in the mood for a based-on-a-true-story dark academia film, watch Kill Your Darlings, available online through Falvey. The film follows the poets Allen Ginsburg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) and Lucien Carr (played by Dane DeHaan) as they attend Columbia University and get wrapped up in a plot of murder, romance, and poetry.

If you have 12 hours…and are looking for a queer dark academic novel, read Victoria Lee’s A Lesson in Vengeance, available through Interlibrary Loan. This modern take on dark academia centers (obviously) academia, queer romance, secrecy, and the occult.

Bonus: If you want to get some POC-centered dark academia book recommendations, check out this list.

If you have a free weekend…and want to read a dark academic cult classic, read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, available through Interlibrary Loan. Set in (my favorite state) Vermont, the novel features Classical academia and a murder mystery.

Bonus: Check out this list of dark academia literature essentials for more book recommendations.

Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library.


Prestigious Booker Prize Awarded

By Ethan Shea

"2022 Booker Prize Logo"

Last week, Shehan Karunatilaka received the prestigious Booker Prize for his novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. The Booker Prize is a literary award granted annually to an exceptional work of fiction written in the English language. Past winners include remarkable writers such as Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and Yann Martel.

"The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Sheehan Karunatilaka"Karunatilaka grew up in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. He went on to study in New Zealand and has lived in several large cities, such as London and Singapore. Today, Karunatilaka lives in his hometown of Colombo, where he works writing ad copy to supplement his literary endeavors.

The winning novel concerns the Sri Lankan Civil War, which lasted from 1983 to 2009, and the following fallout of the conflict. Being only the second novel from Karunatilaka, writing The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida about such a lengthy war was a bold endeavor. However, the potential his debut novel, Chinaman, promised was clearly realized in Karunatilaka’s most recent work.

To learn more about Shehan Karunatilaka and his award-winning novel, check out this New York Times article.

You will also find information on last year’s Booker Prize finalists in this blog.

Both of Karunatilaka’s novels are available through interlibrary loan services here at Falvey. You can find his debut novel here, and his Booker Prize-winning work here.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

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2022 Nobel Prize in Literature Announced

By Ethan Shea

"2022 Nobel Prize in Literature Books"

Earlier this month, Annie Ernaux was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Ernaux is French writer who has always been open about the intimate details of her life. Her ability to communicate these personal highs and lows in such lucid fashion is what won her the most coveted of all literary awards.

Even at the age of 82, Ernaux says this award motivates her to continue writing. As someone whose activism for women’s rights is often at odds with French President Emmanuel Macron and American political counterparts, Ernaux’s work is still very much steeped in and relevant to contemporary politics.

"2022 Nobel Prize in Literature Books (2)"Only 17 out of 119 writers who received the Nobel Prize in Literature have been women, so it is significant that Ernaux has been the second woman to receive the prize in the last three years.

If you would like to learn more about last year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah, check out this blog on Falvey’s website.

Additionally, Falvey has a few of Ernaux’s books, such as La Place, La Honte, and her first novel Les armoires vides, available for pick-up in the stacks. If you consider yourself a Francophile or someone who enjoys French literature, you should certainly give them a read.

To learn more, use your access to the New York Times granted through Villanova University to read this NYT article!

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature Announced

By Ethan Shea

"Abdulrazak Gurnah Books"

“By the Sea” and “Desertion” by Abdulrazak Gurnah

The Nobel Prize in Literature is widely known as the most prestigious award a writer can receive. The distinguished prize was first awarded in 1901 and is traditionally announced annually, but in spite of its 120 year lifespan, this literary accolade has only been awarded 114 times. This is because the committee does not necessarily need to choose a winner for any given Nobel Prize. In fact, with regard to the 1948 Nobel Peace Prize, after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, who never won a Nobel Prize, the committee claimed “there was no suitable living candidate” to receive the award that year. Additionally, various scandals and global events have caused awards to be postponed or dismissed entirely.

"Abdulrazak Gurnah"

2021 Nobel Prize in Literature Winner, Abdulrazak Gurnah

Regardless, in spite of the challenges posed to humanity over the past couple years, last month, Abdulrazak Gurnah became the first Black writer to win a Nobel Prize in Literature since Toni Morrison in 1993. The prize committee praised Gurnah’s “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism” when announcing his achievement.

Gurnah is a Tanzanian writer who grew up in Zanzibar. In 1964, violence within his homeland forced him to relocate to England. His experience living in both nations gives Gurnah a unique perspective on colonial exploitation that saturates his writing.

Although Gurnah’s work has previously been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, until now, he has not reached the level of widespread acclaim that many other Nobel Prize winners have. Gurnah’s previous lack of recognition makes his win an especially welcome event within literary circles.

Falvey Memorial Library houses some of Abdulrazak Gurnah’s books, such as Desertion and By The Sea, which live on the shelves of our Fourth Floor Stacks. Feel free to stop by and grab one of these books for yourself! Additionally, through interlibrary loan (ILL) and E-ZBorrow, you have access to some of Gurnah’s other books!

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova university and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Dig Deeper: All About Birds

By Ethan Shea

"'Delafield's Ground-Warbler' by John James Audubon"

“Delafield’s Ground-Warbler” by John James Audubon

"Flyer for Bird Poetry Workshop"

Flyer for “A Bird Came Down the Walk: A Creative Writing Workshop”

On Nov. 4, Falvey Library will be co-sponsoring two events that explore the artistic potential of birds and birdwatching. A writing workshop with Nathalie Anderson, a Philadelphia poet who recently retired from Swarthmore College, will give attendees opportunities to consider the various ways of putting visual observations of these spirited creatures into words. This exercise will be supplemented by discussions of pictures and videos of birds.

A second event will celebrate the publication of a book titled Birds of North America. This book will be displayed at The Drawing Room in Philadelphia with images by Susan Hagen and poems by Nathalie Anderson and Lisa Sewell, who will all attend the event.

The first event will take place at 4 p.m. in SAC 300, and the second will occur at 6 p.m. in Falvey Library, room 205. Both will take place on Nov. 4.

To prepare for the upcoming festivities, I’ve provided a few links for those who want to dig deeper into the intersections of birds and art. In addition to literature regarding birds and bird-concerned artists, I’ve found some images of birds, all available in Villanova’s Digital Library, that will get your creative juices flowing.

Dickinson Electronic Archives

These archives give curious readers the opportunity to explore anything and everything about Emily Dickinson. Her poem A Bird, came down the Walk is one of the most famous examples of bird-inspired poetry. In fact, the upcoming writing workshop is named after this piece of literature!

"Bird Talk Flyer"

Flyer for “Birds of North America: A Reading and Artists Talk”

The Raven

This poem by Edgar Allan Poe is another well known example of bird poetry. Published in 1845, The Raven is an incredibly eerie piece, giving a very different impression of bird imagery than Emily Dickinson.

Birds in Medieval English Poetry

Michael Warren’s book, Birds in Medieval English Poetry, takes readers back to the Medieval Ages in his discussion of birds as symbols in Medieval texts. The relationship between the poems Warren studies and the natural world is highly debated in this piece.

Here is a list of pictures and paintings of birds available for viewing in Falvey’s Digital Library:

Susan Hagen’s website is another great resource for bird images. I encourage you to check it out!








Headshot of Ethan Shea

Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

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Celebrate Mother’s Day with Memorable Moms from Literature

Augustine of Hippo and his mother Saint Monica by Ary Scheffer (1795-1858) From WikiCommons

Augustine of Hippo and his mother Saint Monica by Ary Scheffer (1795-1858) (WikiCommons)

By Gerald Dierkes

Mrs. Hopewell in Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People”; Sethe in Toni Morrison’s Beloved; Suyuan Woo, Lindo Jong, An-mei Hsu, and Ying-ying St. Clair in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club: literature provides countless examples of this family member who fills such a crucial role in our lives.

From the classics—Gertrude in Hamlet—to the contemporary—Mrs. Iselin in Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidatesome literary mothers offer unflattering illustrations. The Bible, however, presents positive role models. Jochebed made her heartrending choice to save her baby Moses’ life. St. Anne shared an uncommon bond with her daughter, Mary the mother of Jesus.

And our University’s patron saint, Augustine, had an exceptional mother: St. Monica. Her faith and her persistent dedication to her son convey a profound influence, as described in Augustine’s Confessions.


Has a mother from literature influenced you? Do you find any literary mothers particularly memorable? Please contribute your suggestions in our comments section.


""Gerald Dierkes is Access & Collections Coordinator, Stacks Maintenance, at Falvey Memorial Library. This blog was originally published May 10, 2013.

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By Darren G. Poley

During this time of necessary remoteness, it has been fortuitous that the Villanova University community can access so many e-books via the Library. In fact, Falvey’s online collection has well over a million e-books that are available to students and faculty alike.

Many publishers today produce e-books alongside their print offerings, but what about slightly older books which were previously only sold as physical items? Some academic publishers are working to remedy the situation by making available electronic versions of books still in high demand that were published in the last forty years, and in some cases even longer ago.

A couple of prominent examples are Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis. Some more specialized ones are the Wiley Online Library and the Loeb Classical Library Online by Harvard University Press.

Bloomsbury, in addition to being a notable independent publisher since the 1980s, over the last decade has been acquiring other UK book publishers well-respected in the humanities. It now aggregates books from Bloomsbury Academic, I. B. Tauris, Bristol Classical Press, and Continuum International, which includes books by T&T Clark, Burns & Oates, and Cassell.

Recently Falvey Memorial Library has gained access to several e-book collections, and although each individual e-book will be added to the Library’s catalog of holdings, below is a list of the newly acquired Bloomsbury Collections, which can be browsed or searched using keywords.

If you want to browse or search across collections by subject and keyword, you can do that, too. Just be sure to limit your results to e-books for which we have access. Otherwise, you will get records for e-books to which we do not have access. Note: Bloomsbury also has an interdisciplinary Open Access Collection.


Some e-book platforms aggregate content from a variety of publishers, such as the EBSCO eBook Collection and JSTOR. There are even a few very good open access online aggregators for books no longer in copyright; Hathi Trust Digital Library, Internet Archive, and even our own Distinctive Collections: Digital Library.


Darren G. Poley is Associate Director of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement, and Theology, Humanities & Classical Studies Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. 



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Remote Access to the great works of ancient Greece and Rome

By Darren Poley

BrokenSphere CC BY-SA (httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0)

For over 100 years, the Loeb Classical Library has filled a void by supplying critical editions of Greek and Latin texts with a readable English translation with minimal notes done by venerable scholars on the facing pages. This distinctive series of small volumes with their green for Greek and red for Latin covers have, in many cases, been recast with updated texts and fresh translations in recent years, so that the collection still serves the original vision of its namesake.

James Loeb, the Harvard alum and  philanthropist who originally backed the establishment of the Loeb Classical Library, wrote he wanted: “To make the beauty and learning, the philosophy and wit of the great writers of ancient Greece and Rome once more accessible by means of translations that are in themselves real pieces of literature, a thing to be read for the pure joy of it.”

Making the writings of the classical world accessible has been a boon to students and scholars alike for over a century. While the Library does have the books in its print collection, Falvey also provides access to the corpus via the Loeb Classical Library Online (LCL). An author search of the Library’s catalog using “Loeb Online” will result in a list of 220 records with links to the online versions of the close to 550 volumes in the Loeb Classical Library series.

The Villanova University community can access the LCL remotely be means of the Databases A-Z list.

Darren G. Poley is Associate Director of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement, and Theology, Humanities, and Classical Studies Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. 




Celebrating James Joyce’s Life & Legacy

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ’Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how Falvey can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Hey Wildcats…I’m excited to invite you to the biggest birthday bash of the year! Head on over to McShea’s Pub in Ardmore on February 4 at 7 p.m. to celebrate James Joyce‘s 182nd birthday!

photo of James Joyce

So, this week, this cat’s book stack is comprised of Joyce’s most famous tomes and tales.

James Joyce (1882–1941) is one of Ireland’s most influential and celebrated writers. His most famous work Ulysses (1922) follows the movements of Leopold Bloom through a single day on June 16, 1904. Ulysses is based on Homer’s The Odyssey. Some of Joyce’s other major works include the short story collection Dubliners (1914), and novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).

For more information on the author, visit The James Joyce Centre website.

The birthday party, which is sponsored by the Villanova University Irish Studies department, will feature Irish step dancers, traditional music, and live readings of Joyce’s work.

Want to learn more about Joyce? Check out Joyce’s works in Falvey’s collection, including a wide variety of Joyce-specific academic journals.

Daniella Snyder Headshot

Daniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant in the Communication and Marketing department at Falvey, was inspired to read Joyce after attending his birthday party last year.

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Last Modified: January 29, 2020

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