About the Seminar Director

Marty Gould

I received my Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa in 2005. I am now an Associate Professor of English at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. In my nine years at USF I have taught numerous courses on Victorian literature and culture at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.


With the generous support of a Marie Curie IIF Fellowship funded by the European Union, I am currently living in London, England, where I am immersed in a research project on Dickens and the nineteenth-century stage. 


My first book, Nineteenth-Century Theatre and the Imperial Encounter (Routledge, 2011) investigates the theatrical stage as a site for the popular dissemination of imperialist ideology in the nineteenth century. I have also published work on Dickens’s relationship with the theatre and on England’s Dickens World theme park.

This seminar reflects my ongoing research and teaching interests. I twice (in 2011 and 2013) directed an NEH Summer Seminar on teaching Dickens and/through adaptation. As a Dickens project alumnus, former NEH Summer Seminar participant, and former Summer Seminar director, I have spent a good deal of time in Santa Cruz, and I am delighted to have the chance to spend another month studying interesting texts with talented teachers and smart Dickens enthusiasts in the midst of California's beautiful redwoods. I am very excited about this seminar, and I am looking forward to a series of intellectually engaging conversations about what we can do with Dickens in the classroom (and what Dickens can do for our students).


I will meet with everyone individually during our first week to discuss your personal and professional interest in Dickens and, as well as your plans for your final project. Throughout the seminar I will be available for consultation, and in the final week I will again meet with everyone individually to discuss their seminar experience, their ideas for incorporating the seminar material into their teaching, and their progress on their final project.

About the Guest Speakers

Kate Flint

Kate Flint is Provost Professor of Art History and English at the University of Southern California. Her areas of specialization include Victorian and early twentieth-century cultural, visual, and literary history; the history of photography from its inception to now; women's writing, and transatlantic studies.

Professor Flint's recent books include The Transatlantic Indian 1776-1930 (2008), The Victorians and The Visual Imagination (2000), and The Woman Reader, 1837-1914 (1993). She is General Editor of the Cambridge History of Victorian Literature (2012). Professor Flint has also published articles on Victorian, modernist and contemporary fiction; women's writing and feminist theory; Victorian and 20th-century painting and photography, and cultural history. Professor Flint is completing a book entitled “Flash! Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination,” and her new projects deal with ordinariness, the everyday, and the overlooked, and with the internationalism of art in the 19th century.


Professor Flint will visit the seminar in the third week. Her presentation will look at visual images, including book illustration, photography, and Victorian painting as she helps us find ways to teach students to “read” images and how to use the visual to teach the literary. This latter topic is particularly relevant for Hard Times, one of only two Dickens novels to be published without illustrations. Professor Flint will offer ideas for engaging students in activities designed to locate and curate images (historical or modern) that help interpret the text and/or enhance the student’s commentary on the text.

Sharon Weltman

Sharon Aronofsky Weltman is the William E. “Bud” Davis Alumni Professor at Louisiana State University. In addition to her appointment in the Department of English, she is a member of the Women's and Gender Studies faculty, the Jewish Studies faculty, and the Comparative Literature faculty at LSU.


Professor Weltman is a specialist in nineteenth-century British literature and culture. Her current research focuses on adaptations of Victorian literature to the popular stage and other media, both in the nineteenth century and today, with particular interest in Broadway musicals.


She is author of Performing the Victorian: John Ruskin and Identity in Theater, Science, and Education (2007). She is the North American Editor of Nineteenth-Century Theatre & Film.


Professor Weltman is a long-time affiliate of the Dickens Project. In 2013, she directed an NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers at UC Santa Cruz. Titled "Performing Dickens," the seminar focused on stage and film adaptations of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist.


Professor Weltman will visit the seminar in the final week to speak with us about 20th-century theatrical and musical adaptations of Dickens. Her presentation will provide a context for understanding our enduring cultural interest in (and appropriations of) Dickens. Professor Weltman will also offer ideas for using film and theatre to help students access and analyze literary texts in fresh and dynamic ways.

Jon Varese

Dr. Jon Varese holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Having worked for many years for Adobe Systems and Salesforce, he has extensive experience in digital technologies and web design. He also has experience in developing partnerships across academic and corporate communities. He helped develop The Dickens Project - USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI) partnership, which awards scholarships to students from Title 1 schools in South Central Los Angeles.


Dr. Varese has a long affiliation with the Dickens Project. A scholar of Dickens and an expert on web technologies, he currently serves as the Project’s Director of Digital Initiatives.


Dr. Varese will coordinate a pedagogical workshop focused on digital technologies. He will guide us through some of the new “digital Dickens” resources that NEH Summer Scholars may find most useful and will also direct us towards user-friendly tools for crafting and presenting digital content (either by teachers, for instruction, or by students, for assessment). Dr. Varese will also discuss ideas and opportunities for educational outreach in affiliation with his work on the USC-NIA community partnership.