Joani Etskovitz

My Princeton pathway through the Department of English Literature started in the HUM Sequence. I had always delighted in devouring books, and as a freshman in HUM 216-219 I began to close read and connected with my first English faculty mentor, Professor Nigel Smith. Since then, my close conversations with texts and professors alike have set the tone for my major. I selected my courses in part due to my interest in their subject matter but, more importantly, because I wanted to learn from specific professors’ styles of reading and communicating. I filled my spare time with office hours, especially in my junior and senior years, when Professors Susan Wolfson and Esther Schor helped me hone my curiosity about girls’ curiosity in nineteenth-century British literature: the subject of my thesis, Girls Growing Curiouser.

I fell down this literary rabbit hole the summer before my junior year. I was working at the Library of Congress to help plan their 150th anniversary celebration of Alice’s Adventures, the central text of my senior thesis. During my summers and my semesters, I found jobs, internships, and travel opportunities—working in the Cotsen Children’s Library, curating museum exhibitions, and undertaking archival research in Paris to name a few—through which to explore my potential academic and professional interests. A central stop on my Princeton pathway was Oxford’s Bodleian Library, where I worked with Professor Smith as an English Department Bread Loaf Fellow. The Bodleian Library remains my destination for this coming year. My adventures through Princeton’s Department of English have inspired me to create exhibitions and public engagement programs at the Bodleian while earning a Master of Studies in English Literature (1830-1914) at Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar.