Marlboro College

Academics Laura Stevenson— Writing and Literature

Laura Stevenson

Contact Laura Stevenson; 802-258-9285

Teaching Philosophy

"You can teach people not to write badly," says Laura, "but you can’t teach them to write well. Good writing is so closely attached to personal perceptions and thinking styles that once you’ve offered the obvious pointers, all you can is to provide encouragement and support – not to mention, faith – while students find their own way."

In Laura’s classes, students hone sentence-level skills, but they also develop analytical and creative abilities by reading widely and critically. The combination of skills is essential, she says. "If you can’t express what you want to say, it doesn’t matter whether you know it or not, but in order to express it coherently, you have to know what you mean – and there’s the rub."

Recent Publications/Research Interests

A trained historian, author of Praise and Paradox: Merchants and Craftsmen in Elizabethan Popular Literature (1984), Laura taught humanities at U.C. Santa Barbara before coming to Marlboro. In the 1980s, when escalating deafness (recently partially reversed with a cochlear implant) compelled her to give up her secondary avocation as a musician, she began writing stories for her children. Since then she has published four children’s novels – Happily After All (1990), The Island and the Ring (1991), All the King’s Horses (2001) and A Castle in the Window, (2003) – and collaborated on shorter works with Marlboro student illustrators.  An NEH Research Fellowship in 1996-97 has resulted in several critical studies of late nineteenth century children's literature.  Most recently, she has published a novel for adults, Return in Kind (2010).

B.A., University of Michigan, 1968; M. Phil., Yale University, 1971; Ph.D., Yale University, 1974; Marlboro College, 1986 –

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