ELLIOT ENGEL VIRTUAL LECTURE SERIES now available! Recorded live in Summer 2020! Click here for more information

In Plain Engel-ish

Travel -- A World Of Good

To complement our CD sale, I wanted to write about how I saw the “world” from 1982 to 2012 when I led twenty-eight different learning travel excursions to England. A few of you reading these words went along with me so you know that any trip to England is a complete Wondrous World in itself. For those of you who didn’t travel with me, let me take you along now and show you how we behaved.All of us were always wearing our bright red tags with "Dickens Fellowship" emblazoned beneath our names. The badges originally had read "Dickens Disciples," but...

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Butch Engel, NFL Superstar

One of the joys in reading Dickens’ novels is discovering the wonderful names he creates for his characters. The most famous characters – Pip, Estella, David Copperfield, Sydney Carton, Scrooge — do not usually possess the most delightful names. It is often the minor characters whose names bring a moment of joy to Dickensian readers. Could anyone but Dickens have created the wretched school principal in Hard Times named Mr. McChoakumchild? Is it possible to come up with a name at once more ludicrous, pompous, and flabby-sounding than the ludicrous, pompous, flabby Uncle Pumblechook? And even bored high school students,...

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ABSENT Makes the MIND Go Wander

My parents probably knew from my earliest age that I was going to be a professor when I grew up. Their clue would not have come from any particular academic proclivity nor from an unusual love of learning, but rather from the one quality I possessed that the general public has always associated with professors: absent-mindedness.As a child I never met a mitten, jacket, or gym shoe that I liked enough to remember to take with me when I boarded the school bus at the end of the day. If it could be left behind, it was; if it could...

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The Toddler at Ten Thousand Feet

Now that I have oodles of spare time, thanks to hiding away from COVID, I have done the math (something we English majors usually avoid) and discovered that I have lectured in forty-seven states (forty-eight if you count the State of Exhaustion) on so many writers but especially on Charles Dickens, my favorite author.Before the pandemic temporarily made my lecturing career as dead as the authors I lecture on, I had been delighted to address hundreds of groups and enjoyed visiting countless new cities. But the inconveniences, complexities, and complications of daily air travel, even pre-COVID, make my career a...

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Of Male Bondage

This essay first appeared in the "My Turn" column of Newsweek magazine on June 21, 1982. The editors wanted it to appear in mid-June because they felt it had an oblique connection to Father's Day. I had sent this same essay to Newsweek the year before, and it was rejected immediately.  When I came upon it a year later when cleaning out a desk drawer, I thought about revising it but, being rushed for time, I simply sent it in again with no changes. Amazingly, it was accepted. The editor explained that she had just been promoted to the position...

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