Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Patrick Dunlop

Patrick Dunlop, Essay Contest Winner in the Upper-level Category, 2021-2022

Patrick Dunlop

For Patrick Dunlop, fourth year English major, literature represents both an “escape hatch” as well as a “grounding mechanism.”   In other words, literature is “transportive”—offering a place to at once feel at home and depart from that home in exploration of different periods and different worlds.  One of those worlds—Medieval Europe—drew him with “an immediacy and an intensity that was impossible to ignore.”  So much so that his essay for Dr. Sarah Crover’s English 340 class garnered him an essay award.  In “Medieval Female Mystics:  Superfoods, Sickness, Subversion, and Sainthood in Hildegard von Bingen and Christina the Astonishing,” Patrick offers a riveting comparison of the two mystics, ultimately characterizing them as “proto-celebrity influencers.” 

As Patrick writes of these mystics, they were “simply magnetic figures whose undeniable celebrity and influence transcend all barriers of time and space.”  As he continues, “[I]n a time period often characterized as dim and regressive,” here are two women bold enough to risk everything in the name of their faith, even “accusations of witchcraft, demonic possession, or outright heresy.”  Ultimately, being surprised by the “colourful and varied writing” he discovered about this time period, Patrick felt inspired to “showcase these powerful, free-thinking women.”   

While he may have enjoyed the escape to Medieval Europe, Patrick is also at home with classics like Tolkien's The HobbitThe Simpsons (first 10 seasons only), and Orwell's 1984.  And, when he’s not re-reading or re-watching you might him in the kitchen or on the beach because he loves cooking and taking beach walks.  Too, if you see him around his year, ask him about his favourite single malt scotch. 

As he finishes up his last year of his BA, Patrick imparts to all future and present English majors that they should love the Oxford comma, but also the following advice:  “Do the reading. Show up to class. Finish your work.”