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  Volume 6 | Issue 30 | July 29, 2012 |


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After Class

Tribute to Victorian Giants

Maeesa A Newaz

Two Victorian giants, Charles Dickens and Robert Browning, came alive towards the end of June at Independent University, Bangladesh. The exuberant bicentennial celebration took our literary world by storm, as both notable and debutante researchers from public and private universities across the nation rose to the occasion to present papers.

Dr Niaz Zaman, Advisor to IUB's English Department, inaugurated the celebration on June 29, 2012 as the Convener of the conference committee, in the first part of the two-day programme. However, Dr Niaz Zaman thoughtfully announced that Dickens and Browning are not the only ode-worthy Victorian giants, and expressed deep regret for not being able to put the spotlight on other Victorian literary figures as well. Following the inauguration of the ceremony, Vice Chancellor Professor M Omar Rahman, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Tawhid Samad, and Professor Nazrul Islam, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, also spoke on the occasion. Finally, Dr Razia Sultana Khan, Professor of the English Department, delivered a vote of thanks.

The notable speakers at the event. Photo: IUBC

The first part of the two-day celebration was dedicated to exploring the literary accomplishments of master prose-writer Charles Dickens. Vice Chancellor of Eastern University, Professor Nurul Islam, was the keynote paper presenter. His paper looked at Victorian Ethos present in the work of Charles Dickens and Robert Browning. It must be mentioned that there were two sessions on Dickens-- the first one being chaired by Dr Razia Sultana Khan of IUB, and the second one by Professor Rebecca Haque of Dhaka University. Among other presenters on Dickens, there was Professor Niaz Zaman who analysed the Victorian teacher-pupil relationship as depicted by Dickens in 'Nicholas Nickelby' and 'Hard Times.' Professor Rebecca Haque from Dhaka University explored blood rites and sacrifice in 'A Tale of Two Cities.' Lecturer Golam Rabbani from Jahangirnagar University, Lecturer Noora Shamsi Bahar from IUB, Lecturer Nazua Idris from Stamford University and Lecturer Saifur Rahman from IUB Chittagong campus.

The second day of the celebration, June 30 2012, was devoted to analysing the poetic genius of illustrious Victorian poet Robert Browning. There were two sessions on Browning the first one being chaired by Dr Deena Forkan, Associate Professor of North South University, English Department and the second session being chaired by Professor Shireen Huq of North South University, English Department. In the first session, papers were presented by Assistant Professors Rumana Chowdhury and Shahnaz Parvin from Premier University, and a student of IUB, Naureen Sabah Ahmed, from the English Department. In the final session, Lecturer Chowdhury Omar Sharif of East West University, and Maeesa Ayesha Newaz, a student of the English Department at IUB, presented papers.

All's well that ends well - the amazing turn-up and participation of the two-day event was so remarkable that it really brought Charles Dickens and Robert Browning back to life with a big bang in our academic arena for two days. Needless to say, their contribution and influence on English literature is perennial and will surely last for many more centuries to come.

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