On Oct. 25, 2016, the Franklin Literary Society hosted its annual event, Words to Make Darkness Visible in the Walker Room. The members of the society decorated the Walker Room with fake cobwebs and other spooky decorations, bought an ample amount of snacks and chose spooky poems and short stories to share with those in attendance. Among the other decorations was a Hamlet-inspired skull and paper bats, which helped to create a fun, Halloween-themed atmosphere.
The members of the Franklin Literary Society were joined by other students across academic disciplines to share spooky and gothic works. Over thirty students shared their favorite spooky works, and some of the memorable readings include Edgar Allan Poe’s “Spirits of the Dead” and “The Ghosts of August” by Gabriel García Márquez. Faculty members and their children also partook in the event. Dr. George David Clark recited Mark Strand’s poem, “Sleeping with One Eye Open,” and was accompanied by his young son, who also recited a poem from memory. Dr. Todd Verdun’s two children also read the book, “Goodnight Goon,” which was a spooky-themed parody of the beloved classic “Goodnight Moon.” Dr. Lauryn Mayer closed the evening with a reading of an excerpt from “Beowulf,” which she read in both old and modern English.
President of the Society, Emily Sterk ‘17, was thrilled with the success of the event. “Words to Make Darkness Visible is one of my favorite annual events that Franklin Literary Society puts on. It allows students and faculty to come together and share some of our favorite Gothic works that put us all in the Halloween spirit.” Vice President of the Society, Katie Campbell ‘18, said, “I was extremely happy with the turnout at the event. Seeing several of the English professors there as well as students from every grade showed a cross-campus interest in literature, specifically spooky literature.”
The Franklin Literary Society was established in 1797 and is one of the oldest groups at W&J. During their meetings, the members discuss an array of works from all genres and authors. While this is incentive enough for many English majors and minors to join the club, it is also a gateway to Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society. All of those interested in being inducted into Sigma Tau Delta or general lovers of literature are encouraged to attend their bi-weekly meetings that are held on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in the Alex Hall common area. Questions regarding the Franklin Literary Society or Sigma Tau Delta can be directed to either Emily Sterk, Katie Campbell or campus advisor, Dr. Lauryn Mayer.